48 Responses to Parents: Please Show This to Your Principals and PTAs

  1. K December 3, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    My son collided with another child on the playground yesterday and hurt one of his teeth.

    All I got was a note in his bookbag letting me know. I’m not suing the school for letting the kids play football at recess and the school isn’t banning football from recess.

    I’m so glad my kids go to a school led by reasonable people.

  2. Michelle December 3, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    I have to disagree about the sign-in process. In many places this is required by the fire marshall so there is an accurate count of who is in the building should there be a need to evacuate (which I realize is also unlikely but the principal has no real say in the matter.

  3. Donna December 3, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    “I still wonder why having people sign in and show I.D. is considered such a great deterrent. (Wouldn’t anyone bent on real destruction get a fake I.D.?”

    No, they’d just shoot the person asking to see the ID. I find it difficult to believe that people actually believe that a person who would shoot 20 6 year olds would actually be stymied in those efforts by a lack of willingness to shoot the school secretary asking for ID.

    “In many places this is required by the fire marshall so there is an accurate count of who is in the building should there be a need to evacuate”

    I would like to hear (read) an actual fire marshall say this because I think this is a complete myth. I’ve never once – and I’ve been in buildings that had to be evacuated – heard of ANYONE looking at a sign-in sheet. Back in my big firm days, I was temporarily working in our LA office (had to sign in and out as a visitor every day) when the building was evacuated. Nobody took roll or even got the sign-in sheet from security. Someone did ask us if our entire team was there but that was about it.

  4. pentamom December 3, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    “In many places this is required by the fire marshall so there is an accurate count of who is in the building should there be a need to evacuate”

    It really doesn’t make sense that the fire marshal would require schools to do this, but not any other building where people come and go (many buildings have MUCH more in and out traffic than schools, who generally only have a very small number of people who aren’t there all the time, during the course of a day.) Another reason I agree with Donna that it seems to be a myth.

  5. pentamom December 3, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    which, not who…duh.

  6. Lee Baldwin December 3, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    lockdown drills are the current equivalent of the bomb drills of the 60s, i think. they are probably about as useful (i got in trouble in 4th grade for pointing out to another child that the point of bomb drills was to make the bodies easier to find after the fact, since the entire school would be lined up in the hallway in one school, or under their desks in the other… and that IF there really was a bomb, we were not going to survive)

  7. Melanie Jones December 3, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    I have so much respect for my daughter’s kindergarten teacher this year. At the beginning of the year, they had a fire drill, and that one was called a fire drill, and my daughter came home off the bus in tears because her school was going to burn down some day. (We talked). But the next drill was the “shelter in place” drill, which is a little more ambiguous. That day she came off the bus laughing and said, “Mom! Guess what we did today? We all hid in the bathroom together because my teacher said we needed to practice what we would do if a silly reindeer with really pointy antlers accidentally came in our school and was like, poking with it’s antlers trying to get out? So we shut the door and we all got in the bathroom together!” I know that wouldn’t work for older kids, but for my five year old, it was perfect and I had never heard anything like that! I am so glad that the teacher didn’t give some ambiguous reasoning about people wanting to hurt children. I realize my child has to grow up,and maybe reality necessitates practicing what to do in the case of an emergency, but this just seemed like such an appropriate response to five year olds. Similar to Lee’s assessment, I taught in a classroom of 16 year olds after 9/11, and I loved their take on these drills. They were all making plans on how they would charge and overtake the attacker, etc. I know in a way that sounds like a really depressing outcome of the world we live in, but I thought it was a wonderful way that they were processing information that is unsettling and discussing possible solutions. And, in a way, that might be more useful than the “shelter” drill itself – having the space to discuss what one might do in an emergency in this particular place, so that if it did occur it would possibly be less scary.

  8. Janice December 3, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Haven’t read the article and don’t think I will. I volunteer at my son’s school in the front office. In fact the entire front office is manned by parent and grandparent volunteers. We have the sole responsibility of buzzing people into the school based on me recognizing them through a security camera. If I don’t know who they are or if they ‘look’ like they don’t belong, I have to speak to them through a speaker and them make a judgment…are they ok to let through. There are times when I get lazy and just buzz them through and I worry that I made a mistake. Do I honestly think any harm will happen? No. We are a small Catholic school associated with a church. We live in a town where shootings have occurred in a big mega church during services. Security concerns are high. And I hope that each parent that sits at that desk each day takes the same care because its my son, their kids. I know each school is filled with staff who take the same level of commitment. And no, signing in does not deter some one bent on causing harm. It just allows us front office workers to see who is coming into the school and get a feel for what is going on in their school.

