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BS: Schoolyard bullying

Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 09 - 09:35 AM
The Villan 29 Oct 09 - 09:55 AM
Tug the Cox 29 Oct 09 - 10:04 AM
Jean(eanjay) 29 Oct 09 - 10:52 AM
Leadfingers 29 Oct 09 - 11:35 AM
katlaughing 29 Oct 09 - 11:42 AM
meself 29 Oct 09 - 11:54 AM
jacqui.c 29 Oct 09 - 12:09 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 09 - 12:31 PM
meself 29 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 09 - 12:53 PM
Little Hawk 29 Oct 09 - 02:13 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM
meself 29 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM
Maryrrf 29 Oct 09 - 02:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 09 - 02:38 PM
mg 29 Oct 09 - 03:52 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Oct 09 - 04:04 PM
Lox 29 Oct 09 - 04:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 09 - 05:06 PM
Lox 29 Oct 09 - 05:36 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Oct 09 - 05:42 PM
Lox 29 Oct 09 - 06:09 PM
Rowan 29 Oct 09 - 09:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 09 - 07:45 AM
bubblyrat 30 Oct 09 - 06:19 PM
jacqui.c 30 Oct 09 - 06:27 PM
Lox 30 Oct 09 - 06:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 09 - 07:23 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 09 - 03:39 AM
Penny S. 31 Oct 09 - 04:03 AM
Lox 31 Oct 09 - 06:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 09 - 06:46 AM
VirginiaTam 31 Oct 09 - 07:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Oct 09 - 10:34 AM
Azizi 31 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM
VirginiaTam 31 Oct 09 - 10:47 AM
Azizi 31 Oct 09 - 11:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 09 - 11:17 AM
Will Fly 31 Oct 09 - 11:18 AM
Azizi 31 Oct 09 - 11:40 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Oct 09 - 01:11 PM
VirginiaTam 31 Oct 09 - 01:27 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 09 - 01:42 PM
Azizi 31 Oct 09 - 02:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 09 - 02:33 PM
Azizi 31 Oct 09 - 02:43 PM
Azizi 31 Oct 09 - 02:54 PM
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Subject: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM

Interesting conversation on Jeremy Vine's show (UK - BBC Radio 2) earlier. It seems that in some primary schools (under 11's for those who do not know) there is a policy of zero tolerance against racism. Which to my mind is a good thing, as anything which helps children understand that it is not acceptable must be OK. But - here is the rub - one of the contributers pointed out that by elevating the status of racism from bullying to, effectively, a crime. are they doing more harm than good?

Here is the scenario - Group of, say, 8 year old kids in the playground. The 'in-crowd' taunt anyone different. The fat kid, the girl with braces on her teeth and ginger lad. It is all wrong. It is all bullying. But there is no governement intervention. Now, same group of kids start to taunt the new Asian kid, or the Chinese or the Serb. They are now reported to the council and, ultimatley, the police. The question was - What is the difference?

Unfortunately the lady on the show did not seem to pick this up and just kept going on about racism being wrong. Well, sorry, of course it is. All bullying is. But why should racism be treated as a special case? So, I know I am probably opening another can of worms but if we stick to the subject and the mods can delete the un-named Guest tripe we are bound to generate surely we can get an answer to some questions -

Should racism be treated as different from other schoolyard bullying?

Is it right to take the 'big stick' to sub-eleven year olds?

Surely the parents should be targeted if they are under the age of reason shouldn't they?

I am sure lots more will crop up but maybe we can start there.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 09:35 AM

The right thing isn't to see racism as no more serious than other forms of bullying, it's to recognise other forms of bullying as being as serious as racism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: The Villan
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 09:55 AM

They are all the same and should be treated as such.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 10:04 AM

There's a strange irony in 'zero tolerance' policies in a tolerant society wishing to promote tolerance. Used in schools it teaches 'might is right' and just don't get caught. It also causes resentment against the 'special cases'.
    Well developed and resesarched approaches such as the joint concern approach or the no blame approach attempt to build community, rather than fear fuelled conformity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 10:52 AM

All forms of bullying should be treated as serious. Imagine the ridiculous situation where a child from one race mercilessly bullies a child from another race and if that second child desperately responds with one comment that is regarded as racist then they are hauled off by the police and the first child stands there smirking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 11:35 AM

Sadly , in too may cases , bullying of ANY kind is NOT controlled .


