Adult Bullying in Schools
Student bullying is well-recognized and no longer accepted as a rite of passage. Already schools across the country are demanding policies that address bullying among students. Yet policymakers fail to recognize that the context for student bullying and violence in the school environment is created and sustained by the adults.
Bullying is bad anywhere, but bullying in the presence of students is triply harmful. It makes involuntary witnesses of children, it models bullying for them, and it undermines teachers' moral authority to stop student violence.
Dr. Matt Spencer, Work Doctor consultant and veteran educator, discuses the consequences of bullying in schools in his essay Stealing From Children. Download here.
Education, sadly, is an especially bullying-prone industry. Employees who want to work in schools typically have a prosocial orientation and are rarely political in the workplace. Thus, when the rare person willing to exploit colleagues gets hired, she or he can wreak havoc.
From an employee survey of a medium-sized school district, 25% of employees reported being currently bullied. This is nearly 3 times the national average according to the 2010 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey.
Most of the bullying was teacher-on-teacher. This can create a fearful, de-stabilized workforce, where excessive use of sick leave and talent flight negatively affect students and their ability to learn.
It is essential that the governing board’s policies prohibit abusive, bullying conduct by students, as well as by staff, teachers, and administrators. When educational leaders tackle workplace bullying, students are free to learn, employee health improves, and administrators enjoy the retention of the best teachers and staff. Our Workplace Bullying in Schools Project is designed to address exactly this problem and help reinforce a supportive, healthy, and student-focused school environment.
Local Coverage of the Work Doctor
Note: The documentary "Bully" showed the deplorable behavior by assistant principal Kim Lockwood at the Sioux City Schools. We did not provide student anti-bullying training. The Work Doctor trained an ADULT team to specifically address ONLY bullying among adult teachers and staff in the Sioux City Schools. Unfortunately, Lockwood did not attend Work Doctor training.
A Sampling of Work Doctor's School Clients
- Sioux City (IA) School District
- Desert Sands (La Quinta, CA) School District
- California School Personnel Commissioners Association
- Farmington (NM) Schools
- Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals
- Idaho Association of School Administrators
- Inland Personnel Council, San Bernardino, CA
- La Mesa - Spring Valley School District, La Mesa, CA
- Lake Elsinore School District, Lake Elsinore, CA