Teachers Affecting Bullying in the U.S. Schools

Bullying is a topic well debated about in the United States, but, most of the time, it is not explained by a teacher’s perspective. Teachers are responsible for the welfare of the students, as well as the parents, by law in the United States. Students look up to teachers to help them with any problems that they have, but now, U.S. citizens are thinking otherwise. Teachers have not done enough to help stop bullying from occurring in the first place, however, there are obstacles that are preventing teachers from doing so.

The role of the teacher is to educate students the information that they do not know, but now administrators are trying to get teachers to help in preventing bullying. “53% of teachers and administrators,” say that bullying is a major problem in today’s schools, according to a study conducted in 2013 (Bradshaw, Catherine et al “Social Bullying: Correlates, Consequences, and Prevention”). While they think that bullying is a major problem, they do not do much to try and stop bullying. With all the “bullying interaction that occurs once every 7 minutes” (Morrison, Brenda, Marachi), 25% of “teachers do not see anything wrong with bullying and do not intervene 4% of the time.”(“11 Facts About Bullying”). While teachers and administrators intervene with bullying, there are some problems with talking to the students. Only 30% of male students and 40% of female students will elaborate with a teacher about their problems with bullying by the age of 14 (“11 Facts About Bullying.”). Administrators are told to tell students to encourage informing others about bullying. Teachers are informed to tell students that telling is not tattling. Telling is trying to get someone out of a dispute. Tattling is trying to get someone into a dispute (Morrison & Marachi). Teachers are being informed on how to stop bullying from occurring, but they, also, have another side on the subject: The social side.

Bullying has a big effect on, not only students’ social life but also the teachers’ social life as well. Most teachers have a difficult time communicating with the students, and it must do with the teachers’ ability to figure out where the bullying comes from. While teachers are advised to stop bullying, “in 57% of episodes, peer intervention stops bullying within 10 seconds, regardless of strategy” (“How Parents, Teachers, and Kids Can Take Action to Prevent Bullying.”) While teachers are trying to help students in ending bullying, students would talk to a friend about their bullying problems than a teacher. In a study made in 2012, 82% of female students, and 69% of male students would rather talk to their friends about their problems related to bullying. Compared to 19% of male students, and 9% of female students, who seek teachers for help, it is not a coincidence that teachers are on the downgrade for reaching out to students (Zweig, Dank, Lachman, Yahner).  Most teachers do not ask the student what is wrong with them personally, and when they do, they do not let themselves to be appreciated by the students. While teachers are improving their ability to reacting to bullying faster, they do not fully acknowledge their school’s policies on bullying, and how to intervene. While most teachers know about “their school bullying policies”, less than 50% have received official training on the policies’ guidelines (Bradshaw, Catherine et al “Social Bullying”). In most policies, teachers are encouraged to cooperate with the victim’s parents to help and try to stop the bullying from happening again, and they are, also, encouraged to provide a safe learning environment (“How Parents, Teachers, and Kids). Teachers cannot help students, who are affected by bullying if they are not properly trained on how they can help students with ending the bullying and how they can intervene with the bullies and stop the bullying before it emerges as a bigger threat, like depression or suicide. While teachers are trying to communicate with students on how to try and prevent bullying from happening, they are stopped by one of the biggest obstacles: the ethical perspective.

Teachers want to help parents and administrators to stop bullying, but if they want to prevent bullying, teachers need to remove their beliefs from the picture. According to a study conducted in 2010, 24% of teachers think that how much children weigh is a big problem, while 21% of teachers think that remarks against sex are a big problem in American schools. 19% of teachers think the students’ sexual identity and remarks against students’ ethnicity is a big problem in American schools. 12% of teachers think that disability is a big problem. 6% of teachers believe that remarks against students’ religious status are a big problem (Bradshaw, Catherine et al “Findings from the National Education Association’s Nationwide Study of Bullying: Teachers’ and Education Support Professionals’ Perspectives”).

With these different views, it would make it hard to focus on bullying. Also, while teachers are trying to stop bullying from occurring, teachers are limited to what they are to do and how many students are in the classroom. In a discussion over the web on August 29, 2016, a teacher named Heather said, “Your focus is not necessarily on the other children involved. But, mine must be. There are some things that I cannot say or do for you because I must also protect the other students in my classroom. I cannot tell you anything private about other students… But I am doing every single thing I can do to serve and protect your son or daughter… I will work equally hard to support this student and to provide the interventions needed to help your child manage his or her feelings and needs differently…” (“Bullying: A Teacher’s Perspective.”) What she means by that, while it is her purpose to help out children who are dealing with bullying, she cannot do everything at once, she must focus on the other children of her classroom. Teachers are not capable of keeping up with all of the students’ problems within the 90 minutes. Teachers have done a lot to try and help children with their problems related to bullying, and they are appreciated for their work on helping students find their place in society.

Teachers are needed for more than just teaching kids, they are needed to show kids what is right and what is wrong. While teachers are trying their hardest to try and end bullying before it starts, they are not having much success. Teachers are not reaching out to students and asking if they are all right.  They are not showing themselves as an authoritative figure. Teachers are not helping students with their bullying problems and trying to end bullying once and for all.

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