Dear educational community, What is happening in the lives of our children? Why are we seeing higher incidences of violence and bullying in our schools? How have we permitted violence to become an expected threat to our schools? Why are violence and bullying making more headlines than acts of empathy and kindness? How can we become part of the solution and ensure a safer future for our students?
Any form of violence in school is a serious incident. Violence cannot be brushed under the table. Bullying, abuse, nonsocial behaviors, cliques, and humiliating rejection are behaviors that are now being observed as early as kindergarten. Why is this happening? Why are the youngest children now emulating these unwanted behaviors? The world and the challenges our children face are ever-changing, and we as educators must evolve along with them to be able to guide our students effectively to become good humans.
Our students need to be reminded of the value of empathy and kindness. They need guidance on how to keep safe and to speak up when they witness something wrong. They need to be taught the importance of being kind and helpful friends. Our children need help navigating through social situations, in the classroom, on the playground, and in any other social setting.
Let us take this precise moment as an eye-opener to reflect on what we can do better for our children and students. No child should experience bullying or violence. No child should feel such deep sadness or emptiness that he feel the need to resort to intimidation or violence as a means to gain attention.
How can we become part of the solution and ensure a safer future for our students?
What are some things that we can do at school to ensure that our children exemplify compassion and kindness as well as ensure that our children are growing and learning in a healthy community? How can we become part of the solution and ensure a safer future for our students?
Efficient and sufficient supervision.
We need to be more aware of what is occurring on school premises, during break time and on the playgrounds. As adults we must accept that we cannot control the impulses of young children, and with that, be aware that young children need to be continually monitored and modeled appropriate behavior. We must be more aware of what is going on with our children, and when we are on duty or supervising, we need to have enough hands on deck to be genuinely able to monitor the children we are in charge of.
It takes a village, let us rely on our community.
We cannot protect our students and children from the world. Still, together as a village, we can look out for our children by insisting on zero tolerance to bullying, exclusions, and unkind behaviors. Speak up and correct unwanted actions immediately. We must set a precedent with children, to let them know that unwanted behaviors are not acceptable.
Highlight the difference between fantasy and reality.
Our children face violence daily via television, Hollywood, video games, social media, and news outlets. We can build lesson plans based on identifying the difference between fantasy and reality that will help children channel their impulses. If we bombard kids with positive information in school and at home, they may retain a better idea of what is acceptable in their community. They will be able to make better decisions about their actions.
Highlight the importance of positive, healthy friendships and the dangers of toxic friendships.
We can teach children ways on maintaining positive and healthy friendships. Let us teach our students that it is OK to say no, and that is it OK to ask for space from toxic friends. Young children need help in managing social situations. The typical “X won’t let me play with other friends” comes to mind; these are the future bullies and victims of the world. It is at this precise moment that this behavior should be eliminated before it evolves into something more challenging to manage. These are life long friendships they are forming and lifelong habits. Our students are spending more time with us in school than they do at home, we need to acknowledge this fact and be more present to positively correct and guide them.
Get to the root of the problem.
We must get to the root of the situation with those children that are having recurrent behavioral problems at school. Why are these children feeling a need to act out? Are these children living rejection in school? Do they have a hard time making friends? Do they feel understood? Are they having difficulties at home? It is precisely these children that need to view their school as a safe place. We can emphasize community-building activities within the school, and be sure to include the younger classes. By assuring that our children feel that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, we can avoid plenty of these unwanted behaviors.
Urge parents to become more involved.
Encourage parents to be a dynamic force in school as well as the community. Ultimately children are together in school for over a decade, and in this sense, so are the parents. The stronger built our community of parents, the safer our children and students will be.
Let us be more aware of what is going on in the lives of our students. We need to observe their social interactions and provide guidance where needed. It is up to parents and us educators to teach children what is expected of them and what behaviors are not tolerated. Together we can stop this terrible trend of violence and bullying.
Let us be part of the solution and ensure a safer future for our students,
If you enjoyed this post, please take a look at Why is school connectedness so important?
For help on emphasizing kindness, please read Kindness Everyday.
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