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Friday, May 11, 2012

Bullying In Hanover Area

I received an email about a potential bullying incident yesterday from John Dawe and read the updated article on the incident in today's edition of the Times Leader.  You can link to the article HERE.  A few thoughts from my end:

  • Like death and taxes for adults, some degree of bully and humiliation simply comes with being a teenager.  I get that part.  That part I don't get is allowing it to be institutionalized through actions or inactions on the part of adults.
  • No teacher, administrator or para-professional in any school should ever...ever..participate in or knowingly condone any form of bullying or harassment.  Period.  It's easy to get the perception, based on the article and reader comments, that there may be a pattern of tolerance for this kind of behavior in Hanover Area.  Shame on them.
  • Communication is a funny thing, as I tell associates at work all the time - there is the message you intend to send and then there is the message that is actually received.  Adults are, for better or worse, always responsible for both ends of the transaction when dealing with children and young adults.
  • Regardless of what message the teacher intended to it innocent or potentially malicious...the fact is that is was received as being bullying and harassment.  At a minimum, even assuming non-malicious intent, this teacher exercised poor judgement and should be formally reprimanded (and she should apologize to the student in question).  At maximum, assuming malicious intent that can be proven, the teacher should be fired.  Period. Let's see the teacher's union try to defend that one. 
  • Some will claim that the individual making the accusation has a "thin skin"...which may be true.  But I'll argue that skin does get thin after repeated beatings.  "Skin" being of the physical or the psychological type.
  • I'd argue strongly that Hanover Area may not in fact be even capable of investigating itself.  
  • If this was Science class, then outside of discussing the Physics of dancing, why in the hell were videos being shown in class in the first place?
I am not advocating that children be protected from any and all hardship and that bullying is some kind of crime punishable by death.  I am advocating for the fact that children will act like children, but that's why in schools we have adults to be in charge.  When the adults refuse to act like adults, well, then that's where I really have a problem.

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