Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cameras in the Classroom?

We read an editorial on Nov. 16th by Kim Knepper titled, “A Plan To Save Children” and we want to applaud her big heart and efforts to do something about the #1 killer of children under 14 – suicide.

We need more people across the country brainstorming, like Kim Knepper, for solutions to bullying. Bullying is the largest cause of suicide and we need to get rid of this pandemic in our society. Now.

Kim said, “I would like to end the loss of lives of students because of physical bullying in the schools” and continues, “How can we help put cameras in the classroom so the staff can go and pull up any questionable activities and then the bullied will not have to snitch and fear retaliation from the one doing the bullying because it is on camera and if further actions are required, i.e. prosecution, it will be there on camera?”

Dear Kim,

We feel cameras in the classroom are not the right solution for three reasons:

-Privacy: The privacy of the students, parents, teachers, administrators, and privacy from the public are valid. For example, if a student is a bully-victim (has also been bullied, possibly at home), and let’s say, in third grade, she consistently pushes her victim. That video could harm everyone involved forever. It could be humiliating to the bully-child who doesn’t have the social skills training from home or is replicating abusive behavior done to her and she doesn’t stand a chance to change. The vulnerable victim who doesn’t have self-worth will continue to feel as if she is a person of no worth by adults, peers and the community. The public is very judgmental about the behavior of others and easily offended.

Both the bully and the victim lose because change isn’t possible when someone is already judged by everyone around them. Adults, including the teacher may also be wrongly judged and the parents. It’s very complex.
-Protection: family dynamics, peer culture and school factors have to be safe-guarded. Negative  environments may lead bullies to have negative self–worth and expectations, and may therefore attack before they are attacked—bullying others gives them a sense of power and importance. If you spotlight them with a camera, the bully may react even more because we know negative attention is better than no attention for bullies. Meanwhile, victims stay vulnerable from constant evaluation and proof they aren’t worth anything on camera. 
-Perception: observations and opinions are going to widely vary depending on who sees the tape, how much is seen, when is it shown, why is it shown. Hidden agendas always pervert insight and truth).  It happens in the media all the time.
We feel the best solution is prevention. Being a victim is not a choice, but choosing to not stay a victim is a choice. So, even if someone is in the midst of being bullied, with guidance, they may choose to start moving away from being a victim and grieving their losses, and start learning how to identify themselves with our 5 C’s—Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity and strong Carriage— so they will be a good leader for themselves and eventually others.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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