Kevin Jennings, the U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education and director of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, experienced such profound bullying in high-school that at the beginning of his sophomore year, he simply refused to go to school.
As is common in such stories, he’d tried to complain to the school counselor about what was happening, but the counselor repeatedly dismissed his experiences as “groundless.” His mother had no idea what was happening until that day he refused to go to school. When he spilled his story to her, she pushed the district until they let her son transfer to a new school, where no more bullying occurred.
In addition to his work for the Administration, Jennings also taught history to high-school students, where he was faculty advisor for the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance student club and founded the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.
According to Jennings, there is no quick fix to address bullying. Schools need long-term programs and education of not only faculty but also staff, as bullying often takes place where teachers are nowhere to be found. In an astonishing statistic, Jennings also says,
…schools need policies that make it clear that no form of bullying will be tolerated, and staff must be held responsible for taking action every time they see something. “In one survey we found that one in four students had heard a teacher use the word ‘faggot’ in school,” Jennings said. “We need to call them on that.”
Probably his most important piece of advice for any parent is this: ““If you don’t believe your kid will be safe, take your kid out of that school.”
This story, which appeared on the EdNewsColorado site, provides a list of the signs of bullying, something adults can use to monitor their child’s experiences in school. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, these signs include:
- Coming home with torn, damaged or missing pieces of clothing, books or other belongings.
- Unexplained cuts, bruises and scratches.
- Few, if any friends.
- Fear of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus or taking part in organized school activities.
- Long, “illogical” routes when walking to or from school.
- Loss of interest in school work, or a sudden drop in grades.
- Sadness, moodiness, tears or depression at home.
- Frequent complaints of headaches, stomach aches or other physical ailments.
- Loss of appetite.
- Anxiety and low self-esteem
Something to watch for. Don’t let your child live in silent victimhood. If you see these signs, start asking questions.