The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Teachers’ view on Bullying

By Marlee Bell and Gabby Lorino.

Bullying happens around us, whether we see it or not.  In the school setting, the people with the most power to stop bullying are teachers. But what do they do about bullying?

SMNW teachers don’t agree on the most effective methods of dealing with bullies, but they do share a no-tolerance attitude toward it.

“As teachers, our brains are moving in so many directions at once: ‘did I put the right information on the board?  Are the children behaving the way they should? Did I remember to do that lesson plan?  Oh my gosh, I forgot to grade that paper!  There’s a parent I need to call.’ So it’s hard to keep track of,” SEEK teacher Catherine Morrison said.  “But,  I don’t think any teacher finds bullying acceptable.”

Bullying can take the form of  physical or verbal abuse or both.

“I see kids hit each other, I see kids call each other names,” Morrison said. “I believe bullying has an ongoing piece to it; in other words, it’s not just a one-time deal.”

Among school-aged children, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated,  according to

“It becomes bullying when every day, or on a frequent basis, somebody does something to someone else to make them uncomfortable,” Morrison said.  “I don’t think I’ve seen any bullying in my classroom because I do not tolerate it. I don’t know of any place there isn’t bullying, it’s just to what extent.”

“There is bullying at Northwest.”  Algebra teacher Jessica Barger said.  “The sad thing is,  there is nothing we as teachers we can do, because bullying starts at home.”  The only way to stop bullying is to not tolerate it.

The administration does not think bullying is a problem in the district.

The school’s student resource officers disagree. On average, they see “probably one a week.  The majority of being girls,”  according to Officer Mark Coenen.

Bullying does not have to be seen directly for you to take a stand against it.  A lot of bullying cases now happen online, or through the phone.

“Cyberbullying is the number one because rarely do we get anything where somebody’s going up to someone’s face and bullying them” Coenen said. “It happens more on the computer, text messages, Twitter, stuff like that.  Probably 85-90 percent of our bullying is computer-related.”

Cyber bullying is verbal abuse to one person through the computer, or phone, and it is ongoing, not just a one time deal.

One solution to cyber bullying could be, “Parents need to be more involved,” Officer Coenen said.  “We see a lot of in stuff that goes on on Facebook or Twitter because the parents aren’t monitoring their kids’ websites.  They could maybe try to help us control that.  We really need to rely on parents to be more involved in monitoring the text messages and Facebooks and Twitter.”

How do you report a cyber bullying case?

“It’s always good to have a printout of the Facebook or the Twitter or the text messages saved on the phone because without those we could go to the other person and they could deny it, so its always nice to lay it right out and say, ‘Look, this is on your Facebook right here and this is what you said.’  We need proof of bullying.”

If you are being bullied, here is what Coenen suggests.

“Make sure to come in right away. A lot of people don’t want to come in to us because it escalates the problem.  Even if it’s not us, go to a counselor, a teacher, etc.”

Students who are being bullied, whether it’s to their faces or through the computer or on the phone, need to report it to school administrators, counselors or the SROs.

“If somebody has gotten the nerve up to say, ‘I need your help,’ then it is my obligation to help.” Morrison said.

“I know that if the person bullied comes to me for help, they deserve my help.  I walk around on a regular basis looking at all the students in this school thinking how awesome you guys are; I think it’s just a fabulous group of kids.”

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Teachers’ view on Bullying