Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bullied or Not?

The issue of bullying has been in the news so much the past few years. Laws have even been passed because of it.

I'm all for stopping bullying but my question becomes when do these laws and sensitivity go too far?

On Friday I had two issues of students complaining about bullying. One kid has constantly been picked on and snapped by calling another kid a "mother fu××er" in front of me. I have written up this kids bulliers for tormenting him and have defended him. The kids that pick on him do so because they like to get a kick out of him suffering.

That is clear bullying because the kid that is being bullied is obviously frustrated and doesn't like it. I do everything in my power to stop it.

Then we come to issue of another student in another class. This student is sometimes teased but the student always teases back. He laughs at himself and pokes fun at others. Apparently, the teasing bothers another student that sits there him. So much so that this student felt the need to say something to me about it.

This is where we cross into a gray area. The student being teased seems to be able to not only handle it but dish it out. So unless students are laughing at him about other stuff that I don't see, I'm not really sure this is bullying.

On the flip side, the kid being teased could be hiding how much it hurts. Then it would be bullying. But the kid might not tell me. So should I do something about it? If I do and I'm over reacting that's horrible. But if I do nothing and this kid is bothered by it then I'm horrible for doing nothing.

People will say take the "safe" route and write up the kids that are doing the teasing. But what if it is just innocent teasing? I'm then going to ruin the kids reputation by labeling them as a bully.

It is a hard situation to be in as a teacher. I know that when I was bullied, I never said anything but I was never able to dish it back to my attackers. I would just put my head down. It infuriated me that my teachers didn't notice my obvious downtrodden mood. Which is why I loom for that. This student doesn't seem downtrodden or depressed or angry. So is he being bullied?

If he doesn't think he is but other people say he is, should I do something?

This is the part of my job that I hate.

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