Bullying At School

With the recent shootings in Ohio, there is much to be said about the cause and motive behind it all. As the news unfolds and speculation grows behind why T.J. Lane would do something like this, it’s important for us to note the mentioning of bullying.

Bullying has been alluded to already as something that T.J. Lane may have dealt with at the school, which possibly lead him to shoot 5 and killing three of them. Having known a couple of students who have been victims of bullying (one of them being a 5th grade student in NC  who was threatened by a classmate with a weapon), it is important for us to look at this ever increasing form of harassment and violence in school.

According to Make Beats Not Beatdowns, the numbers are staggering:

– It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.

– American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.

– 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.

– 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.

– 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.

– 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

– 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.

– 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

– Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.

– 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying

– Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.

– Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.

– 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”

– 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.

– 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.

– 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.

– According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.

– Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.

With numbers like these we must take bullying seriously. How can we become better informed and aware of bullying? Here are a few helpful thoughts to consider.

1) If your kid is being bullied, odds are the teachers don’t know about it. Often bullying happens in the halls, playgrounds, cafeterias, or bathrooms where teachers are often in their own groups, uninvolved in the circles of the kids. Much of the bullying that happens in areas where there are no teachers or cameras to catch the actions.

If you are a teacher, please engage students as much as you can. Build relationships and show concern for the students outside of class. If you are a parent, build a trusting relationship with your child so if and when this happens, you can dialogue about it without fear and anxiety.

2) Teach your child preventative ways to handle the escalation of bullying. One of the most difficult times in life for anyone to navigate are the middle school and high school years. Teasing, sarcasm, and even benign joking can evolve into full-fleged bullying if unchecked.

Here are 5 “E” ‘s to help in teaching preventative measures:

The first thing to do is evaluate the type of bullying it is: verbal, physical, emotional, etc. so you can take the right steps yourself. Secondly, listen without any judgmental prejudices. Don’t take any side in the matter. Just use your ears and listen. Thirdly, enact a plan that is non-threatening but decisive. Help your child understand the proper protocol to take when they feel threatened and harassed. Encourage your child to not retaliate using violence or other forms of bullying themselves in handling these matters. Talk with your child about how to escape a situation that may be dangerous or life-threatening.















3) Be involved in the school system. The more you are involved in the school system and familiar with the school setting the more advice and help you can give to your child, teachers and faculty. Join the local PTA, PTO or other parent organization and get involved in bringing an end to bullying!

George Lockhart

For more information about bullying check out: http://www.stopbullying.gov/, or http://www.education.com/topic/school-bullying-teasing/


School Shooting: What we are missing

The Facebook account has now been deleted. But so have two teenage lives. With the click of a mouse and the click of a trigger, statuses of lives now read: deleted.

On December 30, T.J. Lane wrote on his Facebook what may be considered a prelude to yesterday’s tragic event, which is the worst violence with a gun in 11 months. TJ wrote:

“I am death. And you have always been the sod. So repulsive and so odd.”

“Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you, but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might…Die all of you.”

Somewhat lyrical but with certain intention, TJ posted this with no one even taking much notice. How can we be missing these things? Do we feel that powerless? Are we that numb? Are we really that apathetic?

Sure, I understand how messy getting involved can become…but more messy than what we are dealing with now after this tragedy? We are missing all the wrong things! 2 kids are dead. Another kid will be missed now in many other ways. Thousands of other kids had their lives dramatically and drastically changed yesterday. This goes way beyond a missing Facebook page…we are talking about missing real faces….missing real lives!

As a common rule, we should never dismiss or play off talk that includes harming or killing another. It is not unusual for people who are hurting to want to hurt others. It is not uncommon for people who have committed such crimes as TJ allegedly did yesterday, to give some kind of warning and prelude to the event. It is incumbent for us to pay attention to these things!There are all kinds of signals and warnings before these things happen, if we would just pay attention. We cannot afford to miss them. If we do, as in this case, we will be missing much, much more.

For more insight on how to handle something you find threatening or distressing, read this article:

How To Prevent School Shootings

George Lockhart

Lent Thoughts Day 7

Matthew 18:21-35

Peter comes to the Lord asking how much he should be willing to forgive his brother for a fault? Jesus astounds him and everyone with his answer that Peter should forgive him limitlessly.

How can Jesus be so free with forgiveness? Isn’t there a limit to the grace and goodness another person deserves?

Jesus tells the story of a slave who owed his master an incredible amount of money. The slave had no way to pay him back and with great sorrow begged his master for give him more time to repay the debt.

The master did better than that; he forgave the debt. He set him free from the worry, the bondage and the servitude.

The man went out and instead of being forgiving himself, found a fellow slave and began choking him, demanding the fellow slave to repay a small amount he owed.

That slave fell before the free man and begged for more time and yet the newly free man would have none of it. He had him thrown into prison for the debt.

The other slaves saw what happened and reported back to the master. The Master summoned the free man back and said: “you wicked slave! how could you do this after all that has been done for you? You should have shown mercy to your fellow slave since you received so much mercy yourself!” The Master handed him over to the jailers and had him tortured until he could repay the initial amount owed. This is how t will be for anyone who doesn’t forgive his brother from the depths of his heart.

Forgiveness is a heart issue. The condition of our hearts determine how much we are willing and able to forgive.

The extent to which we understand how much and how often we have been forgiven is the extent to which we will extend the same to others.

None of us “deserve” to be forgiven at all. Yet, God in his great love and mercy extends forgiveness to the best and worst of us. In return, God expects us to show the same mercy and forgiveness to all who have offended us.

Why does it seem the “little” things are so hard to let go of? The first man owed an incredible amount and yet could not let go of something so small in comparison. Don’t let the little things crop up and become something that steals your joy, causing you to not be willing to forgive another.

An unforgiving heart not only left the man who was set free with an ungrateful heart which led to anger and violence. People dealing with these kind of outbursts need to seek God and ask for grace and mercy and help in dealing with emotions.

God says he will not tolerate someone who does not willingly demonstrate forgiveness.

Forgiveness is something that you extend to others even before they ask for it or admit their wrong.

Forgiveness has little to do with the other person. The other person may not even know they have offended you.

Real forgiveness is allowing someone the freedom to fail and not live up to all you expect.

God, thank you for the forgiveness you have shown toward me. I know that I don’t deserve all I have and that you have given me much. You have allowed me to be free from debt in so many ways: sinful, emotional, physical, financial, etc. Thank you for the way you have provided so much for me. Help me to live in such a way that I demonstrate a forgiving attitude. May the forgiveness you have shown me, continue to shape the way I look at others and live among them.