Here was something new this morning: the editor of The Christian Science Monitor parenting blog called me and asked me to write about a video that recently hit the news (as opposed to just picking up something I’d already written). Rather than reposting here, I’m linking to the new blog entry and adding a bit more.
I’ve already had a couple of emails responding that the bus driver may well have been truly powerless in a world where it is increasingly hard to hold kids accountable in school, and this is an absolutely valid point. I am fortunate enough to work in a school where the principal backs his teachers. Granted, the school district’s lawyers often tell us we “can’t” hold kids accountable for many things, but I guarantee that if a bus monitor called our principal in the middle of an attack like that, he would back the bus monitor to the best of his ability.
Ultimately, though, my point isn’t about her, specifically. The point I really wanted to make is that situations like this are exactly why we should be teaching kids to feel empowered. You see it in teachers. No matter how much training you give a teacher, there is a natural attitude of confidence that plays a big part in classroom management. Two teachers in the same school, with the same kids and the same administration, can have two very different classroom management situations. Some teachers are pushovers, while others are just not the people to mess with, and kids sense the difference. With the right guidance, we can help kids develop the “don’t mess with me” confidence that makes them bad victims.
Will it solve all bullying? No. Will it help in many situations where harassment or intimidation come into play? Yes. Once again, no magic bullet–just one more possible step in the right direction.