School bullying question

172 posts in this topic

Where I went to school, if a kid was bullied and somebody complained, it completely depended on the teacher. A girl from my block who is a year older than I am was severely bullied to the point of being chased and beaten by a group of boys in her class. She became a fast runner but anyway, I do not know if she or her parents ever complained to the school or if the school tried to do anything about it. She said it started when she was 7 because a teacher she had then thought her to be stupid and wouldn't exactly be hiding that from the other kids.

 

In my class, there were a couple of cases of bullying. One time a boy who was popular didn't like some other boy in the class and got everybody against him, resulting in him being beaten up by half the class at some point with the other half of the class standing by idle. The teacher we had then was a substitute and when he heard about it, he made such a speach over the class how we should be ashamed of ourselves and how would we feel if somebody did that to us resulting in the whole class going to the boys house after school to apologize. A year later a girl was being teased by a few kids, I wouldn't say she was bullied though but maybe she felt like she was. The teacher we had then said that her mother phoned and said that she gets migraines because she is teased so much and because of that we should leave her alone but it didn't really have the same effect, we thought it kind of a lame excuse.

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The two kitas my children have been in. Are you saying that the "upward of 10 kitas per week" you have worked in all allowed bullying and verbal harassment?

I hate the "can you read" statements, but, seriously, can you read? Did I say they all did? You don't need my help with this one.

 

A fair number of them did and that was alarming enough.

 

 

Scathing indictment of the kitas that employed you...

 

not really sure what your point is here, like I enjoy working for assholes or something? Anyway, I wasn't employed by any of the kitas, was contracted through a third party who in turn was on contract with the kitas.

 

 

Dessa, you are so much younger than I that you might almost be my child and what you are describing never, never took place in any school I was in.

I think that is really, really cool. I'm glad you had a different experience. :)

 

 

When I was bullied, it was never brought to the teachers. And when bullying was brought to higher-ups, the response was appropriate. I went to public schools and what youn describe sounds like a Catholic novel from the 40's. I'm sorry that behaviour impacted you, but I never saw it and nor did my brothers or our friends.

 

oh.

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I can't speak for German state schools but I can say unequivocably that teaching children social skills and respect for others is absolutely and without doubt a part of the curriculum in the country in which I trained, and remains a part of the curriculum in every school in which I have taught. To say that teachers don't care about children's behaviour is really unfair and ignorant, IMHO.

 

The experiences people had as kids themselves are not necessarily reflective of what goes on today. I asked the question of what people think schools should be doing about bullying because I've never seen a surefire solution in action. I say this as someone who was a) bullied extensively and B) is a teacher, so I've experienced bullying from both sides of the fence.

 

I don't have a solution and I wondered if anyone else did, or whether it would always be this undefined "something" that teachers/schools should be doing but are seen to be willfully refusing to do?

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I'm only telling what I saw in kitas in Germany. If you think that makes me ignorant, you're welcome to your own opinion.

 

One time in particular, I had been complaining to the Erzieherinnen for ages about this one kid. I went to the Kita Leiterin, she did nothing. I went to my own agency, asked them to take this one bully out of the class. They did nothing. I only saw him once a week so wasn't really in a position to discipline him. He bullied anything smaller than him, the rest of the kids ate out of his hand. Even at six years old, this kid was vicious--spitting in other kids' faces, humiliating them (didn't even realize little kids were capable of that), hitting, scratching, kicking, cheating, whatever. Sticking him in a corner for the duration of my class did no good; he knew that nothing I did could really affect him so did whatever he wanted. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why no one would help me with this. I went back to my agency and demanded he be taken out of class. They are supposed to be pedagogues, but you know what they told me? His mother is influential at the kita, so the Erzieherinnen won't kick him out. They say he likes rockets and dinosaurs, try to incorporate that into classtime and see if he won't be a bit more well-behaved.

 

One day class is going on as usual and we're doing a running game. Maurice's favorite victim was a pretty and shy little Russian boy called Nikita, he'd been terrorizing Nikita for weeks. But today, he decided to stick out his foot and trip Nikita, who fell at full-speed onto his face. I went over to help him, and as I lifted him up was doused with his blood, which was pouring from his face at an alarming rate. We were in a portable in the backyard of the kita, which had street access, so I couldn't leave the children there alone, so I went to the door and shouted at the back of the kita. A couple of Erzieherinnen looked at me, bored, and continued smoking and chatting. I shouted, "Can one of you come here? I need your help!" They just stood there. Thinking they hadn't heard me, I shouted again. Finally I screamed, "NIKITA IS BLEEDING. A CHILD IS BLEEDING, COME NOW!!!" Finally someone came and cleaned Nikita up. She asked who had done what, when she learned it was Maurice, she shrugged. He stayed in my class until the end of the school year, when I refused to work at that place again.