  9. brian December 3, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    signing in is the dumbest thing ever. No one ever signs out so it is useless. Not to mention, the book would burn up too in the fire! (and I sure hope no one would waste time grabbing the book instead of a kid on the way out)

    in big NYC buildings now you often have to show id, have a picture taken using their computer. They then have a picture of you and you info. You are then are given a coded sticker with photo that gets you access to a specific floor. That is at least security of some kind. The rest of this is nonsense.

  10. Carly December 3, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Our school is starting a system where they scan your ID to see you if you are in a sex offender registry. I’m not sure everyone understands the process, and I’m sure some won’t want to come into the school because they don’t understand what comes up when your ID is scanned.

    I’m not sure why are school decided to implement such a system, it would just seem to give a false sense of security.

  11. Brooks December 3, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Yesterday I had to check my daughter in after a doctor’s appointment. Apparently the SRO was out, and the office staff were away from their desks for a few moments. So I’m standing there, yanking on the mag-locked bullet-proof door, buzzing the intercom, trying to get into the school. Finally someone showed up, eyed my 8 year old and me with suspicion, and finally let us in. Absolutely enraging.

  12. Buffy December 3, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Add me to the group that is VERY skeptical of the sign-in process being at the request of the fire department.
    Why don’t we sign in (and out) at malls, ballparks, restaurants, and concert venues then?

  13. Beth December 3, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    @Carly, what will they do if a parent is on the registry?

  14. Dave Bauer December 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    The sign in sheet is in fact exactly so they have a record of who is in the building. Of course fires and other evacuations are rare, but when they occur they are serious events. The fire drill procedures were designed specifically in response to deaths in school fires due to confusion, locked doors etc. In addition ID and sign-in is not for a random person determined to cause extreme violence, but for the much more common non-custodial parent or other problem which school personnel are trained to deal with.

  15. pentamom December 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    How does a sign-in sheet ensure safety if not every person in the building signs in and out every day? I doubt the teachers and custodians and staff are on it. Nor do you know which children are present or absent, unless you exhaustively check all the attendance records for every classroom. Do fire departments really have a whole army of people to do that while the rest are fighting the fire? It adds no value to fire safety just to add a specific group of people to a sign in sheet, while keeping no record of the vast majority of people who are there.

    I can believe that this is done out of the *belief* that it adds to fire safety, I just have a hard time believing that fire marshals insist upon it being necessary in schools while completely ignoring the supposed necessity for the same procedure in hospitals, office buildings, malls, restaurants, post offices, gyms…..

  16. pentamom December 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    “@Carly, what will they do if a parent is on the registry?”

    Excellent question. Related question: wouldn’t it be simpler and more reasonable just to ensure that parents are never allowed to be alone in school closets with other children? How hard could it be to control this, since kids are supposed to be under a teacher’s supervision throughout the day anyway, and presumably parents or other non-staff adults are not permitted to roam the school halls randomly?

  17. becca December 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    The fire marshall only needs a number of people in the building it does not explain why some schools make people show I.D.

  18. lsl December 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    to pentamom, re exhaustively checking attendance.

    Yes, schools do check who is there. It is expected that all the normal staff is there everyday. If a teacher is absent, the substitute must sign in at the front desk with the name of the teacher they are subbing for (I was a substitute for years). If an aide is absent, the teacher they normally work with knows it. If the secretary or other support staff is absent, the principal knows it. If there’s a fire drill, the teacher (including any subs) is expected to grab their roll book. Sometimes there’s an emergency kit kept next to the door, with an extra roll book in it. When the class gets to their meeting place, the teacher takes roll. One of the office staff then asks each of the teachers if everybody is accounted for. It’s not as time consuming as your post made it sound. In fact, after a couple of times, it’s almost automatic, which is the point of drills: in an actual emergency, you don’t have time to think, you have to ACT.

  19. pentamom December 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Fair enough, lsl, but that still does not explain why fire marshals supposedly think that people need to be accounted for in schools, but nowhere else. For the children, the whole rollbook thing makes sense, and yes, I was assuming that the teachers were responsible for keeping track of their own students. But we’re talking about adults, who are in no different position if they’re caught in an emergency situation in a school, versus visiting someone at the hospital, at work, visiting the doctor, at the supermarket, etc. It just doesn’t make sense that fire marshals as a group generally think that a certain protocol is necessary to deal with accounting for transient adults in schools, but not in other places. It’s really about something else.

  20. Buffy December 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    And again, sign-in-for-fire-safety-proponents, why don’t we have to sign in and out everywhere we go if it is SO important in case of a fire?

    Or is it only important if kids are involved? No wait, kids go to sports events, malls, grocery stores….dang.

  21. John December 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Quote: “A renewed focus on bullying and mental health issues, with teachers trained to spot troubled kids and intervene before bullying incidents get out of hand.”

