This morning, I had to have some serious conversations with my students about a bullying situation that I have been watching unfold for the past couple of days. It’s the typical situation where a new kid arrives at a school and is targeted by other kids who have been there for a long time. Add the fact that they are females and that the new kid is beautiful and drawing the attention of the male students and you have a recipe for disaster.
I enlisted the assistance of a lot of people to help me get this anti-bullying message out to my students including fellow staff members, parents of the children who were involved, and even older siblings of these girls. As a united front, we met with a few classes and discussed with them the fact that we have a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying or any kind of violence or aggression in school. Additionally, we talked to them about the dangers of being the victim of bullying such as low self-esteem and thoughts of suicide. We even discussed how bullies often are very insecure and accost other people to make them feel better about themselves.
By the end of the Pow Wow, we were all in tears and overcome with the emotions involved in having such a deep conversation. I considered this exchange to be a success because many of the students who had participated in the bullying apologized for their behavior and were genuinely remorseful for their actions. Only time will tell if their intentions were genuine and if they are going to change these negative behaviors.
As I write this, I can’t help thinking how sad it is that young girls are sucked into this vortex of wanting to compete negatively with one another and being so cruel to each other. Instead of having a natural affinity for establishing a sisterhood or a sisterly bond, we strive to humiliate and destroy one another socially and emotionally. This is especially true during the pre-teen and adolescent years. It saddens me that many of these volatile relationships between women start at such an early age and set the tone for the interactions that they will have with other females as adults.
I will be closely monitoring this situation with cautious optimism in the coming weeks. My hope is that these young women will take responsibility for the error of their ways and mend fences instead of knocking each other down, metaphorically and literally. Just the fact that they were receptive to talking about the issue and listening to each other makes me hopeful that we will find a resolution. After all, as I tell all my students, “In life, you are probably not going to like everyone you meet. However, it’s important that you still respect them especially if you expect to be respected as well.”
Let’s Discuss: Why do you think bullying is more rampant among females than males?
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