Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Educators Must Become More Sensitive to Bullying Issues

An 8th grade student huddled in the rain next to the school building wall during a class period. I went outside to investigate and found him crying in the rain. On this day after Halloween, he told me that he had been unable to remove all the Halloween makeup off his face and that other students had been teasing him cruelly about his sexuality. This was not the first time; they had found ways to tease him before as well. He told them to stop but the teacher didn’t take it seriously and joined in the teasing, whereupon he ran out of the classroom crying. I knew this young man as a very intelligent student with initiative and was able to talk him into going inside to my classroom. I called the guidance counselor who led him to the guidance office. Then, I asked the vice-principal not to suspend this child for running out of the classroom. I expected understanding and cooperation. Instead, he raised his voice and laughed so that students in trouble sitting outside his office could hear. He concluded that he had to suspend this student. No one in authority understood the problem.

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