Bullying-- it's not just kids on kids anymore.

I was having that daily conversation with my 9th grader last night that every parent has -
Mom-“What did you do in school today?”
“Nothing, the usual”, Bryan said with a touch of hesitation
Mom radar activated “What’s up..what happened?”
We started the new semester today, and I swapped from Computers to Health, but I don’t think I’m gonna like the class”

After some prodding and poking, I got him to tell me why. His teacher called all the boys in the class “STUPID” and “that if they don’t pass the class with at least a B that there is “something wrong” with them”

I wrote a bit about bullying a couple of weeks ago and had discussed the subject with my kids. They understand that bullying is never okay. They know how to contact a parent or a teacher when another child is bullying them. But never once in our conversations did the fact that an adult could be bullying a child come up. 

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Apparently, teacher-student bullying is more common than most parents realize, with some 45% of teachers in one study having admitted to bullying students at some point in their career.  So what is a parent to do when a child comes to them and says “my teacher called me stupid”?

The first thing I did was look to see if any other parents/former students had issues with this teacher on Ratemyteacher.com. Unfortunately, there were several complaints there about how rude and arrogant this teacher was, and how much he yelled at the class.

I live 2,792 miles away from my son’s school so I was unable to set up an appointment to talk to his 9th grade dean of students, so I sent an email to her, the assistant principal and the Principal. This is the email I sent:

     I was recently speaking to my son, Bryan and he mentioned a comment that Mr. Sa** made in his Health class today, January 21, 2014 that made him uncomfortable and gave me cause for concern.
     According to Bryan, Mr. S**stated that boys in ninth grade are “Stupid and immature” and that he prefers teaching girls. Bryan also stated that Mr. S** said “that if they don’t pass the class with at least a B that there is “something wrong” with them”.
     My son is worried that he will get into trouble for telling me this information or that he will get called out of class and miss some important information. I assured him that there would be no repercussions to him reporting a situation such as this, and that the school would look into the situation immediately.
     This comment concerns me due to the recent uptick in bullying across the country. I don’t want my son to have to worry about coming to class and getting belittled, not only by other students, but by the very person who is supposed to be teaching and helping him grow. I can understand the frustrations that Mr. S** seemed to be feeling, as I work primarily with clients with traumatic brain injury who have regressed to that middle school behavioral stage however, there is never a cause to call anyone names. This is bullying, plain and simple and it will not be tolerated.

I eagerly await your response and resolution to this matter. If you have any questions, you can contact me at ****@gmail.com or 603-***-****.

I then reassured Bryan that he wasn’t stupid, and that even if he didn’t get a B in the class, there was nothing wrong with him. (Bryan has already been struggling this year to keep grades above a D, the cost of moving schools due to a military transfer). He’s a bright kid, who does well in classes where encouragement and praise flow, rather than  judgement.

I am eagerly awaiting the response from the faculty that I emailed. I’ll keep you posted. What would you have done differently? Would you have done what I did?

 --- Becky

 

Some resources on Teacher student bullying:

http://bullying.about.com/od/Victims/a/10-Ways-To-Respond-To-A-Teacher-Who-Bullies.htm
http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-teachers.html
http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=3668

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