A Vice Principal shares…
I am a Vice Principal at an urban high school. Recently I addressed a male student who cyber-bullied a female classmate through instant messaging with her while at home. He made several comments attacking her character and used vulgar language referring to her as “a slut.” The bullying continued the next day at school in a similar manner to what had been made by instant messaging.
I met with the student in my office and he took responsibility for the bullying. During the interview it became apparent to me that the student had fine qualities and values that conflicted with his behaviour towards the female student. I asked how his parents were going to react to his behaviour when I informed them.
This question led to a discussion about the values he was raised with and how they were going to be upset with him.
We spoke about his sister and how he would feel if he learned that there were male students treating her or his mother the same way he treated his female classmate. He became emotional. At that point I ended the conversation. I learned that upon returning to school, from a suspension, he apologized to the student.
A teacher assistant shares…
In August of 2007 I started a job in Marty, South Dakota as a teacher’s assistant for the high school. A few months in to the school year two of the middle school teachers had quit due to troubles they were having in the class room with the children. Being that the middle school had a lot of female teachers the superintendent wanted to put more male influence in to the middle school, so they asked if I would teach middle school math.
I took the job and when I got in the system I found that it was really failing the children’s education and their needs. My sister (who is the science teacher) and I started a mentorship program in which we could communicate with the children about anything they wanted to. This program was split in to groups of 5 and there only could be boys or girls in the group, the boys would be mentored by a male teacher and the girls by a female teacher.
When we had our first meeting with the groups it was very disturbing how they talked about their partners. They would tell of how they would hit and yell at them, when I asked them how they could do such things to the person they are suppose to love, the response was even more shocking than I expected. The students said that they would see their fathers abuse their mothers and make up later and thought that they were expressing love to each other. When I explained to them that it was unhealthy and how I would treat my partner they said that was only in movies they saw and they could never be like that. I knew from that point on that we would be spending the whole year learning about healthy relationships and applying the teaching to their own relationship.
The whole school year my sister and I would develop activities for the students to learn the qualities they would need to express love in a healthy way. By the end of the year we had a seen a mature change in the young men and their relationship. When we sat down to talk about the success the program had, the one huge aspect we presented to the school board was that the ability to just talk about healthy relationships with the students help them to see a healthier side.
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