Bullying Prevention

The Parent Trap is on Netflix, so I watched it with Sally a few days ago. I enjoy showing her movies I remember watching as a kid myself. As we came to the part where Annie and Haley vandalize each other’s cabins at camp in an escalating cycle of retribution, Sally rendered her judgement.

“That’s bullying,” she said.

“Where did you learn about bullying?” I asked her.

“At my school,” she said. “Bullying is not nice.”

I’d been told that schools were being more proactive about dealing with bullying these days, but it’s nice to already see a confirmation. I’m glad that Sally will be attending public school (starting this fall) at a time when bulling is taken more seriously before, and I am confident that her public elementary school will continue to build on the lessons she’s received from her preschool teachers.

As a homeschooled child, I spent many hours in teacher’s aide stores, and it is that experience that draws me back to them today, which children of my own. Science books, various supplies, educational games—teacher’s aide stores are the best. Last month I was at our local teacher’s aid store—again—when I noticed a teacher’s manual for a bullying-prevention curriculum.  Curious, I pulled it out and flipped through the pages. I took pictures of a couple pages to show a friend, and I’ll reproduce them here:

I’m incredibly thankful to see these issues being addressed today. The sort of bullying that got a pass twenty or thirty years ago won’t always get the same pass today. There is increased understanding of mental health issues, teen suicide, and the dangers of bullying. In an increasing number of schools, children are no longer told to simply “toughen up.” I’m glad that Sally likely won’t have to worry about the level of bullying she might have faced in the past, but I’m also glad that Sally will be learning empathy not only at home but also in school.

When I watched The Parent Trap as a child, I knew that what those girls were doing to each other was mean, but mostly I just thought it was funny. It was a series of pranks, put together for laughs. Today, it is interesting to see a child of the next generation watch the same movie but with a different response. I find it hopeful.

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