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 11:42 AM

All forms of bullying are wrong and ought not be allowed, but I don't believe bringing police in is the answer. There needs to be education, education, education..for the kids AND for the community. We did that in Wyoming as part of a human rights organisation and it did have a good effect. In specific cases the schools should call in the parents, children, and any school authorities, but I don't believe that young needs to involve the police UNLESS there is an actual crime, i.e. physical violence, etc., involved.

Over here, because of "zero tolerance" for weapons on school grounds, we had a SIX YEAR OLD ordered to spend 45 days in a reform school because he brought his Cub Scout eating utensil to school. The tool serves as a spoon, a fork and a knife, and he wanted to use it at lunch.

There needs to be some common sense in all of these cases.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: meself
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 11:54 AM

Bringing the police in to deal with relatively minor schoolyard incidents teaches kids the lesson that they, their teachers, their parents, and their community, are incapable of, and have no responsibility to, handle their own little problems. This is an idea that does not need any further encouragement.

Furthermore, kids, teachers, parents, and communities have a great deal of flexibility in how they respond to any particular incident; the police often seem to be bound by laws and protocols that have the effect of escalating a relatively trivial incident into a crisis, sometimes on the international arena. 'Zero tolerance' policies can have a similar effect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: jacqui.c
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 12:09 PM

I agree with Kat - education is what is needed. That has to start in teaching colleges. those coming into the profession must understand the harm that any kind of bullying can cause and to be watching out for such behaviour among their charges and other teachers.

From day one children should be taught that no-one has the right to denigrate another person, not their peers, their teachers or their parents. Teach kids to speak out about bullying, from whatever source it might come.

Children found to be bullying their classmates would generally have a reason, logical or not and need assistance in understanding how damaging their behaviour can be and help in modifying that behaviour. Teachers found to be complicit in this sort of behaviour should be removed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 12:31 PM

That is just what I had in mind - All bullying is wrong. So - in answer to the questions in the OP the answers to date seem to be -

No

No

Yes

Anyone think otherwise?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: meself
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM

"Surely the parents should be targeted if they are under the age of reason shouldn't they?"

If the parents are under the age of reason, they have no business being parents!


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 12:53 PM

Hehehe:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 02:13 PM

"under the age of reason"?

What age is that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM

I think that is the whole point of NOT specifying it, LH - Apologies if you are being ironic. It varies from person to person and perspective to perspective!

There are those who would say I never reached it!

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: meself
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM

Excellent question. I'm wondering if I've reached it. I seem to recall it was somewhere from about 1650 to 1800.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM

Sorry - cut myself off midstream. I would say it is rare for children of primary school age to have reached it though.

D


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Maryrrf
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 02:36 PM

We had a tragic incident in our community in a local hardware store. A fifteen year old who had been subjected to merciless bullying and teasing snapped, grabbed an ax from the display and attacked one of the boys who had bullied him, splitting his face.
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/local/crime/article/LDAV28_20091027-215604/301976/

The boy is of Middle Eastern extraction and I don't know to what extent that was a factor in the teasing and bullying, but I suspect it played a part. Two of my cousins go to school with the kids in question and confirmed that the boy had been mercilessly teased and bullied at school for a long time. Now he is to be tried as an adult and faces a prison sentence.

I'm not saying it's okay to grab an ax and attack someone for teasing you, but I can understand how it happened.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 02:38 PM

All bullying is intolerable. Bullying a child is a form of child abuse, and should always be treated as a serious matter whoever does it. It should never be a matter of "Oh that's just how kids behave - it can't be avoided".

But that's a separate business from the question of how it should be dealt with. Treating it within the context of adult courts and police is hardly ever, if ever, the right way. That too can easily becoem a form of child abuse, as would appear to have been the case with the little boy katlaughing mentioned with the Cub Scout eating irons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: mg
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 03:52 PM

Treat all bullying with extreme seriousness and let school officials and bus drivers know their jobs are in danger if they fail to stop it or fail to do something to engage those who can. I have no pity for the teachers I have seen let bullying go on..or administrators..the idiot principals who would say my vp is in charge of discipline and I am in charge of the academic environment. Bullshit..you are in charge of protecting the children and let your assistant worry about the lesson plans. Go after the teachers, go after the bus drivers, go after the administrators.

I learned long ago in a school law class that we are also responsible for reporting child on child abuse to authorities. Do it. Call CPS if you see or know of a situation. Call other people first before you call schools because if they are as bad as they once were (I think things have gotten better) you will get nowhere unless someone sticks their feet to the fire. They just do not think it is there job (or perhaps that is past).

Contact Michelle Obama who has spoken out about mean girls in schools. Tell her to please make this her cause. Don't let the mean girls off the hook. They are sly and awful sometimes. This stuff escalates. Kids commit suicide and murder because of it.

Call CPS if it is serious. Then the school. No action..then the police. Don't wait.

And people who think kids have to be taught to hate..maybe specific targets..but it is innate to pick on the weaker..the pecking order etc. They will unless stopped peck each other to death. They will pick on people for the wrong tennis shoes. Especially hard on kids who are overweight. You protect one group and they find another that you haven't safeguarded. This is deadly serious. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:04 PM

Serious school bullying should be re-termed 'juvenile peer-abuse' or something similar... Just made that up off the top of my head, and yes it's a bit crap, but 'bullying' still sounds too trivial, daft and Billy Bunterish to me and conjures images of boys tugging pig-tails - considering some children commit suicide due to the severity of abuse they receive at the hands of their peers..

OP? I agree, racism is no worse than any other form of cruelty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Lox
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:16 PM

"There's a strange irony in 'zero tolerance' policies in a tolerant society wishing to promote tolerance"


Beautifully put Tug!!!



In Primary school the idea of calling the police to deal with inter pupil "racism" is utterly ridiculous.



In the case of an adult who wilfully refuses to learn or understand what racism is, the harm it does and how it has shaped history we can justifiably be concerned.


But children of any age, especially those under the age of 11, are in school to learn.


They cannot be expected to have any sense of context until they have been taught about it.


Kids will use whatever naughty tool is at their disposal when they wish to hurt each others feelings and though they may use racial sensitivities to wind each other up, this will be of no more significance to them than any other means.

The same principle can be applied to kids on the receiving end. They, being kids, don't have the same sense of context and don't need to be made to feel different by people wrapping them up in cotton wool more than their "other race" peers.

Situations can be quickly dissolved with the emphasis being on repairing and nurturing relationships between the children involved and teaching them to deal with their conflicts in a mature way and not by resorting to scapegoating, name calling, violence or whatever else humans do when they can't be bothered to think properly.

Calling the police in cases like this is the act of an ignoramus who completely misses the point.

Idiots!


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 05:06 PM

Well, thanks one and all. I am glad it is not just me who believes that no form of bullying (juvenille peer abuse - Love it!) is acceptable. Maybe we can bring presure to bear on the authorities to -

1. Threat all bullying as seriously as racism is treated and

2. Realise that putting this in the hands of law enforcement for under 11 year olds is a mistake.

Anyone know how to go about that? Aside from in the ballot bix of course!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Lox
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 05:36 PM

We've seen a couple of online petitions to downing street recently, one on the subject of Ghurkas and one on the subject of mutual childcare, both of which seem to have had positive results.

How does one go about starting an online petition?

Once started it should be easy to get people to sign via sites lke facebook.

Social Networking is not all bad ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 05:42 PM

"sites lke facebook.
Social Networking is not all bad ... "

Yes, a powerful tool for the people *if* people choose to use it as such.

Surprised MCat didn't seem to pick up on the latest victory for internet networking: Ban on reporting questions to parliament


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Lox
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 06:09 PM

The difficult thing is to compose the petition and to be clear what it is requesting and what it is challenging.


I would suggest that the main priority is to avoid harming childrens education and development by involving the police in disputes between small children.


The second priority is to ensure that bullying of any sort is treated equally.

The third Priority is to ensure tht race related issues are taught constructively in schools as part of a package of modern cultural issues faced by everyone in society.