 

That is the worst example I have, but nowhere near the only one. Over and over and over again, I have seen bored and underpaid Erzieherinnen who watch children call other children names, who are aware of bullying, but are tired of the "whining" and tend to favor the stronger children who don't make them have to do any extra work. And/or who don't want to have strife with the parents. This I can understand to an extent, because no parent believes their kid is a violent little shit who terrorizes other children, not even if you're standing there telling them what their child has done. I remember one lady in particular was so mad I literally thought she was going to hit me. Her kid had been pushing, shoving and tripping other kids for months and had caught up with me after class, after I had complained to the kita. She had a violent temper and hissed at me that her Phillipos was a kind, gentle and quiet boy and who the hell did I think I was to tell her about her kid?

 

You might think I'm giving examples of schools somewhere in the ghetto, when I am indeed talking about quite posh Kitas in fancy parts of town. This sort of thing didn't happen at all of them, naturally, but I'm not so convinced that was due to superior pedagogic methods rather than by sheer chance.

 

To be sure, there are tons of dedicated and principled Erzieher and Erzieherinnen in this town and I have worked with some fantastic pedagogues, but you can't tell me that I haven't seen the things I have seen and heard the things I have heard, I know you want to go to bat for educators or whatever, but to call me "ignorant" because I gave another point of view is just silly; I'm not making this up as I go along.

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I'm not certain who you are responding to and I don't see anyone calling you "ignorant". But perhaps that's because, as you said, I can't read.

 

In isolated ways, I think all of us have seen some of the behaviours that you are mentioning. I have talked about some that affected my own kids. But when I (or other parents I know) went to bat for our kids, the situations were taken care of.

What I (and perhaps others) am saying, is that I don't see a policy of allowing children to bully or be bullied in the German kita or school system. What you are describing is horrible and what you are saying is that it's systemic.

If my child were sleeting blood at kita and I didn't have a good understanding of why, if I were not called immediately, my child would be gone. And the Jugendamt and all the board would get an earful. But there are lots of kitas around. Some are organized by parent groups and I guess some are cliquish (more than others). The law that protects children from physical abuse still exists in those places too.

Now, I am off to my child's kita to get her, where her Erzieherins actually punish children for calling each other names and where she learned to correct me when I call other drivers dumb, because that's a word you aren't allowed to use (even if they deserve it).

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To say that teachers don't care about children's behaviour is really unfair and ignorant, IMHO.

 

 

 

I'm only telling what I saw in kitas in Germany. If you think that makes me ignorant, you're welcome to your own opinion.

 

 

 

I'm not certain who you are responding to and I don't see anyone calling you "ignorant". But perhaps that's because, as you said, I can't read.

 

True dat!

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Is the bullying just verbal and from this one child and not in tandem with a group? Boys are often very immature at that age, and weirdly may bully someone that they actually want to be friends with, they are just not socially adept at figuring out how one gets attention. Have you considered inviting the child over for a playdate? When my brother was in second grade, there was another boy who constantly picked on him and a few others in the class. The teachers solution as the children were still young... was to arrange for them to spend time together outside of school. It actually worked.

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my gf's niece is going through her training as a Kindergarden Erseherin - she says pretty much the same as dessa - a lot of the time they do nothing.

 

Which is why I advised the OP to look into way of gaining leverage to get something done. Our daughter is with a day mother, she runs a small kita type thing with her mother. 10 kinds in all, works well as they have 2 rooms and it runs very much like a kindergarten.

 

There have been a few kids however that she has been glad to see the back of. this I cannot understand in a time in North Dresden where you are lucky to get any place for your kid.

 

Yet not once did she say to the parents - there is a problem that needs top be sorted here or you will have to find them somewhere else to be.

 

I remember sitting with my kid putting on her jacket when one of the boys pushes one of the boys to the ground and starts knee dropping on him. I sat there for about 2 seconds completely lost for words. I then asked the kid of a loud voice what he was doing - he stopped.

 

It is not an easy situation, make the day mother liable and they will just lie if it is serious enough. Is it fair to saddle the parents of a kid with medical bills for injuries they caused - no, however what else could be done?

