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High School Teacher Shares The 'Subtle Bullying' She Sees Happening Between Students Quite Often

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group of high school students sitting and laughing together outside

A high school teacher named Ms. C explained that she's noticing an uptick in how often bullying happens between her students.

In a TikTok video, Ms. C listed all of the things that she doesn't tolerate as an educator who teaches high school students, and one of those things was the bullying that she observed happening more often than it should.

Ms. C explained the 'subtle bullying' she noticed between her high school students.

Ms. C insisted that while there are some things that she lets slide as a high school teacher, one of the things that she will always put her foot down about is bullying between students. She explained that a lot of the bullying she sees in high school environments is often quite subtle, but it happens all the time.

"Here's what it looks like. A student who is less popular, maybe has a disability, will be talking and a kid who's a bully will be looking at all of his friends across the room and snickering and making little faces," Ms. C said. 

   

   

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Talking about what she usually does, Ms. C insisted that she'll stand in front of the bully's desk and stare them down the entire time the less popular student is talking as if daring them to actively bully another student in her face. If things escalate, she doesn't hesitate to throw the bully out of the classroom.

According to a report from the RAND Corporation, bullying is a top concern for teachers, even more than school shootings or drugs on campus. Similarly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that around 20% of high school students reported being bullied at school in its biennial surveys between 2011 and 2020, dropping to 15% in 2021. The percentage of teens reporting that they had been cyberbullied remained mostly flat between 2011 and 2021.

High School Teacher Shares The Subtle Bullying She Sees Between StudentsPhoto: FatCamera / Canva Pro

"If you are a teacher and you're not fiercely protecting your most vulnerable students, what are you doing?" Ms. C questioned. 

In an interview with Care.com, Ashley Morolla, a licensed professional counselor, explained that the best thing that schools can do to prevent bullying is to admit that it's most likely happening on their campus and acknowledge that it's something serious to address in the first place.

"The reality is bullying can happen anywhere and everywhere, even if little to no issues are reported," Morolla said. "Instead, it’s much more effective to accept that bullying is a widespread issue, assume it’s taking place in your school or district, and come up with policies and frameworks to effectively address incidents when they arise."

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Ms. C implemented a 'no phone policy' in her classroom to teach kids how to interact.

"They're not interacting with each other. Students need that pure interaction and I think phones really shut that down," Ms. C claimed. To combat that, she makes sure to take a student's phone if they have it out during classroom hours, and that most of her students are fine with this rule.

She makes sure to explain to them that phones should not be prioritized over doing their work. In the end, though, Ms. C is only trying to make sure she's giving her students the best she can as their teacher because these are the minds that will be our next generation, and the nurturing of their minds starts in the classroom.

"It really comes down to kids' emotional safety in my class and their academic success."

Ms. C isn't the only public educator who feels that phones can serve as nothing more than a distraction in the classroom. The Orange County school district in Florida found that prohibiting phones from classrooms led to major improvements in students' behaviors and academic performances.

   

   

The school district managed to limit distractions in classes, encourage in-person communication between students and teachers, and handle the cyberbullying that can take place on campuses when students have direct access to their phones. Students were no longer able to record humiliating videos of their peers and post them to social media during school hours.

By addressing subtle forms of mistreatment that happen between students and enforcing strict policies and rules in the classroom, public school educators can make a drastic difference in the negative impacts of bullying and a student's performance in a learning environment. 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.