Race Gender and religion are the three most obvious areas of social diversity to be taught in schools, but the idea of social diversity as a cultural norm runs deeper than just "rights for women/blacks/moslems" etc.

The best way to approach this type of education is to teach HISTORY in an engaging and analytical way that kids will find interesting and from which they can learn learn the skills to help them understand their context in a meaningful way.



I am utterly offended that somebody thought bringing the police in was either a solution or good for kids education.


The headmaster of the school should be sacked.


Should that be included in the petition?


I think I'm actually serious on this point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Rowan
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 09:19 PM

Where I am (Oz New England) the state has required all schools to develop and implement policies that teach students to respect each other and that interference with another's learning is unacceptable behaviour. It becomes a catch-all that covers all types of bullying (female as well as male) racism, sexism, etc. As can be expected, some schools do it better than others and some do it worse; there is a high school on the NSW North Coast that is currently improving its performance at the direction of the Minister.

In our local city there was a Special School that catered for primary school students with disabilities; when the Education Dept brought in policy requiring all schools to integrate Disabled student programs into the mainstream, that school received "normal" primary students as its routine intake. This school was selected by my partner and I, for our daughters, precisely because it exemplified all the principles and practices of inclusion that I had developed as a teacher in a group of Community Schools (High Schools run "alternatively") in Victoria. Whenever bullying arose (and there was a very interesting case of the deputy principal's daughter allegedly being a perpetrator) it was dealt with swiftly within the school community. This was routinely (and almost always immediately) effective and never involved the police, to my knowledge.

Here, it is clearly understood, as part of their Duty Statement, that school teachers are in loco parentis and are expected to behave accordingly.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 07:45 AM

A danger that has to be guarded against when it comes to guidelines and procedures is that of seeing them, and using them, as a way of protecting the school etc, rather than protecting the children.

I would hazard that the case katlaughing mentioned of the small boy with the eating utensils was an example of that happening.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: bubblyrat
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 06:19 PM

It would be virtually impossible for any teacher in the UK ,faced with instances of bullying,to act "in loco parentis",as that would almost certainly necessitate ,unless the teacher got down on his / her knees and begged the perpetrator to desist,some form of physical restraint-based intervention......whereupon little Johnny ,or indeed Sarah,cries "Teacher assaulted me!", the little swine's Mum & Dad come round crying for blood,justice,and the teacher's dismissal,the police become involved,and it all degenerates into farce. So forget THAT, for starters !! When I was a lad of six or seven,my Dad used to say" If someone at school keeps bullying you, punch them on the nose....HARD ! They don't like that ! " And guess what ?? He was right !! Conversely,when I got caned by the headmaster ,aged 12,for doing something stupid and dangerous, my Dad said "I have no sympathy for you ; it's no-one's fault but your own !" He was right again,of course.
      I rejoice to see how enlightened you have become in Wyoming : does this mean that you will be leading the National Campaign to give the Red Indians (sorry, "Native Americans") their ancestral lands back ?? I hope so !


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: jacqui.c
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 06:27 PM

That is why education needs to start from day one in school to try and inculcate the notion that respect should be shown for others, no matter how different they are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Lox
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 06:36 PM

Bubblyrat.

You are right that teachers need to be given proper support so that their authourity in the classroom actually means something.

There was a report recently about the number of teachers wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour with kids, whose reputations professionally and socially have been utterly destroyed by false allegations of abuse made by pupils - often girls.

To protect kids, the policy is to take all allegations seriously no matter what with the result that some malicious little s**ts make false accusations with the intention of hurting their teachers where they can't defend themselves.



However, it would be wrong to encourage kids to react violently to bullying.

Especially nowadays when things could easily escalate into something tragic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 07:23 PM

Some of the worst bullying isn't physical, but this is a lot harder to spot and stop than physical violence. One consequence of that is that when victims lash out, they are liable to be identified as bullies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 03:39 AM

In the opening post I asked people to stick to the subject which, until now, they have. I could just ignore it of course but when someone talks complete bollocks I just can't help myself.

If someone at school keeps bullying you, punch them on the nose....HARD ! They don't like that ! " And guess what ?? He was right !!

