A School Leader’s Worst Fear!
A school leader’s worst fear has to be the passing of a student. Fortunately, it has never happened on my watch. However, I have seen school communities destroyed by the loss of students. There are certain things that school leaders can do to be proactive to ensure the safety of students. I think it is going to take leaders going above and beyond, as well as thinking outside the box to address this ongoing problem.
We talk about bullying a lot. Yet, there are still kids that sit in silence and are bullied on an everyday basis. I’m no-nonsense when it comes to bullying. That’s when the whole restorative justice framework goes out of the window for me. Parents send kids to school to learn. They want their babies coming home the same way they were sent to school. The job of the school leader is to ensure that occurs. I always take it one step further. School leaders are responsible for the child from the time they leave the house, to the time they enter the house. Sometimes if things aren’t going well, your responsibility may even enter the house. We have to protect these children.
Holding Schools Accountable.
There have been way too many instances when bullying has been reported but continues to happen in schools. We need to create safe havens where the students that are being bullied have a safe outlet to report any and all instances. One way to address bullying is to take it seriously the first time. There is no time to play when it is brought to your attention. If you think about it, by the time it gets to you, it’s usually too late. This is why it’s essential to have your fingers on the pulse in your respective schools.
Keeping Your Fingers on the Pulse.
There are a lot of different ways to keep your fingers on the pulse. One way that resonates for me is having staff members be a student for the day. This way, teachers can see things through the eyes of the students. It adds a level of empathy to the teacher’s repertoire. Moreover, this type of innovation will allow teachers to see things through the eyes of the students. Thus increasing the believability of the students when they report cases of bullying.
A Fear Realized.
This latest incident of school bullying resulting in a young lady committing suicide brought me to write. As educators, we have to do better with protecting our students. We have to listen to our students. No matter how minor it may seem. A school leader’s worst fear is losing a student on their watch.