The NEA (National Education Association) published this article showing how union contracts can protect employees from bullying. Most interesting is the section on Massachusetts and the fact that Workplace Violence laws currently in place arguably offer protection from bullying:
Shortly after the shooting began in Newtown, Connecticut many Facebook advocates suspected bullying as a root cause. But, it was clear that the media had learned an ethical lesson from erroneously making that link too quickly after Columbine. In fact, Education Week has found that for some time the Newtown School District did everything right to prevent bullying. Later, in response to false reports that Adam Lanza’s mother was a teacher at the elementary school, advocates were intuitively convinced that Lanza was exacting revenge for his mother against an egregious bully boss. By now we all know that Nancy Lanza had no relationship with the school.
Dr. Peter Ash, a forensic psychiatrist told CNN: ”Killers tend to blame others, not themselves, for their problems. Mass killers tend to target people whom they imagine would torment them, or whom they blame for their distress.” Bullying has long been considered a risk factor for workplace shootings but it is not necessarily causal. Joe Scarborough, a conservative advocate of gun rights, spoke for many republicans who were deeply conflicted by the school massacre: ”It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas… For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change.” But, not everyone is willing to put rhetoric aside. Yesterday the Workplace Bullying Institute highlighted the massacred teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School as martyrs and denounced the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and the incendiary profit-driven Michelle Rhee. None are school teachers. They pontificate from a fly-over altitude…” The WBI article ends with a call to supporters: “To honor these martyrs, the next time the teacher haters rev up in 2013 with proposed legislation, join us in calling them exactly what they are.
Here’s an interesting New York Times OP ED by documentary filmmaker Alex Kotlowitz:
THE Chicago teachers’ strike, which appears to be winding down, may be seminal, but for reasons that are not necessarily apparent. It came as a surprise. In July, the city had agreed to hire more teachers to accommodate a longer school day. Last Sunday, the city agreed to a substantial pay raise. The following day, teachers walked off their jobs for the first time since 1987. The union’s president, Karen Lewis, complained at a news conference about the lack of air-conditioning in schools and the new teacher evaluation system, which seemed rather flimsy reasons for some 26,000 teachers to abandon their
Yesterday’s New York Times article, The Bullying Culture of Medical School, should shake up everyone involved in the struggle to curb bullying. 13 years ago UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine incorporated policies and prevention techniques to curb bullying. Surveys in the 90s showed that 85% of third year medical students believed they were being mistreated. UCLA’s effort to stop and prevent bullying was broad and encompassing.
It Takes A Nation
It’s become common for bullying stories to catch fire and ripple through the national mainstream media – unless it happens in tough neighborhoods. Two days ago I came home from work to news reports about a local school bullying incident that blew up into a riot of 50 to 55 teens demanding that their target come out of the house.