So, to stop bullying the best action is physical violence? Sends a wonderful message doesn't it. I wonder if I should have told my twin daughters to 'punch them on the nose....HARD' when they were 12 years old, 4' 9" tall and weighing all of 6 stone. When they were set upon by a group of other girls. Who knocked them to the ground and kicked one in the head so hard it perforated her eardrum. I wonder if I should have given them that advice when a groups of 10 and more of their 'classmates' were taunting them because they were 'evil twins' and asking them who they were going to kill next. Not once or twice, but constantly for over a year. I wonder if I should have told the teacher that is what they were going to do when he told us we should send them to different schools 'So they would not get picked on for being different'.

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Penny S.
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 04:03 AM

Schools are required by law to log all cases of racist abuse, so the Head is not responsible for any problems.

Scenarios I have known.

A child from a non-indigenous group, supported by his father, made numerous reports about a wide variety of other children, most of whom were not known for abusing other children. It appeared he used other insults in order to elicit abuse he could report. Playing the race card as a form of bullying.

A child from a home where racist language was common, who made rude comments about a number of children about a number of features - glasses, red hair etc. Dealt with in discussion as he did not realise the situation, and the racially abused child agreed that he abused others. He agreed to desist, the abused child being aware that if it happened again they could report it and the process with kick in. No further reports.

Red haired child not understanding why what he had to put up with was not seen as as serious as what the non-indigenous had to put up with.

The school does attempt to deal with ALL bullying, but there is this extra requirement to report racist abuse. Possibly because it is more likely to be linked to external racism from adult groups in society. After all, there is a notable absence of political parties with policies against red-heads, people wearing glasses, fatties and people who smell.

Teachers are well aware of the pitfalls of the policy.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Lox
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 06:26 AM

No mention there of police intervention.

I presume that isn't part of official policy?

So who is responsible for it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 06:46 AM

Lots of examples on t'interweb, Lox. This is just one example from Cornwall. There are a number of mentions but to save you looking through them all I quote here directly -

The school believes that racism is wrong and it will not tolerate racist attitudes among its staff, pupils or those who visit the school. Staff, when they encounter it or when it is brought to their attention, will always challenge racist attitudes and behaviour. The school will not tolerate racist taunting or bullying and in certain cases will contact the police, especially if parents are involved

I realy do hope they change the policy to include all taunting and bullying. My point is that it just seems so wrong to trivialise other types of bullying.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 07:34 AM

I am all for some Peer (as in House of Lords) abuse. The more juvenile the better. Pie fight would be good start.

And there is this ginger abuse

The sketch can have applications to Mudcat problem.

Sorry, don't mean to belittle this very serious problem. IMO for children up to a certain age a racist incident doesn't have the same meaning as it does for the adult teachers and parents. To highlight it is only going to make a bigger division and more long lasting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 10:34 AM

There is nothing in that policy quote David el Gnomo gave that excludes coming down heavily on other types of bullying. It is specifically addressing racism, but that does not imply that a similar approach might not be taken, for example where a child was being bullied because of religion or disability or for some other reason.

Clearly an overall policy of zero tolerance towards all types of bullying should always exist.
.............

As for the suggestion above that "there's a strange irony in 'zero tolerance' policies in a tolerant society wishing to promote tolerance," that is surely fallacious.

When we talk about "a tolerant society" we are using shorthand, in the same way as when we talk about "not discriminating". There is always an underlying assumption that soem word such as "unfair" has to be understood. Otherwise we would be committing ourselves to tolerating abuse of vulnerable people, or accepting people who carry out such abuse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM

For what it's worth, I also agree that it's important that children & youth learn that targeting and bullying/taunting people because they are perceived as "different" is wrong.

I also agree that involving the police in these children to children (or youth to youth) taunting confrontations that do not involve adults is usually not the right way to handle those confrontations.


**

Another strategy that children/youth use when they perceive that (or are informally taught by others that) children/youth are "different" is to stracize them (have little to no positive interaction with them).

It seems to me that it's more difficult to counteract this strategy-for instance if children who have "free play" (to use what might be an American [USA] term to mean that children jave freer choices than in the classroom about what they want to do during "recess" (a short period after or before lunch in which children play in groups of their choosing on the school playground or in the school gym).

