October is Bullying Prevention Month. We know our audiences are acutely aware of the damage schoolyard bullies do to other children. This year, we want to focus on the wave of adults who are coercing school boards, districts and schools into bullying teachers and students into silence about their full selves, whether they are Black, Brown, LGBTQ+ or of other marginalized identities.That is the goal of our new project, American Bully: How Children Are Learning From Adults’ Bad Example.
To kick off American Bully, Ed Post influencer Adrienne Quinn Martin gave a nod to the schoolyard bullies of childhood, and showed how they have morphed into mobs of adults not just exercising their rights to free speech, but threatening teachers, librarians and principals who support their students’ intellectual freedom and their rights to bring their full selves to the classroom every day.
“In 2022, classroom bullying also looks like this,” she said, showing a montage of almost exclusively white families protesting critical race theory, shouting at school board members, and more. People inside schools do their share of bullying, too.
Adult Bully Behavior 101
Quinn Martin gave you all the red flags you need to spot an adult bully:
“When adults show up en masse to yell, scream, and threaten our teachers, librarians, and school staffs.”
“When they legislate the removal of our real history and try to erase the history of racism in our country.”
“When they want to defund the classrooms where the vast majority of our children go to learn.”
That means they’re bullies.
Share Quinn Martin’s video with your networks, especially any educators, district leaders, or elected officials you know. Make sure they are aware you care how they treat children.
Where educators are themselves under attack from adult bullies, ask what they need from adults who oppose this kind of behavior. How can parents and other adults provide strong role modeling to counteract kids’ exposure to adult bullies?
Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of October as Ed Post explores these topics with you, so we can determine solutions together.
Rob Samuelson is a Staff Writer at Education Post and Digital Media Manager for the brightbeam network.