Bullying: Share the Blame

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NOTE: This doesn’t go for all that work in the education system. There are many kick-ass teachers and administrators that do a great job and I appreciate them. 

Students today face so many challenges in school.

They must deal with decades old textbooks (if they have them at all), disgruntled teachers (some not all), peer pressure and the everyday ordeal of being a kid in 2018.

Now the biggest challenge they face is being bullied. Sometimes it’s whether to join in with the rest of the crowd or risk being the one getting the negative attention.

We’ve all seen what happens when it gets to be too much for these students. It’s become so the norm that children today practice active shooter drills like they would a fire or a tornado drill.

But what if someone had stepped up to the plate before then? Like a responsible adult should.

How is it that school systems can set aside time to train teachers to be human shields in an active shooter situation but can’t find the time to teach them skills to look for the signs of students being bullied, bullying on the playground or unhealthy peer interactions?

So, what do you say to the child that has been kicked and stomped in the locker room after those who did it don’t receive any real consequences?

What do you say to the kid being cyberbullied online and it continues into the classroom?

What do you say to the kid that is being talked about by other classmates, who tells the teacher and is told to “Just go play. Don’t worry about it” or “I’m not dealing with that today,”?

Eventually it boils over and that kid decides to strike first instead of being struck. Then what? Who do you really blame in this situation?  Punishing that child doesn’t help. It just shows that you as an administrator don’t care about their wellbeing but instead their actions.

Dare I compare it to punishing the victim of a crime for putting themselves in that situation.

I’m sure, as an administrator or teacher, if it were your child you’d feel a different way.

Perhaps alternatives can be reached.

Surely if you can come up with a plan for two unarmed teachers to rush a gunman, getting two elementary children to agree to disagree can’t be as hard, right?

I mean that was the purpose of going to school for how many ever years, right?

Let’s try something.

Imagine if that teacher helped students understand each other, their beliefs and viewpoints instead of dismissing them.

Imagine if that administrator stopped giving out suspensions and looked at the root of what caused the incidents that led to said suspensions or disciplinary actions.

Imagine if our academic leaders focused just as much on making holistically healthy, productive children instead of making the grade on standardized testing and keeping federal funding.

Or perhaps others should just replace those that can’t bring about results.

Just Imagine.

I’m Just Saying.

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Chronicles of a Single Mom #17 – My Child the Teacher

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Anyone who’s had the opportunity of parenthood in some way or another will tell you that it’s a learning experience.
Unlike schools and universities, however, there’s no manual and the life-long experiment that you signed up for doesn’t always go as planned. As a matter fact, 99 percent of the time it ends up the polar opposite than what you expected.
Fortunately, there are moments where little Crayola and Play-Doh covered nuggets are dropped in your path and they’re not as painful as stepping on a Lego at 1 a.m. in the morning.
I had one of those moments Saturday.
After coming back home from doing some work-related things, I’m surprised with the following scene. Picture it: There’s a beach towel in my hallway complete with an open umbrella, two twinning baby dolls and a beach bag. Throw in a 9-year-old girl with a sunhat, shades, scarf, sandals and a sundress.
Yep.
So here’s the story: Apparently she was sick of the weather created by Hurricane Matthew so she decided to go to the beach. (I didn’t’ ask which one.) Instead of dealing with the all-day rain, flash flood warnings and brief power outage she decided she’d create the situation she wanted to be in.
After giving it some thought, the lesson she was teaching hit me. Who knows if it was meant for me specifically but here’s what I took from it.
We, as adults, are often placed in situations that we don’t necessarily want to be in but how often do we actually try to change our outlook? Do we wallow in our displeasure and unhappiness or do we take what we’re given and go to the beach? I don’t mean that we have to go on a physical trip but do we set up our metaphoric Tiki Bar and enjoy things in spite of whatever’s going on?
I’m guilty of letting some circumstances overpower my positive mindset but I’m deciding to not let that happen again. I won’t be spreading any towels out in the hallway but I’ll try and imagine a brighter outcome for anything that comes my way.
Who knew that the person I was tasked with teaching about life would turn right around and do the same thing for me?
Scary, right?
I do agree with her on one thing.
There’s nothing like a sunny getaway in the midst of a storm.
Especially when it promises fruity drinks and a beautiful view.
I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #9- Failing Fathers

