bullying, school climate, advocacy, mental health, intervention, guidance counsellor, problem-solving, classroom climate
Tara: How well has your daughter’s school dealt with bullying incidents? Did it happen to your daughters, to their friends, to classmates?
Nicole: It happened to both of them.
Tara: To both of them.
Nicole: Yah, and it’s um –the older one was a little afraid to talk about it ‘cause she didn’t want to make a big scene and stuff and decided to deal with it on her own, and sometimes the teachers wouldn’t take them seriously about it, like they would tell them, go deal with that, stop coming and telling me things.
Nicole: It was difficult for a while there. ‘Cause they’re both very vocal too. They’ll say, you know, “So-and-so has been bullying me” and the teacher would sometimes say, “Well stop, you know, coming to me with these problems, they’ll call you a tattle-tale”.
Mita: “You need to sort it out and figure it out” and um, yah, we ended up having to get involved, and say, “Okay, this is how you navigate this particular incident, that this is unacceptable. And she didn’t want to come to us, because she said, “Which one of you is going to go deal with this? I don’t want you guys dealing with this, I didn’t want you mad at me or this person, or you know—so I didn’t tell anybody, and she was dealing with some pretty heavy issues. There’s the bullying, there’s a friend of hers who’s started cutting because- who was being bullied and had issues of things going on at home, and she felt that if we got involved then her parents would get involved and it would just escalate and she didn’t want that. So she didn’t want to tell anybody for a bit and then, um, yah that one was a little challenging in making her deal with it and feel empowered that she can, but it’s okay to ask for help as well.
Tara: Ideally, what would her teacher have said, what could a principal have done to resolve the issue in a way that would have been satisfactory?
Mita: I would have liked to have seen an earlier intervention from the guidance counsellor.
Mita: Take them aside so it’s not interfering with school per se…
Mita: But to have a talk about, um, what’s going on and come up with creative problem solving and perhaps have that person who is bullying them in on the conversation. And say what’s going on with them that’s causing this behaviour. Behaviours don’t come up out of vacuums. So what is it about this kid that’s making them act out like that? Is there something going on at home for them? Are they having challenges? Are they being bullied? Or, or not feeling empowered somewhere, so how do we build them up? So that they don’t need to do this.
Nicole: I’d like to see the teachers, um, bring the whole class into it to find solutions on how to stop the bullying. To ask the kids and have the kids tell them how to deal with it.
Tara: So everybody learns.
Mita: And do that right at the beginning of every –every school year. Have the entire class in on it.