Also, in American middle schools and high schools (attended by students ages around 12-18 years old), students can choose who they sit next to during school lunch time. Almost always these tables are self-segregated. While this is concerning, as an African American I understand why People of Color may choose to self-segregate (that is, to eat together at their "own" lunch tables) rather than eat with those of other races/ethnicities.

I believe that doing so often serves as an oasis, a respite from the cross-cultural interactions that I believe often put more burdens on those who are perceived as "minority" than those in the majority. Sitting at their own tables means that those children/youth don't have to translate what they are saying and when those children/youth don't have to worry about being faced with yet another prejudicial statement, prejudicial assumption, or incident when peers who are not of their race/ethnicity just don't know and may ask questions to correct their lack of knowledge. Though this is with an older age group, one such question I remember getting in college dorms was "Why do you put grease in your hair?". [Short answer-Black people put hair oil or hair conditioner in our hair because it is usually dryer than "White people's" hair].Also, I remember having to correct the myth that brown skinned Black people didn't get sun tans.

[To use the example of Black children/youthp,sitting at the "Black table" during lunch times means that you don't have to answer another perhaps well meaning but still tiring question. Sitting together means that children/youth can talk about their music, and their cultural icons [often in this case meaning music and/or movie stars]; and can talk about the television shows that they watch (which are usually-at least in the USA-different from those of the "majority" culture with peers who know what and who they are talking about without explanations. In other words, those children/youth have a break from being perceived as "different".

By the way, I mention this as a person who bucked the tide in college and sat with my White roomate during lunch and not at the "Black table". Actually in my senior year I did sit at the Black table most of the time because, for various reasons, by then I was absolutely fed up with being [perceived as] different, and I needed the support and solace of my "own" peer group.

All of this to say, I would not be in favor of school administrators taking away from children/youth the freedom to congregate and choose which groups they want to play with [during lunch and/or recess.

****

By the way, What does "ginger" mean in the UK?


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 10:47 AM

red hair.

I was labled the James E. Mallonee Junior High mascot by a few, because I had long wavy hair the colour of an Irish Setter. Didn't help that I was skinny and wore my hair in high side bunches resembling long floppy ears.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:02 AM

Thanks for that response, Virginia Tam.

**

By I meant to type the word "ostracize" in my last post.

**

Taunting children with red hair is an example of White on White taunting. A complication of the no tolerance for racial taunting is when there is Black on Black taunting. That taunting may occur because of colorism, meaning the preferences for one skin color over another. This usually "plays out" in the United States Black people with darker skin colors taunting another Black child who is the same or similar skin color by calling him or her "Blackie" or saying that he or she is an African (which they still interprete as something bad-which is not surprising given the paucity of attention to Africa in the public school curriculums and the negative images of Africa or the lack of attention given to Africa in the mass media). And Black children who have a lighter skin color may be taunted as being White which in the context of that taunt is definitely not a compliment.

And in the UK, I would imagine that there are taunts between Black children about their families' ethnic origins (for instance Caribbean vs African).

I mention this to illustrate how complicated the issue of racial taunting can be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:17 AM

There is nothing in that policy quote David el Gnomo gave that excludes coming down heavily on other types of bullying.

Sadly, I believe that there is. By ommision, other types of bullying are excluded and, unfortunately, this is the type of thing that the right wing press pick up on. Any laid down policy should NOT specificaly mention any type of bullying as in "The school believes that racism is wrong and it will not tolerate racist attitudes ". Either have nothing laid down OR simply say "The school believes that any bullying, taunting or ostrasisation is wrong and it will not tolerate these attitudes."

Ostracise - Note the British spelling Azizi:-) I have been contributing to the "American English" thread as well so please excuse me. Thanks for your, as ever, enlightening posts about white/white and black/black racism. Surely this drives the point home doesn't it? It gets far too complex to define inappropriate behavior by colour so, surely, we should try a simple message with children. Just no bullying - of any sort. Simple and to the point.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:18 AM

I had long wavy hair the colour of an Irish Setter... I was skinny and wore my hair in high side bunches resembling long floppy ears.

Sounds adorable, VT!

