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Bullying in our nation's schools

In our nation's schools, we spend money and time to educate our students about the ills of bullying. But what good is this when we engage in bullying with other staff in our school systems? School board members, teachers, administrators and other staff need to realize that students are impressionable and can pick up on this! We are setting a bad example for our students and putting their needs last.....
Bulllying is something that we now take the time to educate our children about in our school systems. But what about the adults who work in the school systems? The numerous teachers and administrators who ruin someone's career because of senseless bullying?

During the year 1997, I was the "targeted teacher" in a small school system in South Dakota. The Bridgewater school system had hired me to do a job: teach their children music. Although I was highly qualified, had a good discipline plan and made numerous improvements to their instrumental music program, I experienced incessant bullying from the principal and the person they hired to co-teach chorus along with myself. This co-teacher, by the way, does not even have a college degree. She is a housewife and lives on a farm. Nothing against that. But why do we hire unqualified people to teach our children? The lack of qualifications of this woman (Mrs. X we will call her) do not stop at her failure to obtain a college degree.

When I was gone to a workshop, Mrs. X was my sub for classes. The next week I heard that she only made the band students play their instruments for 15 minutes. One student told me that they were allowed to "raise hell" for the rest of the period and that it was awful. Mrs. X lied to me the next week and told me that I was making the students work too hard! I guess it is because of idiots like her that our small town music programs are falling apart!

Mrs. X had a couple of daughters in my music program that were spies. One of them lied and told her that a boy had a throwing star in chorus. I could not search him. But I talked to him and he told me away from others that he did nothing wrong. So, I did believe him. And he even told the Superintendent that he had nothing. He was the type to lie, but only in front of a large group. Perhaps Mrs. X should also learn some people skills and learn how to read others!

Mr. X (the poor excuse we had for a principal that year) did everything from day one to undermine my authority as a teacher. During the first two days of school, I had to supervise study hal during the eighth period of the day in a room near his office. He screamed at me in front of other teachers in the main office. "You don't have any discipline! You better fix the problem!" All of the teachers, including myself, were struggling to keep students focused during the last hour of classes. Things did get better in that study hal. But I had to come up with some novel ideas. I allowed them to play cards if their homework was done. I knew their homework was not done. But I did not want anyone breaking anything like the year before when I was not there. Mr. X found out what we were doing and accused me of allowing the students to gamble. They were not doing any gambling! Instead, they found a few corners of the room to play cards in and were enjoying the time together. They were not in trouble. Some students were even just reading quietly. The more Mr. X interfered, the worse things got in all of my rooms.

Mr. X made a point of being a two-faced jerk. When I had to send a student from high school choir to the office for swearing or hitting another student, it was a joke. The principal did not back me. This became obvious because the parents and the students I talked to told me that he was doing this. They did not know what to do.

We also had a very incompetent school board. Our superintendent even told us in a private meeting once that school board members should be made up of qualified people, like retired teachers or people who had training and knew what school environments were like. Our board was so incompetent that they allowed Mr. X to get by with a bad boo-boo! At one of the girls basketball tournaments, a few of our girls got caught with alcohol. Mr. X did not punish them and allowed them to participate in SD Activities Association activities. I could say nothing about the fact that one All-State chorus student of mine was caught and was still allowed to come with me to Rapid City for the chorus event! She had no right! But Mr. X was to blame. He set a bad example for everyone.

Recently, a good friend of mine was let go from a teaching position after just one year of successful music teaching. The problem was that her assistant principal was a bully, as well as the co-teacher of her band classes. In many of our states, our teachers have no rights until they have been in their positions at least 3 full years. What does that say about our country?
bullying is intentionally part of the curriculum 14.Aug.2003 12:28