Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Bully At School Just May Be A Parent!

As an infant through eighth grade school, and one that holds grace and courtesy and kindness central to being a part of our learning community, we take time to discuss with students how childhood friendships evolve, strengthen, experience upsets, and need mending; this is a normal aspect of childhood and rarely involves true bullying. A 'bully', as it is defined in dictionaries, is a “blustering, browbeating person [who is] habitually cruel to others,” who “badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.” 

In our Upper School, we teach our students that all parties in a relationship have to take responsibility for their role and even among the triangulated relationships of true bullies, victims, and bystanders. We prepare them to take charge of themselves should they find they are in any of these three roles in their life.

But this blog, and the article I'm passing on, isn't about childhood friendships or bullies. It's actually about parents who bully their schools. Unfortunately, we occasionally find ourselves in the uncomfortable situation of trying to work with such a parent. In today's educational environment, where anxiety and competitiveness are rampant, it may be no surprise.

NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) states that "the absolute level of concern is not the same everywhere, and in many schools, administrators hasten to say that ‘most of our parents are fine.’ We believe them. But every school we visit — every single one — reports more frequent and more severe problems with parents."

And so, I share NAIS's article, published by none other than our Common Ground speaker scheduled for April, Michael Thompson, along with Robert Evans, whom many of our teachers heard speak last year at the New Jersey Montessori Association Corporation annual gathering.