It would be hard to imagine, if you met me now - 65 years old, bearded, cynical, 13 stone, hardened by over 40 years of public performance - to imagine that, up until the age of 16 or so, I suffered quite severe and persistent bullying at school and out of school. I wore glasses ("speccy four-eyes), had a bad stammer, was asthmatic and was very under-developed for my age. A natural victim and, like many before me, used humour and quick wit to deflect being persecuted. You develop a quick wit when you have to.

From 16 or so onwards, I grew up quickly, started to play blues harmonica and boogie-woogie piano. Then left school, got a job, met different people, started to play guitar, joined bands, etc. etc - and everything changed. I became confident and Life became OK. But it certainly wasn't OK for a large part of my younger life. Schools 50 years ago were not were they are today - those of you in the UK of my generation will know what I'm talking about. Bullying in whatever form it takes place - through race, disability, physical appearance, background and anything else - has to be brought to the attention of teachers and parents alike and taken very, very seriously.

Someone else has pointed out that, if bullying becomes severe, the victim can take quite sudden and violent action in self-defence. I recall, playing cricket one afternoon, some kid or other started mimicking my stammer. A red mist - literally a red mist - descended in front of my eyes and I hit him extremely hard on the shoulder with the cricket bat - nearly broke it. (Good practice for the future pub gigs, eh?). That's when the bullying started to stop - but it was a deplorable thing to have done, and no-one should have to resort to red-mist violence in that situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:40 AM

David el Gnomo, you're welcome. But I didn't write much of anything about White/White racism and I'm not sure that the Black/Black taunting actually qualifies as "racism".

Be that as it may, my central point was that ostracism happens for a number of reasons [in the USA] during school lunches and recess [and also in colleges/universities] and I don't think that administrators should enforce a no-ostracism rule during those times.

That said, I would of course prefer that it doesn't happen, but this forum is proof that people often self-select leisure time activities where we are not "the only one" or where we aren't "one of only a few".

None of this should detract from the point that all forms of taunting are wrong, and also this shouldn't detract from the point that the police shouldn't be involve as a matter of course as a consequence to racial or other forms of taunting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 01:11 PM

hair the colour of an Irish Setter. I wouldn't call that "ginger" - I 'd think of that as being a more yellowish shade of red.

Never understood the thing about red hair - I seem to remmeber growing up that red hair was if anything something admired, with a feeling that it might indicate a certain tough quality. Of course that was a boys only school.

I can't see how having a policy that specifically addresses a particular type of bullying implies that other kinds of bullying are trivial. If you have a policy about smoking you wouldn't expect it to include a section about drinking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 01:27 PM

Yep

I was a real beauty when I was 14.

Woof!


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 01:42 PM

I can't see how having a policy that specifically addresses a particular type of bullying implies that other kinds of bullying are trivial. If you have a policy about smoking you wouldn't expect it to include a section about drinking.

I would have tended to agree in the past McG but you must admit that, unless something is specificaly mentioned nowadays, it tends to get lost. When a policy is introduced it must cover all aspects or none. By mentioning racism in particlar the authorities adopting the policy should be aware that it can, and will, be construed as exclusive of other forms of abuse. And at our school if a teacher told us not to smoke but failed to mention drink you could be sure that at least 2 people would be face down in the gutter before the day was out:-)

Azizi - You did not need to say much. Just by highlighting the fact that taunts do happen between people of the same colour you set me to thinking how complex an issue it was. Your later comment of black/black taunts possibly not qualifying as racism has shown me what a can of worms will be opened if schools do adopt this policy. Imagine what the right wing press would make of a white child being taken to the police on racist allegations because they have insulted a black child, while a black child, using the same taunts to the same child, is not. Crikey - does not bear thinking about!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 02:16 PM

When I wrote that post, I didn't mean to imply that it would be a racist act for a White child to use a taunt that included a racial term against a Person of Color but that it wouldn't be a racist taunt if-for instance-a Black child used a taunt that included the same, similar, or another racial term against a person of his or her same race.

I was thinking about whether a taunt that included a racial slur met any of these definitions of racism:

Racism:
-the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races

-discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=racism

and

-The belief that each race has distinct and intrinsic attributes.

-The belief that one race is superior to all others.

