Harrassment in middle school
Middle School administrators are becoming less and less tolerant of bullying, cheating, and cliques. Thanks to Michael Josephson (www.charactercounts.com), schools are better prepared to conquer these problems than they were before. Based in Los Angeles, Michael Josephson gives lectures, and his organization gives workshops on bullying and many other subjects to parents, teachers, administrators and students.
Nanny Websites (www.nannywebsites.com) claims the “Signs of Bullying in Elementary Schoolers” can show where the trouble lies. They note that parents need to look for the following signs, and if they are present in your child, notify the school administrators.
1)possessions are often” lost or damaged.”
2) the child has “unexplained bruises or wounds.”
3) “complaining of illness.”
4) the child uses “avoidance tactics,” becoming uninvolved in extracurricular activities or even riding the school bus.
5) “changes in personality or demeanor.”
6) “sleep disruptions.”
7) “change in eating habits.”
8) “bullying younger siblings.”
9) “reduced academic performance.”
The NYU Child Study Center has an article by J. Mandel, Psy. D. called “Social Life in Middle and High School: Dealing with Cliques and Bullies,” (www.education.com/reference/article/bullying-in-middle-school). Mandel talks about the many social-emotional, biological, and cognitive changes in the preadolescent years. Tweens struggle to fit in, to find out who they are, and seek acceptance and approval from their peers Some would rather be alone or shy away from sports, marking themselves as different. If they are different, even when they would like to align themselves with groups, they are excluded. Cliques lead to bullying.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The SCBWI(Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) shares a link about bullying (http://www.teachingauthors.com/2013/10/bullyinga-writing-prompt-for-our.html.
Answers to cliques and bullying must come from parents and administrators. This kind of behavior goes along with cheating. Since the major concern is impressing peers, students will take drastic measures to be accepted and popular. Exclusion is a painful process and harms both the excluded and those doing it. It is teaching tweens to hurt others and that if you put someone down you will feel more important. Wrong messages, and bad results. The truth is that the more we can include others, and focus on making others happy, the better we will feel about ourselves.