Just Say No Way | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Just Say No Way

 
 

 

 

iStock 000016633997XSmall 150x150 Just Say No WayI know you’re going to call me naive. I know you’re going to say that simple solutions to complex problems can do more harm than good. I’m even reminded of a mental health professional who remarked that the ‘Just Say No” campaign to battle teenage substance abuse was like trying to battle the problem of homelessness by giving everyone a button saying “Just Buy A Home”. This would certainly hold true when speaking of dealing with bullies. But I’m going to throw it out there anyhow.


So much has been written about bullying in schools. I fully understand that the issue is a deep and complex one that has been addressed by those far more experienced and qualified than I. However, I do know that in at least some instances the problem is the result of the approach we, as school administrators, take.


In a past blog post, I wrote of a general rule I use regarding student learning. It read: Students will rise or fall to the level of communicated expectations. While the rule targeted learning and knowledge goals, it is just as effective regarding student behavior. Slightly adapted it would read: You get the behaviors you accept. Let me illustrate with a true story.


While principal of a school in Los Angeles, I instituted a policy which instructed parents who were inviting girls from the class to a birthday party, to make sure to invite all the girls in the class, to ensure that no one felt left out. (This directive applied once more that two girls were invited.) A few weeks after transferring to our school, a student’s parents received a phone call from me requesting their presence in my office by the end of the day, as their daughter was in danger of being expelled. Within the hour, they rushed to see what their child could have possibly done to warrant such a severe punitive action. I met with them immediately and asked them if they knew of our birthday policy, which had been clearly stated in our student guide. They answered in the affirmative. I then told them that I had heard that their daughter had only invited a small group of girls to a private party and asked them why they had ignored our rule. They looked at me like I was crazy. “For this you dragged us out of work and threatened to expel our daughter?” When I answered in the affirmative, they stormed out of my office. That night I received an email from the parents. I was expecting to hear a tirade about my deficient principal skills (gee, tell me something I don’t know) and informing me of the pending lawsuit alleging mental anguish. I was pleasantly surprised to read the following, “Thank you for your concern. Now we know we picked the right school for our daughter.”


Sure, what I did was extreme, but it clearly communicated my expectations. I was simply not going to accept having a child left out. One of our first steps when joining the battle against bullyingis to ensure that we communicate to our entire school community that in our school we will not accept it! Cyber bullies, classroom bullies, playground bullies, birthday invitation bullies, are not welcome in our school. Just say, no way. We effectively communicate when we ‘walk the talk’, if not, they know it’s just another campaign that will go away when people stop complaining.

Share and Enjoy:
  • twitter Just Say No Way
  • linkedin Just Say No Way
  • facebook Just Say No Way
  • googlebookmark Just Say No Way
 
 

4 Comments

  1. Colleen says:

    Love it, Thanks for sharing!

  2. Cheri says:

    AWESOME Story! Thank you!

  3. Jo says:

    I firmly believe that when parents fully accept responsibility for their child’s behavior, inappropriate behavior, including bullying, will decline and schools can focus on educating rather than policing.

    • Karmi Gross says:

      As you wrote, the home cannot divest itself of its primary role in setting and policing behavior standards. When the home and school combine to send a clear and consistent message to children problematic behavior disappears. Thanks for your comment.

Post a Comment


 

Educators Calendar Events

Featured Posts

Creativity in the Classroom: Bring the Arts Back!

Creativity in the Classroom: Bring the Arts Back!

Most teachers and parents instinctively know that children need various modes of expression to fully develop into thriving, well-rounded adults with good self-esteem...

 
Better Ways to Use Classroom Space

Better Ways to Use Classroom Space

Most of us do not have control over which classroom we are assigned. However, we can all find ways to make the best use of the space we have. As discussed in my...

 
Flipping-Out On the Flipped Classroom

Flipping-Out On the Flipped Classroom

With this technologically savvy generation wanting to capture everything on their iPhone (“Honey, I have a great clip of the baby coming out to post on youtube...

 
With Technology in the Classroom,  The Teacher is No Longer Center Stage – Part II

With Technology in the Classroom, The Teacher is No Longer Center Stage – Part II

Last week we explored some of the positive aspects of technology in the classroom. When used correctly, technology encourages students to be active learners, inspire...

 
With Technology in the Classroom, the Teacher is No Longer Center Stage

With Technology in the Classroom, the Teacher is No Longer Center Stage

Most people believe that technology use in the classroom is a must to assure that our students have the skills and creative fortitude to function in this fast paced,...

 
Mixed Gender Behaviors in the Classroom

Mixed Gender Behaviors in the Classroom

Following two blogs I posted which generally showed that studies have found that gearing education towards gender differences leads to more successful learning,...

 
Compassionate Schools

Compassionate Schools

After my child had struggled through several mainstream schools, I decided to look into an alternative place known for its open-ended policies as well as its educational...

 
Are Extracurricular Activities Really Extra?

Are Extracurricular Activities Really Extra?

Growing up, I was one of those kids who belonged to a variety of groups. I was a cheerleader, vice-president of my class, thespian, honors student, Sunday school...

 
Is Social Media in the Classroom a Necessity or Distraction?

Is Social Media in the Classroom a Necessity or Distraction?

I recently had a telling experience while sitting at a friend’s dinner table. The mother asked her son how his class was today. He answered, “It got deleted”....

 
Video: The Myths of Chartering

Video: The Myths of Chartering

Guest Post by Ember Reichgott Junge   What a fun interview with Bob Bowdon of Choice Media TV, in New York City! We talked chartering and education issues from...