As an educator, one topic I am passionate about is reducing bullying in schools. Incidents of bullying continue to gain national attention as society continues to see the seriousness and detrimental effects of this problem. Schools should be one of the safest places for children to attend each day. However, due to the harassment some students experience at the hands of bullies, schools are faced with chronic absenteeism and poor academic performance for many students because of bullying. Additionally, students battle depression, anxiety, and fear. Many students result to more drastic measures such as shooting rampages and suicide, all because of bullies.
Advances in technology allow bullying to extend far beyond the school day and school grounds. Social media websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter allow bullies to touch the lives of the victims at any time. Access to the Internet and other technological devices such as cellphones only add stress to the lives of victims who are constantly at the disposal of a bully. Research shows that cyber bullying is one of the most popular forms of bullying. Cyber bullies create false identities and publish false information about their victims. Cyber bullying makes combating incidents of bullying a more arduous task for educators because of the anonymousness involved.
As educators, we must be advocates and provide voices for victims of bullies. We have to instill in our students the value of treating everyone fairly and with dignity and respect. We must establish “zero tolerance” policies for bullying behavior. Bullying should not be considered “just a normal part of growing up”. Victims of bullying must realize that they do not have to suffer in silence. They must understand that they do not have to fear attending school because of bullies. Educators, at every level, have to help victims take a stand against bullying behavior and bullies. That’s my two cents!
About the author: Shauna Mayo is currently pursuing her Ed.D in K-12 School Leadership with Regent University and is in the process of writing her dissertation on the topic of bullying. She holds an MS in Elementary Education from Old Dominion University and a BS in Psychology from the University of Maryland University College. She is currently a 5th grade teacher and a retired U. S. Army veteran. She is married and has two daughters. She can be reached at email@example.com