Several weeks ago, a headline caught my attention. Apparently, a kindergarten teacher was fired after she allegedly had students in her class line up and hit another classmate. Her reasoning? The student she instructed them to hit was a bully.
According to a news report, the teacher has since been fired and charged with a misdemeanor. Assuming the reports are true, this incident is perhaps the worst example of an anti-bullying campaign I have ever seen.
Everyone agrees that we want our schools and teachers to emphasize that bullying is wrong. We also want schools to address bullying issues as they occur and to create a culture that doesn't tolerate bullying.
But teaching kids that one act of violence deserves another, is not a message we should send children. Not only will kids be confused, but it also perpetuates the violence among children.
Perhaps this teacher could have instructed the children on how to handle bullying when it occurred. She also could have empowered the bystanders in the situation. And she could have talked with the bully and given him some tips on how to change his bullying behavior. Clearly, having the entire class hit the offending child is not the answer.
But there is an interesting question in all of this. What is a teacher's responsibility when it comes to bullying in her classroom? Check out my ideas on how teachers can prevent bullying in their classrooms.