Teachers Must Build Community to Prevent Bullying

Emma Beyer, Staff Writer

Do you know how many people are affected by bullying? According to stompoutbullying.org 1 and 5 kids get bullied and it affects their lives daily. Having a supportive and safe school climate where all students are accepted can make students feel a lot better. The teachers and students of Crofton High School should build community in classes so students feel more comfortable and are able to prevent bullying during elearning.

In 2017, 8-year-old  Gabriel Taye was in a treacherous school environment and got bullied by his classmates, but his parents were not aware. Gabriel was knocked out by students and was unconscious for 7 minutes without anyone helping him and 2 days later he committed suicide.

Their lawsuit says Gabriel wasn’t known as a “cool kid” to his peers, but he was “a good kid who wanted to be friends with people: he was smart, wanted to learn, earned good grades, avoided fights and arguments, and loved to dress up for school, including wearing neckties.” The lawsuit states that his grades had been going down in third grade, but that his parents knew of no reason to believe he was suicidal. The school should have noticed what their student was going through and told Gabriel’s parents because the parents had no idea that any of this was happening.

Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use,¬† suicide, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.¬† All of these issues may persist into adulthood and change how a person’s true personality is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bullying affects 20% of high school students and cyberbullying effects 16% of high school students. Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood.

Bullying is a learned behavior from the environment that a child is raised in. To counteract this behavior the bully would be able to change their behavior if they are given the tools with which to learn a new positive behavior. According to the National Association of School Psychologists bullying is a learned behavior. They are children who learned anti-social behavior at home, in school, or elsewhere in their social environment. Just because the Bully has learned how to behave in such a negative way does not mean that the bully can’t change. The bully can learn the right way to act by acquiring a mentor to teach them how to make positive choices.

To prevent bullying from happening teachers need to understand what bullying is and it is critical in forming bullying prevention strategies.

Bullying prevention strategies that teachers could use is recognizing that bullying impacts your students, teach students how to be upstanders, and have your students build good relationships with their classmates. To have students build relationships with classmates teachers need to build a community with the class.

Teachers can play get to know you games like virtual escape rooms, 2 truths and 1 lie, community circles, break out groups with a discussion question, etc. If you build a community in class, fewer people will get bullied because they will feel comfortable and connected with their classmates.

Teachers need to communicate with parents or administrators if they are suspicious or see any form of bullying so students aren’t affected the way Gabriel Taye was affected. No parent should have to lose a son from bad teacher communication and to a bully.