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.
Why do we send our kids to school? Short answer: To learn; Long answer: We believe in schools keeping our students safe.
In essence, I can’t wrap head around it. As a parent, I know why I send my children to school. From the standpoint of a former student, I understood why my mother sent me to school. As I currently negotiate with my four-year-old about going to school, she knows that she goes to school to learn. Parents send their children to school to learn.
Sexual Abuse in Schools:
Are we doing enough to prepare our kids for sexual predators in schools? I recently read an article about sexual abuse in Catholic schools. 108 educators were accused, and the article stated, “This was just the tip of the iceberg.”
Teachers as Caregivers:
Overall, parents trust teachers. Sometimes to the detriment of their kids. Teachers sometimes don’t understand where the disconnect between school and home comes into play. Part of that disconnect comes when parents entrust their most valuable assets (their children) in the care of educators. Some educators take this act seriously. Others don’t.
Teachers as Role Models:
Regardless of your acceptance of being a role model, as an educator, you are a role model by default. Embracing this is also embracing your responsibility in keeping our kids safe. We can all agree; there’s no room for sexual predators in this profession. It becomes frustrating when every other story is a story about abuse. Kids deserve better than they are receiving. They deserve alert parents who ask the right questions. We have to do better. We have to keep our students safe.
OAN Taking Matters in Our Own Hands:
This is what happens when taking matters into your own hands goes wrong.
In other news, where do you draw the line with protecting your child from bullies? Should your child being bullied ever result in your taking matters into your own hands? My mind and my heart both say no. However, as a parent, I understand the anguish experienced by parents when they send their children to school expecting them to be safe. Moreover, as parents, we have to set the expectations for our students. I think there was a way to be impassioned, as well as send the message that you won’t be bullying my child without the parent physically assaulting the student.
Seven Bridges Remembered:
There are many things we take for granted. Sometimes that includes life itself. My life has become centered on being selfless, bringing light to issues that affect our community, and helping to develop strategies to prevent future trauma.
With great sadness, I write to you about Seven Bridges. The name itself screams of originality. I’ll never get to meet Seven Bridges in person because Seven killed himself. Classmates bullied him at school. His parents alerted school staff, and his parents even made a move to change his school. Alas, not even the change in schools would prevent Seven from taking his own life.
Bullying in Schools:
These types of events happen way more often than we are comfortable speaking. I understand why, but not talking about the problems won’t make them go away.
The problem, in this case, is bullying. How can we address bullying in our schools?
Whether through social media, mental or physical, bullying is on the rise.
Here are ways to address bullying in schools:
1. Awareness. Take a learning inventory of your students and your parents. Many don’t understand what bullying is nowadays. Many parents think about what they went through as students in school. We have to bring them full circle so they can understand the type of trauma students go through currently.
2. Have social workers and educators that are culturally competent. Cultural competence ensures students have space and opportunity to talk things through in what they feel is a safe space. Having trusted members on staff is helpful to the vulnerable population.
3. Have workshops with parents about how to identify the signs. If a student is out of sorts, or they aren’t acting like they usually act, parents and educators need to have a heightened sense of what support the child needs.
Incidents like this can are preventable. Educators have to be vigilant. I for one would not want an incident like this to occur on my watch. To prevent an act like this from occurring, I’ll do whatever it takes. Will you? Join me in ensuring bullying ends with Seven.
If this story resonated with you, please share. We have to protect these kids!