kiklion wrote:Bullying was incredibly minor at my school due to a small school size and a varied student population. (Well we were almost all white, but varied interests and wealth.)
Are you sure this was the case? Part of the problem with bullying is our inability to correctly measure it--we often assume that because we aren't bullied (and it appeared none of our friends are bullied)--and because no one complains about bullying--that there isn't a problem. But a lot of people who are bullied quickly learn that attention leads to an increase in bullying, not a decrease--so they do everything in their power to not
draw attention to themselves. Including not
reporting bullying when it happens.
This basically means you're trying to measure a phenomenon where all involved parties (bullies and
the victims) have an incentive to not report the phenomenon. Accurately measuring the scope of the problem is complex, and requires a lot of work.EDIT:
kiklion wrote:There is no real way to punish a kid if they don't choose to follow your beliefs.
Also, I disagree with this sentiment--there are
ways to punish kids (and adults) who disagree with your beliefs. You just increase the cost of the behavior until the cost is higher than the reward for the behavior. I mean, there are people who put a lot of value on a certain type of behavior--and there are people who don't care about the cost in the short-term ("I'm gonna do X, and worry about the consequences of X when they happen rather than now"), but part of education is teaching children not
to think like that--demonstrating to them that long-term cost analysis is something they should be interested in. And one way we can do that is by giving them examples: Like showing them what the cost of continued bullying will be, and why that cost is relevant to them.
If we encounter children who remain bullies regardless of our attempts to change their behavior, well--that's something we'll have to deal with, obviously. I don't think these children are in the majority, though. I suspect bullying represents a lack of adequate education (in respects to emotional maturity and critical thinking skills--two areas that are woefully
underrepresented in our schools), and while there are some bullies we can't 'teach' out of their behavior, there are probably many more we can.
Making children into better people--more reasonable, more critical, more emotionally stable human beings--that's what schools are (or should be
) all about. To me, bullying represents a sign of inadequate instruction and leadership.