-Prejudice or discrimination based upon race

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/racism

-snip-

With regard to taunts, I think that the question of intentions has to be considered, but that absolutely doesn't mean that just because a person didn't intend to cause harm, harm didn't occur.

I believe that when children taunt other children, they do indeed mean to hurt them. People who taunt lash onto that which they think will hurt-in the case of "racial taunts" that means talking negatively about another person's race or ethnicity. Notice I wrote racial taunts and not racist taunts. I think this distinction is important. And I definitely believe that every mention of race or ethnicity isn't racist.

It seems to me that adults are already tip-toeing around any mention of race/ethnicity. Is that approach what we really want for our children?

I believe that one reason why adults are reluctant to mention race or ethnicity (using the American meaning of "Latino/Hispanic" and perhaps also other meanings of "etnnicity") is that they are afraid of causing offense by either using a term that isn't current, or by someone interpreting their use of a racial term to mean that they don't believe that all races are equal.

I believe that this so-called "color blind" approach is absolutely the wrong goal. Instead of a goal of "color blindness", it seems to much better goal would be working for a time when race/ethnicity are just descriptors that would have no positive or negative valuations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 02:33 PM

Absolutely agreed and very sensible, Azizi. Some day all people will think the same way but, unfortunately, just at the moment in the UK, any crime committed against a person of race other than English is under scrutiny of whether it is a racist crime. I must add that NOT all crimes against person of diverse ethnic origin are upheld to be race crimes but there is an awful lot of this getting through and casting perfectly good intentions in a bad light.

I fully understand the difference between racial and racist abuse - My Jewish daughter-in-law often refers to me as 'Cossack Scum' - racial but not racist (and quite light hearted of course!) On a more relevent issue when I was at school - pre 11 that is - My surname was Polakow. I got a fair amount of stick for that, but even then I knew which was a racial comment and which people were taunting me simply because I was different. I learned to steer clear of the latter.

I also remember, in my teens, an older lad commenting 'It must be sunny down there' when we were in Manchester and a crowd of black people were coming up the street. I had to have him explain it to me because I don't think I even noticed the colour! It was probably my first experience of anyone even mentioning differences in race - and I was about 14! I don't know to this day if it was a racist comment or not!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 02:43 PM

To expand on what I mean, let me relate a situation that occurred in the mid 1970s when I was the "minority coordinator" for a small liberal arts college in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I received a telephone call one evening that there was a "race riot" at that school. As a result of my questions, I learned that actually there were only four people involved in this "race riot" (two Black students who lived on campus, and two White students who lived on campus). I arrived at the school and went to the dean of students office where a staff member sat with those four young women. I learned that racial slurs were indeed spoken. There were of course different versions to the story (who said the racial slur first). But it was clear that at some point one of the White students called one of the Black students the "n word" and that one of the Black students called one of the White students "poor White trash". And it was clear that at some point some hitting and/or slapping occurred. It was also clear that the other two students had joined in to the argument and/or fighting in defense of their friend.

While I didn't condone the racial slurs, I wanted to find out how this incident had started. I recall that it started over what I would call some "stupid stuff" around the allegation that one woman had taken or used something that belonged to the other student. There's no doubt that racist attitudes did pop out during that heated confrontation. And yes, those racists assumptions have to be faced and resolved, but that's not going to happen in the midst of cooling down a confrontational incident.

I can't recall what the end result of that evening was. I certainly don't think those students left that meeting as friends, and they may never have spoken to each other again for all I know. Thankfully, the college staff did not call the police. Involving the police in a matter such as that would not only have been "over-kill", it might even have fueled the flames of -if not a real race riot-then certainly more animosity between the races in that college and beyond (since any college is part of a larger community).


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Subject: RE: BS: Schoolyard bullying
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 02:54 PM

I've noticed that the Mudcat members from the UK use a different definition of race than that which is used in the USA.

David el Gnomo, given the politics of the UK, especially with regards to the BNP, I think it's important to clarify what you meant when you wrote "at the moment in the UK, any crime committed against a person of race other than English is under scrutiny of whether it is a racist crime". When you wrote "any crime committed against a person of race other than English", by "English" did you mean "White" or did you really mean White people who are English? (since there are English people who are People of Color).


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