Four years ago, we couldn’t have predicted the end of schoolyard bullying with the end of schoolyards. We didn’t expect a 21st century American president to become the living example of shameless, careless, righteous, unstoppable bullying behaviors.
Nate Jackson, who this year was named OUSD’s Teacher of the Year, is now the District’s Physical Education specialist. In this 2016 interview with me (author Kristen Caven), we shared our thoughts and insights on bullying—what it is and isn’t, how it happens on the playground, how P.E. can help.
When I asked Nate what was different now, he said, “Things haven’t changed much when it comes to bullying. I feel like it’s the opposite, now; everyone has to be even more careful because student self esteem is so fragile. We as teachers have to make extra sure that they, and adults, are connected with at school.” He continues, “It’s hard to make friends and connect though zoom. It’s hard for kids to read the emotions of others, and express how they’re feeling on Zoom.”
Technology creates new problems. “While some students have the technologies and family support, as well as a quiet place to learn, others are finding themselves the head of household while their parents are working.” But even these problems seem small compared to the bigger issues. “There’s sooooo much more going on that puts education on the back burner. We’re trying to understanding what really matters… education or survival?”
I think what he’s saying is get out there and vote. Vote against bullies and short-term thinking. Vote for our national well-being.
Between 1972 and 2013, of the 18,048 children who killed themselves, on average 92 did so on 31 August, 131 on 1 September and 94 on 2 September.
The numbers were also high in early April when the first semester begins in the Japanese school calendar.
On seeing the statistic earlier this month, Maho Kawai, a librarian in Kamakura, tweeted: “The second semester is almost upon us. If you are thinking of killing yourself because you hate school so much, why not come to us? We have comics and light novels.
“No-one would tell you off if you spend all day here. Remember us as your refuge if you’re thinking of choosing death over school in September.”
It was a controversial move for the library, which is part of the city’s education committee, not to encourage children to stay in school. The director of the library Takashi Kikuchi told the BBC that there was even talk of deleting the tweet.
But it touched many hearts and within 24 hours, it was retweeted more than 60,000 times.
Please listen to this wonderful two-hour interview with Kristen Caven about bullying from a spiritual perspective. Paula Thompson, Andre Radatus, and Christilyn Biek-Larson, the hosts of Cosmic Citizen Radio provide space and time for a wide-ranging conversation about every angle of this social problem.
It is a two-hour interview, but if you would like to drop in and listen for a few minutes, here is a guide to the key moments:
5:30 Interview begins
6:45 Kristen explains why bullying is NOT a subject near and dear to her heart.
1:03 Kristen’s response…pecking orders… when bullying begins… how schools respond…what bullying isn’t…testing…
1:08:30 How Kristen was a bully, and what her teacher did.
1:09:30 Christilyn on Halt and Catch Fire “faggot” locker scene – how sexual difference is a “protected” area for bullies
1:13 Kristen compares culture of gay bullying before legal Gay Marriage struggle to Nazi and Slavery propaganda that made killing Jews, enslaving blacks culturally/economically correct. Bringing injustice to light eliminates systemic discrimination.
1:16 good school rules – respect, no labeling
1:18 Dennis Leary quote: “My kid hates one thing: naps.” How racism and hatred are perpetuated.
1:19:45 Chrystilin on how teaching kids how to be obedient teaches them to accept social bullying
1:20:30 Fight, Flight, or Freeze question
1:21: Nazi generation victims of terrible parenting in Weimar Republic – children as “poison containers” – this mindset happening now. How a child’s brain chooses whether to develop survival- or growth- oriented neurons. Feminine perspective is “tend and befriend.” Kids learn there are other options to conflict.
1:28:30 The power of upstanders! Great stories about people with Zorgos who say “knock it off.” (bully guards, mean stinks, pink shirt day)
1:34 How one parent turned her child bully’s life around
1:36 Caller: a schoolteacher who sees systemic bullying. Thoughts on anti-bullying policies.
1:42 How to look at school bullying programs & policies
1:46 (shout-out to Oakland), and the importance of parents in supporting schools