THE PERSONAL STRATEGIST

Let your voice be your own, not the echo of other’s.

Bullying

The Setting

It’s mid-day on a warm spring day in 2011 at a pre-school in New Zealand with a roll of 26 kids, ages ranging from 2 to 6 years. The common area of the classroom is set up for the children to eat lunch.

The story: the teacher’s point of view.

“On this day we had one newly enrolled student called Daniel join the pre-school. It is now lunchtime and the children assemble with their packed lunches and sit at the designated tables.

There is hardly any noise except for the sound of lunch boxes and packages opening. All seems well and our new boy is standing by one of the classroom pillars eating his lunch. I then see George, a moderately built 4-year-old boy get up from his seat and go over to our new entrant. George shakes his closed fist in the face of Daniel; it’s a threatening gesture although no physical contact is made.

We have had challenges with George and his threatening behavior to other children. I call him a ‘bully’. I approach George and Daniel with exasperation; I ask our new entrant Daniel, “What do you dislike about George’s behavior?”  The protocol I follow is one where we give the power back to the victim. Daniel stares at me and says nothing.

I repeat the question to Daniel, giving George a stern look. Daniel says nothing.

This is typical of George’s behavior and I sent him back to his lunch with a reprimand that his behavior is not acceptable. We have a zero tolerance for bullying at our pre-school and we encourage empowerment of those who are bullied.”

This is the story told to me when I asked the pre-school teacher to give me an example of an event, which she has labelled as a ‘bullying incident’.
 

This is the pre-school teacher’s view and one version, but what actually happened is another story.
 

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