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Bullying By Teachers… Do the Same Rules Apply?

Bullying in schools

When it comes to bullying most schools have very thorough anti-bullying programs. But what happens when it’s not a student who is doing the bullying, but rather a teacher? Do schools enforce the same no-tolerance stance when it comes to their own staff?

This is the situation that Brianna Cooper’s school found themselves in… and they way that they reacted was totally unacceptable. Brianna recorded a teacher at her school threatening to ‘drop’ a child in the class on her mobile phone. So why did she use her mobile phone instead of just telling the principal what had happened? Well, the sad truth is that Brianna thought she would need evidence in order to be believed. And unfortunately, rather than thanking Brianna for bringing the very serious issue to their attention, the school suspended her for illegally recording others without their permission.

This story certainly brings up many concerns over whether schools are prepared to stand by their no-tolerance bullying policies when it comes to their own teachers doing the bullying (and we would all hope that they are prepared to do so!). But lets be realistic, this is a one in a million case. Virtually every teacher out there has their students best interests at heart and will do everything in their power to make sure they are learning in a happy and safe environment. Unfortunately, in teaching, like any profession, there are the occasional ‘bad eggs’. It was very unlucky that Brianna and her classmates got that bad egg!

If schools want to stamp out bullying they need to lead by example, not take a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach. Nobody has the right to bully another… regardless of who you are. The behaviour of this teacher was totally and utterly unacceptable. Nobody has the right to behave in such a way and certainly not someone who is in an influential and powerful position.

At this stage the school in question has not confirmed whether the teacher was investigated for this issue or what the consequences were. Imagine the great example they could have set by being open with the students and the schools community about the consequences that this teacher faced as a result of the incident. Had they taken a firm public stance against bullying, they would have gained the trust and respect of the students, teachers, parents and wider community. Let’s hope this unfortunate incident serves as a timely reminder that schools need to enforce their anti-bullying programs, regardless of the person who is doing the bullying.


Want to take a stand against bullying? Join the #Banishthebully campaign!



Lucy Matheison

Lucy is a trained primary school teacher with a passion for baking. Lucy began her blog, Bake Play Smile, in 2013 and it has since grown into one of Australia’s most recognised food blogs. Bake Play Smile is all about fun, food and happiness. Lucy’s recipes have earned national acclaim through a number of awards and publications. She was a winner of the 2015 Best Recipes ‘Home Cook Hero’ competition in Super Food Ideas magazine, a Top 5 Finalist for the 2014 Mamamia Food Blogger Competition, a Top 5 Food Blogger on Every Recipe, and a Kidspot “Voices of 2014″ nominee.

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