judifilksign: (Default)
[personal profile] judifilksign
 At work this week, one of the youth leaders, a product of a Catholic school, commented that bullies were not tolerated when he was growing up.  If a nun teacher heard one of her students be mean to another, then not only would the bully get a religious tongue-lashing about kindness to your neighbors, but a ruler across the palm as well.

If there were physical incidents, the bullies got paddled in the office.  Any parent who disagreed with this policy could always pull their kid out, but no parent ever did.  In fact, in his circle, a kid punished for being a bully in school got it twice as hard at home.

I found myself wondering whether slapping with a ruler or paddling actually stopped bullying, or only made it better hidden, in the bathrooms, on the way home, and so on.  Did the bullies become more inured to violence because they, themselves, were hit?  I wondered also if my youth leader, a handsome, tough, Irish manly man, would ever have had trouble with bullies.  He'd've been the type to have wiped the floor with the bodies of anyone who tried.  Maybe he didn't see anyone bullied because, like in his role as youth leader at my workplace now, no one would ever dare to bully  in HIS presence, even as a kid.

We got a memo at work this week, forwarded from my boss, forwarded from her supervisors, saying that the first week in October was "count week," in which the average attendance at the schools was tallied, for the purposes of government funding formula.  We were to attempt not to suspend anyone this week for behavior infractions.  This message made me wonder whether teacher silences are the unintended consequence of conflicting supervisor expectations.  With No Child Left Behind, schools are "graded" for the newspapers, with not only scores, but attendance as one of the ways to earn an "excellent" rating.  Suspend too many of your problem children, and your school gets a bad score, published in the newspaper, and loses governmental  funding to boot.  That's a powerful incentive to ignore a problem like bullying and hope it isn't too bad, huh?

The missive did not change the way I taught or disciplined this week.  My classes ran along as usual, and while I did have redirects (I do work at a treatment center, after all,) I had no major incidents that would have gone before the principal to test that memo's message.
From: [identity profile] robin-june.livejournal.com
In my Catholic grade school, my very first bully was my first grade teacher, Sister Joan Marie. She was threatened by my achievements ( I entered 1st grade already able to read, which was unheard of in that day) and she was inexplicably angered by my willingness to be an adult-oriented, eager & cooperative student. I had just transferred in that year from a different Catholic school on the opposite coast, and she set the tone that the students who bullied me, mimicked to continue for most of my grade school and high school career.

She didn't beat me, but I do remember her beating another student: when I look back on it, I realize that he was the only African American student in the grade that year, and that he did not come back to the school with us by the following year.


Date: 2010-10-10 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>>Did the bullies become more inured to violence because they, themselves, were hit? <<

Possibly; fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity. But if the context had minimal bullying, I'd attribute that to the consistent social pressure against it. If the school and home life and religion are all saying the same thing, it'll stick for more people.

>>This message made me wonder whether teacher silences are the unintended consequence of conflicting supervisor expectations.<<

Frequently, yes. Teaching is often a position of high responsibility but low authority, where people are expected to get excellent results with shabby resources.

>>The missive did not change the way I taught or disciplined this week. <<

Good for you!

Date: 2010-10-11 12:40 am (UTC)
chryssalys: (ianto's to-do list)
From: [personal profile] chryssalys
Maybe the way bullying was punished back then did send it into hiding - but even that would be better than the silent complicity that seems to be happening in so many schools now.

If the bullying had to be done in secret, at least that meant that it was wrong. When it can be done in the open, it's clearly the "okay" thing to do. And that message is killing our kids.

Date: 2010-11-03 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] violinsontv.livejournal.com
I attended Catholic school in the sixties and seventies and can assure you that those who bullied me (for reasons similar to robin_june's) received little or no punishment, except in one egregious case involving inappropriate touch. If anything, the pressure was on me to "toughen up" and "not take 'teasing' so seriously." Even at six and seven, I was blamed for being different and making myself a target.

It took me at least 15 years to be able to walk into a Catholic church and stay there for a service with my mother, as a courtesy to her.


judifilksign: (Default)

December 2011

    12 3
45 67 8 910
18 19 2021222324

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 17th, 2017 12:56 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios