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Jeff Meadors: Teachers should be teaching, not policing bullies

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

I recently attended some training focused on a number of hot topics. By far the hottest topic at the time was bullying. Bullying has been fiercely debated in board rooms, on legislative floors, and by parent groups. National media have documented the results of bullies gone wild in classrooms, school lunchrooms and hallways. As a school board member, it is not uncommon for a parent to call me or to write to me in unabridged detail chronicling what appears to be bad behavior at the least and quite possibly bullying.

Federal definitions have changed. The Georgia Department of Education has a bullying toolkit on their website. Teachers have been asked to shed their instructional posts and play hallway monitors, lunchroom SWAT and bus lane victim advocates as it seems to be a never-ending phenomenon.

If school leaders need this much support from classroom teachers, then teachers should be paid for these duties through a reclassification of salaries at all levels through a return to zero-based budgeting.

When parents tell me they are leaving public schools for private schools, home schools, accredited home school umbrella programs and virtual schools it is not lost on me that educators have simply got to step up to the plate and give the instructional focus back to teachers, and beef up the duty list of the occasional administrator sleeping in the cafeteria, pirating compact discs or working from home. Public school enrollment is decreasing.

I've had training in bullying and training in gangs. The bully is often worse than the gang member who dwells somewhat surreptitiously beneath the fray. For example, the bully will drive by a home and call his buddies as he sizes up the scene, yet at the same time will loudly spit blame at others who call him to the mat.

He is louder, arguably vile, networks by phone and in sometimes nonsecular settings and holds his victim to a higher standard of scrutiny than himself. "Two Legged Snakes" by Dr. Ed Slack describes him or her. The classic bully will call his victim out publicly and loudly while being guilty of greater perversion. Adult bullies derail good deeds and hold meetings hostage with personal agendas. All, however, operate from a premise of fear.

Public education appears genuine about increasing student achievement. So why are our teachers on breakfast line duty, hallway duty, class change duty, lunch duty,and bus duty when they need to be in their classrooms? Teaching time becomes strategic planning requisite to figure out where in this mess they can jockey for a restroom, as first-year high-quality teachers plan departure and the average new teacher leaves after the fourth year.

Bullying is a problem, but schools must simply stop asking more of and putting more on classroom teachers. Who is the bully in this equation?

Jeff Meadors is vice chairman of the Newton County Board of Education.

Comments

Chageagent 2 years, 4 months ago

Can this man get out of Newton and qualify in Rockdale. We need a voice for teachers in Rockdale and everytime I read him I think dang he gets it.

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CEG 2 years, 4 months ago

Don't even try! We love this guy!

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Magneticmama 2 years, 4 months ago

Finally someone who gets it just too bad we are told in Rockdale by our own elected people that they are not responsive to the public. Yes you are.

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amp72 2 years, 4 months ago

I love this, Mr. Meadors. It's about time! And while we're at it, let's get rid of the administrators who are themselves some of the biggest bullies in the school system. I know many teachers in Newton County and there is a culture of fear that has been in place for many years. They are afraid to rock the boat because there administrators (who are afraid they will lose their jobs) encourage teachers to keep quiet about many problems in the school system. Start looking at a certain high school on Highway 36 if you don't believe me.

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spdracer90 2 years, 4 months ago

Preaching to the choir Mr. Meadors! Well lets stop discussing it and put in a plan of action. I completely agree that our teachers need to be able to teach not babysit. Some responsibility needs to fall on the parents--kids need know what is expected of them at school and it is not bullying, getting into fights, disruptive behavior, and the like. They are there to learn-period! Teachers have a difficult job as it is with more students in the classroom and less resources. Then they get hit with furlough days and decreased benefits. Teachers teach because they truly want to enrich and educate our children--we all know it is not for the pay and glamour. Just as Mr. Meadors said, administrators need to wake up, do the job they are getting paid to do, and let our teachers teach!!!!!

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Blueeyeddevil 2 years, 4 months ago

There are plenty of teachers in the school system that are bullies but I won't name any names, and it is a complete shame that it has to be that way. Your right kids are there to learn, and teachers there to teach, but happens when the teacher is not teaching and they are being bullies then what do we do, I know what the school doesn't do they don't take the child seriously and it all falls back on them. Oh little johnny must be lying again because his parents didn't teach him right, well little Johnny hasn't been in trouble a day in his whole school career then one bad apple spoils the whole thing. I know a couple of teachers just like this and it is very sad that they would rather bully then teach.

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Grandcanyon 2 years, 4 months ago

I have got to give credit where credit is do, Mr Meadors is always looking out for teachers and always has good ideas to help get a problem solved. I completely 100% agree with what he saying. Teachers need to teach not be the police. We need more Administration to help with this situation to help the teachers, the students and so on. A plan of action needs to be put in effect. I think Mr Meadors makes very good points and we should all take look at what is going on.

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Henrycounselor 2 years, 4 months ago

I love that an Educator such as Mr Meadors has such great input and speaks up for the teachers, its great to know that a board member really cares about the teachers in the school system and will go to bat for them. Someone needs to and that's why I want to take this opportunity to Thank you for all your hard work and voicing your concerns, the most important part caring for the teachers welfare as well as the children's.

Thank you Mr Meadors

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CEG 2 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Meadors, You are an amazing advocate for teachers in this county! Thanks for your help, and please keep up your work. It is sad that teachers are not even free to go to the county office without fear of reprisal at their schools.
Something has to be done from the top to eliminate bullying. Students will push the envelope as far as adults allow them, and our adults would rather befriend students than educate them.

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Personalsavior 2 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree CEG your right students will push the envelope and they are going to do this until they see that we are going to put a stop to it. We can talk and preach all day long but instead of talk we need to do.

And Mr Meadors is an amazing advocate but he is one man and he needs help, The more help he has behind him the better the outcome I think.

I think it is a shame as well that teachers have to be afraid to voice an opinion. That should not be happening.

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