Some time ago, someone in school was mean to my kid. Back in the day, this kind of thing happened to me a lot. As a scrawny kid, I got called a person from a certain starving country all the time. I won’t mention the country because it feels mean just typing it. I didn’t tell the teacher this. We just had to live with name calling for the most part. There were some fairly obvious “trouble makers” in school, and you could tell on them without much problem. Other than that, I think we were expected to work it out ourselves. And that didn’t necessarily mean the problems got resolved.
Now, teachers encourage kids to tell if someone is calling the names, no matter if it’s been fifty times or one. No matter if the kid has a history of trouble or not. Even though I had a lot of great teachers, I just didn’t hear that message in school. Unless it got physical, nothing much was done.
I’m thankful for this new culture in schools. Let me be clear – I think people can get way to PC with making everything so bland and unoffensive. That is way too much coddling, too much over-protection about things that could provoke a difference of opinion. Promoting an emotionally safe culture in school is different. Being excessively PC is not the same as protecting a child from targeted ridicule.
All year long the kids are told how they are expected to treat each other in school. Not only that, teachers make it clear what kids are supposed to if they are on the receiving end of taunting. My kid is still reluctant to be in the spotlight, but she is really clear about how the teachers would help her. She has no mistake that she’d be taken seriously. I like that. If I’d known that clearly that my teachers would help me with name calling and taunting, perhaps I could have avoided some emotional struggles.
All in all, I have come out just fine. However, I am grateful my daughter could have a swift resolution to her discomfort. Even with my professional knowledge about bullying, I find myself fighting old beliefs about what teaches will do about verbal bullying and taunting. Uncomfortable as it may be, I’m hopeful my daughter can take this experience with her when she has to be the only one standing up for herself.