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Recently I saw the following on social media:
CS Inside 1
Let’s have a serious conversation about this. Child support is not a broke woman’s hustle. It’s a smart woman’s hustle. And I use the word hustle loosely because in most cases it’s a necessity.
If you can go half on this baby, then you can go half on the financial responsibility of having one. Let’s be clear, a child is a little human being that needs all of the same things you do as a man.
Full disclaimer here: I’m a single parent whose child’s father is under a child support order. Due to said order, and for whatever other reasons he claims, he doesn’t see his daughter. She has seen him a total of three times in her life and she’s 9 years old. If he walked past her in the street, she wouldn’t recognize him. As she’s gotten older, she’s stopped acknowledging his absence. She doesn’t ask about seeing him, doesn’t call him on Father’s Day and has flat-out asked that she be found a new daddy. I don’t speak ill of him and haven’t brainwashed her. She’s formed her own conclusions from the lack of attention he gives her. While a check is received every month, he doesn’t call or see her. There are no birthday calls/cards, he doesn’t show up at recitals and she gets no Christmas. He’s stayed away for so long that she, herself, has counted him out.
With that being said choosing not to deal with your child because the mother files for child support is stupid and needs to stop.
I’m sure you’ve all heard this tired line before:
“If you put me on child support I’m not going to deal with my kid” or “If you put me on child support that’s all you going to get from me.”
Let me guess. It’s probably something you heard from your homeboys who’s not even taking care of their own kids.
As a mother, it is my duty to provide to the best of my ability for my child. So when it comes down to getting a certain amount a month, dental and medical insurance versus you giving me money or items when you feel like it, I’m putting you on child support. I have no problem letting “the man” talk for me when it comes to making sure my child has a roof over her head, clothes on her back and food in the refrigerator.
It is your duty as a father to provide what that child needs emotionally, mentally and physically. If the physical part puts you in your feelings then it’s probably best you stay in your own lane and not mess up what some dedicated, hardworking mother is doing. No she doesn’t want to do it on her own but nobody wants to clean up or deal with confusion, drama or mess because you don’t understand how to take care of your responsibilities. The pros far outweigh the cons of you and your feelings, however hurt they may be.
Speaking of feelings, let me help some fellas out of theirs. There is no reason why someone else should ever mandate you to take care of something you created. No one tells you when to buy jewels, put gas in or wash your car and go to the club. The things that you voluntarily take care of are precious to you, an automatic priority. Your children should be at the top of that list.
For those who say their baby mama is tripping or don’t know how to act right or is withholding their child from them: Child Support is your friend. I get that there are some sorry mothers out there who do things like that. However, this is where child support benefits you. As soon as she files that order, in most cases, it leaves you with joint custody unless otherwise specified. Meaning she can’t not let you see your child if you’re paying child support. It’s illegal and a violation of the agreement. So those papers make sure you can visit your child if you want to.
We have to stop allowing this to be the norm. It’s not okay for you to not take care of your kids. Period. Mothers, you need to let your sons know that sending a check and not being there for their child/children is not okay. It’s right up there with not sending a check and not taking care of their child/children. Women who deal with these men, you should encourage them to deal with their child/children. Why would you want the love of a man that can’t even love his flesh and blood? To the homeboys, you are your brother’s keeper. If you can influence him to do everything else, then you should influence him to take care of his kids.
In a nut shell, step up. Not because you’re faced with jail time or tired of arguing about a few dollars. Do it because it’s what you should do.
Do it because you care.
Do it for your kids.
And to those single mothers with a child support order, keep being smart.
I’m Just Saying.