Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E: Ethical Behaviour - Bullying

Ethics is a very difficult word to define adequately. In general it's related to issues about morality including concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice. (Wikipedia)

Endemic bullying is NOT ethical, and places which tolerate it could violating the need to provide a safe working environment and may be in breach of their Occupational Health and Safety obligations.

It has been estimated that up to 1/3 of secondary school students have experienced bullying. This often results in increased absenteeism, fear, the inability to learn and generally poor academic results. A teacher may notice grades dropping off unexpectedly and the child may become withdrawn and unwilling to participate.

When any person, child OR adult is in a bullying environment, they will be unable to perform to the best of their ability; their whole being is focused on survival from the torment. They may be fearful of violence, and equally afraid to defend themselves. The flight or fight response is on high alert waiting to kick in as needed and they will be exhausted from maintaining this hyper-vigilance.

The bully is most often a serial offender, it is rarely a one off experience for either them or their targets. The violence or abuse they mete out may not be overtly physical (although this can happen) but may be the sly punches, kicks or pinches as the target tries to walk past in a crowded corridor.

A child may be afraid of the boot.
An adult may be afraid of being booted out of
 the workplace if they complain
The bully in a child's life can unfortunately also be an adult, and some teachers have been known to get pleasure from the power they have over children. Rather than use of the strap which is now outlawed (in Australia at least) they may nit pic, use derogatory comments (particularly if the child has a learning difficulty or is different), keep the child in after class, mark work down or criticise constantly. This IS bullying and will not toughen the child up or encourage them to learn their spelling or times tables.

See yesterday's image of the brain, and read the layman's description of how the brain responds under constant stress and criticism.

Whether at school or work any of the above behaviours are unethical.

Here tomorrow: Friends

There are many outstanding resources on line. A couple I find useful are Bullying. No way! an Australian resource for teachers and students, and a UK site Bully On Line. This is in no way an exhaustive list, and each country will no doubt have equally good or more relevant websites. If you're being bullied please seek advice from a professional health care practitioner experienced in this area.

Over at jumpingaground I'm spending the month Drabbling using alliteration, mostly with a climate related theme.



L'Aussie said...

Hello Sue. I came by yesterday via Grandpa's blog, left a comment and it dropped out. I came back today for another go.

Reading about you we have a lot in common. Re bullying, sure I'm a high school teacher cum English Tutor, but we have a bullying society right from those abusers in Parliament who put each other down constantly. I have to smile cynically when they talk about bullying in schools when they set such a bad example. And bullying is still rife in the workplace.

Hmm, now I"ve had my say, it's great to meet another Aussie in the blogosphere. I'm using my travel blog for this challenge but I have 5 other blogs, my main one being my L'Aussie Writing blog. I'd love if you visited sometime.


L'Aussies Travel Blog A - Z Challenge D is for Darfur, E is for ...

Matt Conlon said...

I'd written a post once about a teacher who graded a student -20% "for being a loser". That's what he wrote on her paper.

God help the teacher who sends my kid home with a grade like that.

Matt Conlon dot com
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