Combating Bullying in a School Environment is a Community Effort – Yes

The underpinnings of the ‘bullying’ problem have been present since the dawn of school systems across the world. However, it seems so tragic and deadly on too many grade school campuses as well as showing up on the doorsteps of higher education campuses in America.  In this post-industrial information age there are many opportunities to solve this problem.

On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety comes after survival.  It seems that in an educational setting, many students’ needs aren’t being met.  Whether it has to do with family issues, academic setting or spirituality. Put that in an educational setting where learning is supposed to be occurring mixed in with humans who have little experience on how to deal with this problem, and you will have a bigger problem.

Students are less likely to be given conflict resolution tools they need to combat bullying because of budget cuts, and it isn’t traditional part of the school curriculum.  More schools have enacted policies concerning the issues involving bullying, also making the community aware of this problem.  However, little concern has been placed on how to empower students about bullying.  Academic activities can be implemented where students can enhance their problem solving skills by finding solutions to bullying problems through academic activities.

In the wake of school shootings, whether or not most of it if not all has stemmed from the problem of bullying, safety is the main issue.  School aged children should have the right to enter classrooms, and feel safe in their learning environment. The issues are deeper because our educational system misses teachable moments.  Ignorance maybe bliss but it is deadly to the lives of grade school children.  What factors existed where a bully is being created?  Where a victim of the bullying is being created?  Bullies are conditioned to be bullies where parents, teachers, school administrators and other figures in the local community ignore the creation of a bully.

This behavior plays out in the school setting around our country. The bully can have the opportunity to gain power over a multitude of victims or just focus in on one particular victim.  They probably have equal or even more success doing this in a school setting rather than at home or in other institutions because the social atmosphere of the school allows bullies to become abusive towards other students when school officials ignore warning signs of bully behavior.

The student will spend a majority of his childhood years in grade school.  The school system including administrators and teachers bear the responsibility of keeping our youth safe.  Peer relations within the school system will be the most influential on the behavior of students. School officials can implement teaching moments to help these peer relations be healthy and not produce bullies or victims of bullies.  Additionally, these peer relations can be beneficial in helping them be able to get along with their bosses and coworkers when they are of age to enter the workforce.   

It is the responsibilities of all involved including parents, teachers, school administrators, even the students themselves, and the community at large to provide a setting where students feel it is safe to learn.  The curriculum should also include teaching moments so students will learn how to treat each other and respect each other as human beings.