Humans are a social species. We have an inherent need to feel connected to others and to feel like we belong with others (Popalzau, Waqar, & Khalil, 2018). The first sign of bullying I see exemplified is social isolation. Emily would not let Tasha sit with her or Keisha at lunch, which gives Emily the control of the social environment. Being socially isolated, at school, negatively affects the mental health, physical health, and academic outcomes of students. The health effects of social isolation include poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and actions, increased risk of substance abuse, higher risk of poor physical health and increased mortality (Wikipedia). In order to prevent social isolation, I would investigate the issue first and then address the bullying issue demonstrated by Emily. Luke 6:37 says, Judge not, and you will not be judged. Emily and Keisha are isolating Tasha because they do not think she deserves to be their friend or in their social group. They should not pass judgement against Tasha since they do not know her completely. I would have a class meeting about bullying and get the students perspective on the matter. I would talk to Tasha about her feelings and her concerns. I want Tasha to feel safe when she is at school and that I will not tolerate bullying. Let her know that I am available to talk whenever she would like. I would introduce Tasha to other students that are not in the same social group as Emily or Keisha as well as seeing if Tasha would like to join any extracurricular school clubs. Some changes that I would hope to see is that Tasha sit with friends that are genuine nice to her. I would have a meeting with Emily, Keisha, Tasha and Mr. Goss to discuss what is happening. I would like to see Emily and Keisha be more accepting of other students and less hostile toward them. All the students need to help and comfort each other.
The second form of bullying that I seen is when during a class group activity, Keisha writes out a hurtful poem about Tashas clothes that her group gets amusement from. Keisha also makes a comment about the stains under Tashas arms and laughs about it. Verbal bullying involves the use of words to hurt or humiliate another person which includes teasing, name?calling, insulting, put?downs, and making threats or rude comments (Burden, 2010). Verbal bullying is thought of as less threatening than physical bullying, but the impacts can be just as destructive. People are inclined to make others feel how they themselves feel inside, whether it’s fantastic or terrible. Solutions against bullying in the classroom should be taught throughout the school year. I would construct rules for the classroom and how the students should treat each other. Relational aggression is another type of social manipulation where teens try to hurt their friends or damage their social standing. Adolescent girls often perpetrate aggression by gossiping and spreading rumors about others, attempting to ruin relationships and manipulating and excluding others (Centifanti, Fanti, Thomson, Demetriou, & Anastassiou-Hadjicharalambous, 2015). I would make sure my classroom has very specific rules about how the students treat others. Rules need to enforce respect, responsibility, and safety (Scheuermann and Hall, 2008). Ignoring the bully is difficult, but if you can shrug off insults and give no reaction, the bully will lose interest and move on. Teachers can teach about positive social behaviors and can also provide opportunities for learning tolerance and cooperation (Burden, 2010). Teachers should not be the only ones trying to prevent bullying in schools. States and school districts are developing safe school laws and policies that promote changing the behaviors of bullies and include procedures for reporting and investigating incidents (Burden, 2010).
The final type of bullying that I noticed was when Emily tripped Tasha, causing her to fall on her face and drop her phone and water bottle. Tasha was late getting on the bus because she forgot her water bottle in the gym. Physical bullying is action oriented and includes hitting, shoving, kicking, pushing, spitting, or taking or damaging a person’s property (Burden, 2010). When Emily tripped Tasha, she is bullying her to the point of physical harm. It is my responsibility as a teacher to intervene and get both side of the confrontation. Knowing that Tasha is the victim of bullying, I would support her in the meeting. I would tell Emily and Keisha that I am aware of their behavior and report it to the school administrator, the counselor, and their parents. I would make it very clear that any form of bullying will not be tolerated and there will be consequences.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Parents, teachers, and students are all expected to strive for these qualities daily. Jesus was slapped, across the face, by the guard of the High Priest. He did not turn his face instead Jesus responded, “If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” (John 18:19-23). Jesus secured himself by His words, faced the guard, and demanded an answer for his unjust treatment. We, as humans, should love and be kind to one another. We should show kindness and goodness towards others no matter the background or issues. We should display self-control when it comes to judging others and find peace within ourselves. The Bible encourages us to love our neighbor no matter what is done to us. Love decides to put aside ones own inclinations, desires, and needs to put the other person first (Philippians 2:1-3). Instead of judging people by their past, stand by them and help them build their future. Teachers shouldnt judge students by their pasts or mistakes but help them to grow into better versions of themselves.