24 April 2012

Preschool Bullying

Why should any four-year-old have to worry about bullying, you might be asking?

Well, they shouldn't.

And thus, I bring you reason #3,457 why we have chosen to homeschool: bullying has become an epidemic problem in public schools.  Even preschools.

Syd attends a biweekly playgroup at the local public school through Early Childhood Family Education, and during the Monday class, all of us moms (and the occasional dad) get together with one of the school's educators for a short parent class.  Yesterday's topic, as you may have sussed out by now, was bullying.

Some of the parents attending this class have children that are no older than two.  When you need to start preparing yourself to guide your child through the world of bullies and being bullied when they aren't even old enough to use the potty independently, there is a serious problem.

Of course, bullying in public schools is a serious problem.  I graduated from high school eleven years ago, and bullying then was horrific.  I have epilepsy, and in high school people used to pass by me in the hall and pretend they were having seizures while screaming taunts.  Hearing calls of "Slut!" or "Fatass!" (whether or not you were either) was so commonplace we eventually learned to tune them out, though I can only imagine the layers of psychological scar tissue atop my subconscious from all that.  I practically needed pepper spray to ride the bus, given that physical violence was a serious issue.

Bad as I had it, bullying has only gotten worse since then.  It has evolved into a fine art, bolstered by social media like twitter and Facebook, where one can gather the masses and devote entire groups to making a single person's life a living hell, and smartphones, with which you can torment someone twenty-four hours a day.

We now live in a world where children still young enough to enjoy a day at the playground are committing suicide to escape their public school tormenters.

So, um, thanks.  But no thanks.  I wouldn't willingly subject my child to the more run-of-the-mill bullying I went through, much less put her through the torture children have to endure today.

One thing I hear fairly often is that my daughter needs to learn to deal with people like this. 

Bullshit, I say.

As an adult in the workplace, if someone physically assaults you, they'll go to jail.  If they spend hours stalking you online, they'll lose their job (and possibly go to jail as well).  If someone snaps pictures of you in the bathroom and uploads them to Facebook, once again they're going to end up in the clink.  None of the things we see school kids reguarly doing to each other are acceptable anywhere else in society.

So until our country figures out some way to keep our children from bullying each other to death, we'll happily continue homeschooling.  My child might not be quite as socially adept as yours, but at least she won't bear the scars of her socialization decades later.

Image: David Castillo Dominici
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