As October comes to a close and we wrap up honoring National Bullying Prevention Month, we need to remember that it is clearly a topic that needs to be addressed all year long. Today, I want to talk about a kind of bullying that we don't discuss enough -- the acts that happen when other kids and even adults are around.
Bullying, the worst form of social violence, has been going on for years in hallways, at the lunch table, at recess, on the bus to and from school, currently on the Internet, and of course, in the classroom.
I feel that we haven't given enough attention to the bullying that takes place in the classroom. When our teens or even our tweens tell us that they don't like a specific subject ,it may not be due to the nature of the material, the subject itself, or the teacher. It could be due to the social politics of the classroom which can include subtle and some not-so subtle forms of bullying.
I have heard about several types of bullying that occur in the classroom that the kids tell me goes on despite a teacher being present. Tune in and listen to what the high schoolers and middle schoolers are telling me:
1. They get put into groups to do projects and many of them get excluded from the groups that they would like to be in. And, yes, kids have done projects alone that were meant to be done in a group of three.
2. Backpacks and other school supplies get tossed around in the classroom. And the goal is not to pass it to its rightful owner.
3. Kids are told "you are not a part of this conversation" when they try to get in on pre-class conversations.
4. Party invitations are discussed in class and the non-invited feel left out.
5. When there are not assigned seats, kids can be left to sit alone, and feel isolated.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of what goes on in the classroom, but these are some of the most frequent complaints that I hear from the middle- and high schoolers.
Related: Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied