“Day to day” bullying whether hazing, exclusion from games and groups, name calling, jostling or other types of incident are not seen as “innocuous” by the victims and may sometimes turn out to be experimentation by the perpetrators.
Ask the parents of the bullied child who over a term turns from outgoing to introvert, ask the child who seems to collect just a few too many bruises whether these incidents are innocuous, and ask parents who have approached schools time and time again only to be told, “It’s just playground squabbles.”
There are ways to deal with low-level bullying which improve children’s tolerance and empathy, and which tell all children that bullying is never OK and that they must take responsibility for any antisocial behaviour they come across – an attitude that we hope carries forward into adult life.
However, zero tolerance takes time, real concern, empathy and method on behalf of teachers and management.
I worry that “tolerance” is a charter for lazy teachers. A Scottish Government spokeswoman is quoted in the report as saying: “All adults who work in schools have a responsibility to ensure the mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of the children in their care.”
One feels she meant to add; “Providing this doesn’t take up too much energy.”
Roger Meachem Amat