“Cassie germs” were a raging epidemic in my elementary school. Cassie was a little girl who went to my elementary school for a few years. I do not remember much about her, but I remember she wore really big glasses, was very quiet, and not usually very clean. I cannot imagine being so young and feeling such rejection. However, I imagine every school in our nation has at least one student who may be feeling this way.
Last week, Asher Brown, a Houston-area student took his own life. His parents claim that he did it as a result of constant teasing and bullying he endured at his local junior high school. As a teacher I cannot imagine what must be going through the teachers, administrators and students minds. Unfortunately, Asher is not the first students whose tragedy serves as a reminder of how hurtful adolescents can be at this young age.
Preventing Bullying at School
As teachers we must take the time to look at interaction in the hallways and classrooms. We have to make sure that children in our classroom are not hurting each other in devastating ways. Many times, as teachers we feel helpless in helping students that are bullied.
Teachers have to model respect for others. I know that I want my classroom to be a place where every student feels safe. Sometimes, what may look like a simple tease is actually part of constant bullying that takes place every single day.
The Stop Bullying Now Campaign has information about identifying, preventing, and intervening in bullying situations. Teachers, they say, are one of the first lines of defense for children. They offer tips about how you can help a child who is being bullied.
If you suspect a child is being bullied, these are guidelines that teachers should follow.
Listen to a student who is feeling bullied.
Collect the facts.
Talk to the student about what can be done to make them feel safe.
Report the information to administration.
Lend your support too publicly in front of other students.
Force a meeting between the two parties involved.
Keep the bullied student in the dark about what you plan to do. It can leave them feeling like the situation is even more out of control.
KHOU: 13 Year Old Driven to Suicide (accessed on September 29,2010)
Stop Bullying Now: Tip Sheet