Experts agree: Bullies are created. They are not born that way! And when schools help to create them, that is a very ugly situation! Experiencing a problem brings understanding. You would think that gentle, hard working students would be appreciated at a nice school. And often they are. Except when one of them is bullied by “chosen” student who the school has a vested interest in. Our school also suffers from an all-to-common prejudice affecting minority families. Families treated differently because of, in the cases depicted, racial and economic (class) influences. Some of the nicest families felt forced to leave the school permanently because of how they were treated.
All of these ugly situations grow exponentially when compounded with the school and district’s administrative special agendas, and the their obsession with appearing infallible. The need to appear perfect, ZERO BULLYING INCIDENTS, overpowers the desire to help students, regardless of class, race, and, of course, special needs. Every special needs students deserves a great education, but that requires special personnel and services to achieve it. Special legislation, IDEA, was designed to protect special needs students and students in general.
In our story, when one or more very demanding behaviorally challenged students, that perhaps other schools couldn’t handle, are accepted at our school, bigger-than-life promises are made with smaller-than-life resources, the resources at the school become strained, unnatural and stressful. Everyone becomes a victim: special needs students, other students, teachers, administrators and staff. Regardless of what actually happens at school, the school and district feel compelled to show how all is well and perfect, and without following IDEA-required protocols or assigning properly trained additional personnel in the classroom, they feel obligated to prove they never fail. If victims exist then bullying exists. Bullying is downplayed, denied, covered up. And victims, from poorer families, without clout who are thought to be the least likely to fight back, appear to be the tastiest targets to frame and turn into perpetrators. Hence the zeroes… Fighting back is time consuming, impacts physical, emotional and financial health and well being, and families without deep pockets often run away with their tails between their legs. Not to mention the retaliation, which the district “assures will never happen, that, in fact, does happen, even from the district itself when it begins to look as if you may incriminate not just the bully, but the school, principal, faculty and district. Bullies are victims themselves and deserve to be helped, but a diligent and concerted effort to maintain, protect, and fester a dysfunctional school and school district’s is inexcusable!