 

I would feel hard done by to suddenly be told I am liable for a medical bill having never been told my kids was hitting other kids.

 

However I do not think it is unreasonable to expect that the people we trust with our kids, and who we are paying, take an interest and act as needed in regards to their safety.

 

Our day mother asked if we would all be ok, as an experiment, to have web cameras installed so we could all see our kids how they are when we are not there. As far as I know, no parents objected but it never happened.

 

The reason was that the day mother was scared it could cause bad feeling between the parents - a sure enough way, in my view, to say that a few kids are doing things that could cause the parents to argue.

 

Part of the service you pay for is the safety of your kid. If they are being bullied then you are not getting what you paid for. As I said to the OP, loo at how you can pressure the school into action.

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How do people here generally feel about "Spare the rod, spoil the child"?

 

While I prefer the raising of children in accordance with fiction a few millenia old, I prefer Deuteronomy style.

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Naturally I am not calling Dessa ignorant specifically - I don't know her. What I'm saying is ignorant are statements like

 

 

My point is, teachers don't want to know anything about it, even when they're told. They just want to get on with life.

 

...

 

I think a huge number of teachers are either trained to, or are conditioned to just not giving a shit. A problem they can't see ceases to exist.

I know alot of teachers, being one, and all the ones I know certainly do give a shit, but like most people they are sometimes powerless to change how one person behaves towards another, generally. You can teach the majority of children to understand and value respect and do what you can to punish a child when they refuse to, but you can't change what they're learning at home and you sometimes some kids don't respond to what you are trying to do in class and what the school ethos tries to achieve in a larger sense.

 

What do you do then? Chuck them out? Where do they go after that? If removing a bully from the school system is the preferred response to bullying then there's going to be a really big problem pretty soon of figuring out where all these bullies should go.

 

I don't think for a second you are making anything up, and it seems like you've seen some shitty practices, all I can tell you is it isn't standard and I can only speak for my own training and that of the teachers I've worked with, but bullying is an issue that is taken very seriously.

 

When I asked the question "what do you think should be done" I wasn't being sarcastic- I really want to know! I don't really think excluding children (especially as young as we are discussing) is the preferable course unless we're talking violence, because it just defers the problem to someone/somewhere else, but is that the "something" people want schools or teachers to do?

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Aaryan, I think chucking kids out would convince parents that there is actually a problem. The thing is, a lot of the time, the only person who can do anything about a kid's behavior is the parent--if even then. But parents don't believe their kids are acting up; they think they're misunderstood, whatever. So let's say the parent continues to think this way, that their kid is being "misunderstood", but by the third kita or school and they have to drive halfway across town to drop off their kid, they might start demanding that the child stay out of trouble, whatever it takes. After a while, the constant being kicked out of schools will make the parent's life hard and that in turn, hopefully, will have an impact on how the child is disciplined at home.

 

I think, in the case of public schools in my hometown 20 years ago (since I can't speak about public schools in my hometown in 2011, being neither enrolled in nor employed by one) it had to do more with apathy, but when I saw it in kitas in 2009, it did seem like the parents came first. And holy hell, when you see how much a kita gets per child, you can see why they want to keep their customers happy. But letting kids get away with bloody murder is a bit far.

 

I am glad that cd6dba's friend's niece has seen the same as myself, I don't feel quite so alone now.

 

edit: and great post by j.anne.

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Camera in schools. If parents dispute what thy are being told they can watch it on TV.

Lots of poeple say 'wait a sec, that sounds like BB' - well, if a little bit of modern technology can make a positive difference to bullied kids lives I say good on it.

 

One person even said they thought it was against the rights of the children. In my view children have several rights..

 

1). To be kids.

2). To be allowed to grow up in a safe environment.

3). To be protected from threats against them (a bit like 2 but slightly different).

 

At no point do kids have the same rights as an adult. Given that this topic hits so many people, let's face it, your kid being bullied and there being nothing you can do about it hits home at a base parental level.

 

Your kid sees that their parents can not help. You see that, in fact, you are unable to full fill one of the most basic things a parents is there for - to protect their kids.

 

As such you have to find a way within the system to solve the issue.

 

I was bullied at school, not singled out but the general bullying perpetrated by a few kids. my cousin kicked the crap out of one bull, the others I had to wait to get back. I moved school a year before the school closed and prepared the way for them.

