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What Happens When Students Bully Their Teachers?

bullying, students bullying teachers

The drill team from McKinley Elementary, one of the troubled schools in Bakersfield.

Bullying in schools has been a hot-button issue for the last year and we’ve written about it a lot here at Babble.  The latest instance to grab not only the nation’s but the world’s attention involved a filmed fight between two Australian boys who have both accused each other of being the bully.  Parents and school administrators across the country are increasingly aware of and putting in place programs to stop bullying in the classroom.

When students bully, the victim isn’t always another student.  Sometimes the victim is a teacher.  In Bakersfield, CA lots of teachers are being bullied by students, to the point that they fear for their safety.

“I am scared to death to go back to work tomorrow,” teacher Sunny Mueller told the Bakersfield City School District board at a recent meeting.  The Teachers Association president, Brad Barnes, said, “We’ve had teachers assaulted, shoved around, eggs thrown at them.”  Another teacher talked about a homemade bomb going off in the boys bathroom.  Local affiliate ABC 23 notes that “kids are allegedly bringing drugs, alcohol and weapons on campus.”

Teachers cite the root of the problem as being a lack of enforcement of school rules.  The teachers’ union says the school district “is not suspending, expelling or rotating students because budget cuts have left fewer resources to do so.”  And how are schools trying to get around budget cuts?  By keeping butts in seats, “since schools only get paid when a student is physically in school.”  The district has enforced a policy to reduce student suspensions by 40% to save some of the $675,000 lost to student suspensions annually.

After the recent school board meeting, Bakersfield superintendent Michael D. Lingo pledged to handle the problem, but so far only an email has been sent to each principal in the district, “spelling out the district’s discipline code and asking that it be explained to students and staff.”  What good is the code if it isn’t enforced?

Strollerderby’s Danielle asked last night if it’s okay to teach our kids to fight back when bullies strike.  Most parents who commented seem to agree that it’s not okay to start a fight, but it is okay to finish one.  If that’s the standard we hold our children to, what about our teachers?  Shouldn’t they have some recourse to deal with these monstrous children?  I’m not advocating corporeal punishment, but it’s obvious there’s no learning going on if there are bombs going off in the bathroom.

Thoughts?

Source: ABC 23

Photo via Bakersfield City School District

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