Every school administrator can tell you stories of irate parents yelling over the phone or storming into the school office demanding action because “my child is being bullied!” Unfortunately, these aggressive demands often come before all the facts are in.
In The Bullyologist, I interviewed an Australian school principal (for over 30 years) who explained:
“You have to be extremely careful with knee-jerk reactions when bullying is reported in schools because appearances can be deceptive – you’re dealing with young people at all levels of maturity, empathy and social awareness. You need all sides of the story: objectivity is crucial. Parents often come into the situation in a highly emotive state with perhaps a skewed view of their child’s potential for less-than-optimal behaviour. They may not always have the full picture – only an edited version of events provided by their own child.
True bullying is targeted, intentional and repetitive. It’s unwanted and aggressive and is usually about a real or perceived power balance. Bullying is not disliking a classmate or being bossy with them; it’s not physically hurting them by accident; it’s not a one-time joke or an isolated argument.”
To effectively fight bullying, we must first understand what it is – and always get the full story.
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