We've come a long way in the United States in our collective effort to shut down bullying once and for all. There have been countless celeb-packed campaigns, such as "It Gets Better," and some schools have instituted a zero tolerance for bullying rule. But one school in Nebraska clearly didn't get the memo. Zeman Elementary School fifth-graders were recently sent home with what the school deemed a "Rules for Handling Bullies" flyer, and all I can say is: Prepare to be enraged.
This pamphlet literally paints the bullies as the victims and advises the real victims not to tell on them. You need to see this to believe this:
I'm not sure what's more outrageous: Rule #4: Do not verbally defend yourself; rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get "hooked" by put downs; or rule #7: Do not tell on bullies (?!?!). Clearly, this flyer was written by bullies!
My child isn't quite yet of school-age, but I tried to put myself in the position of the parents whose kids brought home this garbage (who are rightfully aghast). Unfortunately, there isn't a rule book for how to handle terribly-written, poorly-advisable flyers on how to deal with bullies. But it does bring up an interesting point: We, as parents, need to make a point of telling our children that if something feels "wrong" to them, it probably is, and they should bring it up. And we shouldn't just wait until something as asinine as this happens.
Our children, first and foremost, need to know that we're on their side, and just because a person of authority told them to do something -- a teacher, a police officer -- doesn't mean it's right. Of course, we don't want to raise kids who are subversive just for the sake of being so, but we want kids who aren't afraid to ask questions, speak up, and most importantly, come to us when they think something isn't right.
I'm assuming that the parents of the children who received this flyer informed their kids of the proper way to handle bullies: Do tell on them; don't be afraid to stick up for yourself or speak your mind; and don't stifle your emotions (i.e., it's okay to feel and act mad when you are). And if you're unsure about what to say, basically, whatever this flyer told kids to do, tell them to do the opposite. And then give them (and yourself) a pat on the back for recognizing that this advice was wrong.
What would you tell your kids if they brought home this flyer?
Images via EddyS/Flickr/Lincoln Public Schools