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Chris James

Why do they get it and we don't?

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For a very long time it has been shown that students in a school often mimic the adults around them. Strong teachers with the right attitude can do so much for an adolescent's self esteem. And as I say that we all know the opposite is true.

How can anyone believe that bullying of others goes on in a vacuum without adult supervision. Maybe some of it but not all. An observant teacher will see the body language between students, notice the torn clothing or marks of a fight. These things cannot be ignored.

Too often schools are asked to play the role of a parent and teach manners or appropriate behavior that should come from the caregiver in a child's home. I am all for giving combat pay to teachers who show their mettle, and all for firing teachers who don't give a damn.

But it seems time and again we don't learn our lessons well as the statistics for bullying and suicide continue to climb. We just don't seem to get it. The answers are there we just ignore them...unless you come from Sweden.

I read this article and decided we need to import some common sense from Sweden...they get it.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/10/20/sweden-teacher-fired-immediately-after-calling-a-student-fag/

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There are different types of bullying. Torn clothing, marks of a fight, and body language are indicators of only one type of bullying: physical. The example in the story was verbal bullying -- something much harder to see after the fact as there are no physical signs left lying around. Add in social bullying (in all it's myriad of forms) and believing teachers can spot these easily is wishful thinking. Physical bullying, yes. The other forms: much harder for someone else to spot.

As a concrete example, one of my sons was bullied at school for most of one year. He didn't realise what was happening was bullying -- it was subtle, not obvious. It was only when my wife and I finally realised what was going on and then got the school involved that it all came out. Everyone recognised it as bullying...after the event. This was after it had been going on for months. I certainly don't blame the school for not spotting it -- my wife and I took months to realise what was going on.

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