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luv2teach2017 luv2teach2017 is offline
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 309
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 309
Full Member
to MaineSub...
Old 12-20-2018, 08:13 AM
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I would merely note that being a bully requires a victim. The victim is as much a part of the problem as the bully. In this case, the VP's solution to the bullying situation was to give the parent another victim--the VP and, in a sense, the entire school system.
In fact, I think the school/school system IS this woman's real target, not me. I just happened to step in front of a stray bullet.

This woman has 2 sons enrolled in this school. Apparently, she's made herself the "PTA president" and a "volunteer" who's there every single day...I believe to "keep an eye on things." She and her sons are glaringly out of place there (I have to wonder what brought them to this school). It's a low income urban school that happens to be in the heart of a large community of mostly Muslim refugees from the middle east. Many of the students are children of these refugees. The rest are mostly latino or black. The parents I've met are low income folks who are struggling to make ends meet.

On the other hand, this "PTA president" is a white, middle class woman, (who looks like she'd be more comfortable in a country western bar). From what I saw of her youngest son, he's shy, but a good student who excels well beyond the other kids (many of whom do not speak English well if at all). This is NOT a school where parents are exactly waiting in line to be volunteers and PTA presidents...quite the contrary. Many of these parents do not speak English! So this woman probably walked in and took charge where there was NO competition for the position. Is she just being philanthropic? Umm...I seriously doubt it!

From what I saw, she was NOT interested in volunteering for the art teacher (she only showed up for the last 10 minutes)...that was likely just her way to gain daily access to the campus. Why did she target me? I think because she felt I was getting in her way. I used my prep time to help out the art teacher when this "volunteer" didn't show up. Shortly after the "volunteer" arrived, rather than apologizing for her lateness and thanking me for filling in, she literally staged a confrontation with me. I think she was trying to deflect attention from the fact that she was not at her post as a volunteer (which leaves me to wonder...where WAS she?).

Only a seriously disordered person would throw someone under the bus just to divert attention from their own misdeeds. What this woman did (lie about me to get me blocked) is unthinkable to me. Yes, the school removed one "victim," but bullies always find new victims. All this school did was reward the bully, which means she will do it again. The real solution is to confront and deal with the bully.

MaineSub...To address your point, could I have done something differently so as not to be her "victim"? I have thought this through again and again, but come up with the same answer. No. I had no previous encounter with this woman. She entered the classroom and literally blindsided me by flying into a rage in front of the class (like a disruptive student would) when I was too busy working with the class to see what she was doing. Then she immediately left (with her son in tow) and headed directly to the VP to "complain" and cast herself as "the victim" ( a common bullying tactic).

MaineSub...I agree that children (and adults) sometimes look to others to solve their problems rather than deal with it themselves. But I've also seen how real bullies operate. If you remove one victim, a bully will just find a new victim...and never an equal match. Bullies look for easy targets...someone who they perceive as vulnerable. Even more sinister, a bully may even PRETEND THEY are the victim in order to gain sympathy, falsely accuse the real victim, and thus deflect from their own wrongdoing! (as was the case with this woman I described).

In the scenario you mentioned of the child complaining about being "elbowed," you are right about suggesting the student move his desk. But if the troublemaker is a bully, then he will just slide his desk again towards the same student or another one and pester that kid instead. Then if you confront him, he will turn on you (his new victim) and make a scene. He may even threaten to go to the principal and accuse YOU of "using a bad word" or "pushing" him or whatever so that "you will get fired because YOU are just a sub." (I've had a 3rd grader say this to me!)

There are real bullies in this world...disordered, psychopathic, and dangerous. And they likely began as children who were bullies. The imbalance of power is what makes people into targets and makes them unable to fight for themselves. That's why it's important for those with more power and authority (teachers, administrators, etc.) to offset the imbalance by intervening.

As a teacher, I always try to bring the students together to talk through their issue (as the VP SHOULD have done with me and the parent). But if I know that a child tends to bully others and is a repeat offender, I will penalize that child with consequences. Is this taking the more difficult path? Yes. Wouldn't it be easier to just tell the "victim" to handle it themselves? Yes. But if there's bullying going on, putting it back on the victim doesn't solve the long-term fact, it will probably make things much worse. It invalidates the victim and gives the perpetrator (bully) a green light.

As I see it, at some point, the buck has to stop getting passed. The question is then...who is willing step up to the task? (Do I hear crickets?)

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-20-2018 at 01:41 PM..
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