Written By: Morgan Austin
So, lately I’ve been thinking about how schools seem to always talk about how you can prevent bullying, but sometimes they don’t say what will happen if you report a bully. It seems that they just say “If you see someone being bullied, report it. Don’t be bystanders; report it. Don’t let the bully get to you; report it.” This is a good way to solve the problem, but sometimes they don’t tell you how the problem will be solved. This made me curious about how these situations were handled in my own school, so I decided to interview and ask one of my teachers, who has been a school dean for 10 years, to see if he could explain how the school handles bullying. Here are his responses:
Me: How often do you deal with bullying situations whether you handle them in your office or just in the hallway?
Teacher: We don’t see too much of things in the hallway. The majority of the stuff that we actually see is coming from social media and then generally what happens is we try to get those parties down here to make sure that that social media stuff doesn't carry on into the school. I think that we see those things maybe 8 to 10 times a year. It doesn't get reported as often as you might think.
Me: In cases where hurtful words were exchanged, how do you deal with those situations?
Teacher: That’s the number one thing that we see is verbal or written communication between people that is obviously very negative. If this has happened outside of school then we call both parties down to the dean’s office to warn them that these things are not allowed here in the building. We can’t take action for what you do outside of school, but our priority once we know that it is going on is to let them know that we are aware of it and to let them know that we will be looking out for it here. Another step that we always take then is to contact their teachers, especially if those students are in the same class, to get them to separate them and pay attention to things like communication, eye contact, and things like that just to make sure that there are no further issues.
Me: In more major cases where someone has been physically hurt, how are those situations handled?
Teacher: Those usually result in an out of school suspension. Any time when hands are laid upon a student, whether it is simple shoving or an outright fight or trying to hurt somebody, that will always result in an out of school suspension. Those legally can go up to 10 days. We can go more than 10 days. That’s just the law in the state.
Me: What do you typically do if bullying continues between students that you have already talked to?
Teacher: With the discipline system that we have here, everything escalates over time, so if something continues then the consequences that the bully is going to earn themselves is going to continue to increase over time. Another thing that we can do is we can change schedules, if necessary, to avoid those kids being with each other. We can give 2 minute passes where we let a student leave class a little bit early to avoid someone in the hallway. Having deans as teachers is also nice because we are in the halls, we are in the classrooms, so we know what is going on so we are more aware of those things. When you walk down a hallway and you see a dozen teachers or more, a lot of times that cuts down on things. Another thing that we do is every hour of the day we have the deans go in the bathrooms to cut down and monitor those things, so we try to be proactive enough to avoid the continuation of those circumstances.
This is one of our new self-help resources available to our Ambassador community. Here we will feature the thoughts, questions, and insight of the our fellow Ambassadors. You can even leave comments of encouragement or feedback to fellow Ambassadors that may be having a tough time.