 

I basically told the in crowd of bullies at the new school that the new kids coming were saying they were going to take over and run the place. It took 3 months before any of them would come out at break time. As a kid this was when I realised that the system was shit and instead of protecting me as a child, it locked me in with these idiots. In way, we were like low security prisoners locked up with the nut-cases (felt like that at the time).

 

As I said, it may be part of human condition, so is having headaches, dieing form what is now curable diseases - we don't let that happen, why should we let kids get bullied?

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@The-ex-pat: I really feel for you.

 

Bullying and exclusion is a FUCKING BIG problem in Germany, starting form the infant school, going through to work.

 

My eldest son was bullied for 9 months in a respectable, zero-tolerance-on-bullying Gymnasium. I noticed my son (he was 11-12 at the time) was unnaturally moody, abrupt and violent. The school never even told us until we found out ourselves! We were made to feel it was our fault. I think this is a typical German way of dealing with it: "listen to me, shut up 'coz I am the expert." It is no wonder mostly German kids go to Gymnasium since they play this system, and foreign kids go to Real or Haptschule; an unfortunate apartheid.

 

Tolerance is more the norm in UK schools, in my humble experience: Germans (correct me anyone if I am wrong!) are not used to having foreigners in their own country ("Multi-Kulti is dead"), especially if they are cleverer, or richer, or higher up in the company. It is a very spiteful, underhand behaviour they resort to, from what I have seen.

 

In my company "GlobeCo," most of the foreigners are leaving, going back home or outside of Germany, since exclusion, bickering, being made fun of, shouted at, insulted are really soul-destroying.

 

No-one should put up with this, whether at school or on the workplace.

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Nice post, j.anne, sounds like you are a great teacher.

 

 

If removing a bully from the school system is the preferred response to bullying then there's going to be a really big problem pretty soon of figuring out where all these bullies should go.

 

Military academy? Sort of a finishing school for bullies.

 

I mean, smart kids go to gifted school, so why not? ;)

 

[admincopyright][/admincopyright]

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Actually, in (our) kitas here, Kuh is a word that gets punished. Also Bloede (I actually thought it was bloody first time I heard it). And it's not allowed to call people dumb either.

My parents would have taken me out of such a Kita immediately.

 

 

I think that hitting children is illegal in Germany.

 

Hitting anyone is illegal in the sense that it may be persecuted as battery. Was always the case.

 

With regard to your children it's considered a danger to the wellbeing of the child or rather a violation of the rights of the child (§1631 BGB), and may therefore be used as reasoning for measures such as removing custody from one or both parents or custody holders permanently (§1666 BGB). Was introduced in 2002.

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Kato, you did see that was followed by- it is illegal to hit people and children are people too? You know that is not true in the UK or parts of the US, which is why I phrased it that way? But it is interesting to see the actual cites, thanks.

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We have tried that one. Unfortunately the bully is a good head above my son. I have told him he is going to get hurt no matter what happens, so give him a good swing. It is not in his nature to be nasty to anyone. I will be having another "chat" with the school this afternoon. Not very optimistic...

 

Matt

 

Did you ask him to target just below the stomach area?

That should work. Technically.

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gail:

 

From a technical side battery is an Antragsdelikt. No indictment by the victim equals no crime. And even if you are charged and sentenced (99%: fined), there's no repercussion regarding the child stemming from it.

 

The violation of the rights of the child can be a far more serious item as regards punishment. Possible options for a court are e.g. banning the hitting parent from the family home, contact bans, partial custody removal (decision power over the child), full custody removal (i.e. also move the child out of the house), assigning Jugendamt case workers with similar powers etc. The palate is - intentionally - similar to interdiction options for spousal abuse, with the custody thing added. Btw, bullying or anyone else hitting the kid is not covered as a "violation of the right of the child", it's just about domestic abuse.

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In my opinion there is no one solution to bullying - and what solves one case may make another much worse. There are many kinds of bullies: the ones that are actually cowards (these are the ones where it may work to confront them back), there are kids that get physically abused at home (I believe those are probably not going to back off for being hit back, and may increase the violence in response) etc.

 

I still think the best way in most cases to act is to provide a safe environment to the would-be victim(s). One issue with this is that keeping the victims safe should not in itself be punishment, because they certainly did nothing wrong - so just letting the bully go to full on recess with all the fun stuff (I don't know, swings?) and the victims must stay inside is not the kind of thing to do.

 

Honestly it is very much case-by-case so all information provided may be relevant. It is certainly unfortunate when the school is not willing to help out when there has been repeated incidence.

 

Ivo.

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