    •Simple security steps such as locking exterior school doors, requiring all visitors to check in at the front office and offering students easy, anonymous ways to report classmates’ threats.” (end quote)

    First of all, requiring all visitors to check in at the front office has been a rule in schools for at least the past 50 years. There’s nothing unreasonable about that and even when I was in HS during the early 70s, visitors had to check in. Of course a gunman hellbent on shooting teachers and students won’t do that but spotting a person wandering around the school unchecked, could avert a tragedy.

    But the anti-bullying propaganda, in my opinion, is getting out of hand and completely unecessary. Now a stronger kid knocking down a weaker kid and then sitting on his chest while pepper slapping his face and then breaking his glasses is a clear-cut example of bullying, particularly if it’s done on a regular basis. BUT a kid JOKINGLY calling a kid wearing glasses “4-eyes” is NOT bullying! It’s called kidding around! The problem is, school administrators nowadays are too stupid to know the difference. Now we have a culture of hypersensitive young employees in the workplace because of that nonsense.

    It is also overkill to expel from school two 10-year-old boys for fighting on the playground. A simple fight on the playground between two kids does not warrant them being permanently kicked out of school because those kind of things will happen with kids. Because the very next day, those two kids will be best buddies again! That’s how kids are. Now I am not saying that fighting should go unpunished. Give these kids detention. Make them stay after school for the next two weeks and clean chalkboards, make them eat lunch together so they can resolve their differences, whatever, but calling the police and getting Lawyers involved and then permanently expelling two kids from school for getting into a simple playground scrap is extremely ridiculous in my opinion and does NOT teach children conflict resolution!

  22. Powers December 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    “BUT a kid JOKINGLY calling a kid wearing glasses “4-eyes” is NOT bullying! It’s called kidding around!”

    That depends entirely on how pervasively and aggressively this “joking” occurs.

    “I’m only joking” is the favorite phrase of the worst bullies.

  23. Donna December 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Lsl and Dave – It is a whole helluva lot faster for teachers to be responsible for accounting for EVERYONE in their classrooms, including adult guests, then to have one person from the office running around with a list to check on adult guests. Considering that, and the fact that this sign-in mess didn’t exist prior to all this school safett craziness, I don’t believe for a second that the sign-in lists are actually used in a fire. Any more than the classroom rolls are after the 1st couple weeks of school or for a sub. A teacher knows his/her students and who was present before and after the evacuation without needing to call roll.

    I’ve been evacuated from schools and office buildings many times in my life. Not once did anyone in any of them pull out a roll book or sign-in sheet and call roll. It is possible that teachers actually marked a roll sheet as documentation at some point, but roll was not called. I don’t want my kid in a class with a teacher who can’t eyeball whether all her kids made it out. I also don’t want her in a classroom with a teacher who can’t remember Ms. Smith was there too.

  24. Steve Cournoyer December 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    What? No TSA-styled pat-downs? No baggage searches? LOL!Show an ID, sign in, sign out…not a big deal for a sense of some sort of security….they’ll know, along with reviewing video footage who stole some office supplies! LOL! Seriously though,anyone bent on destruction will not be stopped by that mere formality.

  25. Lin December 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I’m so happy we don’t have measures like that here in our school in Australia. Our school is not fenced and all the doors are unlocked all day. I have to sign my child in and out if she arrives or leaves outside of usual times, but no one checks if I actually do. Sometimes I’m naughty and will send her in by herself when we arrive very late and no one ever pulls me up on it.

    There was a directive from the Department a couple of years ago, advising schools should fence off their playgrounds and they immediately got a whole bunch of parents tell their schools that they were dead against that idea.

    I remember, when I went to the information night before my girl started school, there were one or two parents who asked quite a few questions about “what if our kids run across the road” because the school oval is right next to a main street. They got a standard response about supervision for the little ones but I’m sure must parents, like me, thought it was a non issue because by 5 kids should know not to just bolt across a road.

  26. Kimberly Herbert December 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    I usually agree with you but I think in this you are looking at it wrong. At my school and in my district signing in and showing id isn’t about preventing random mass shooting. It is about

    1. Jane Uncle Damion who already molested her, but she was deemed to young to testify against him so they wouldn’t prosecute. The family moved but he keeps finding them.

    2. Is Jess and Vivi’s birth parents the ones that are mentally ill and off their meds more than they are on them. These people nearly starved 4 children to death because all the food was “poisoned”. It took 68 phone calls to CPS to get them out of there.

    3. It is about Mr. and Mrs. Tesla who must be escorted by an administrator on campus because they got angry at a teacher and put her in the ER a couple of years ago.

    4. It about Jazmine’s Dad who told her Mom – You can’t have my kids if the judge gives them to you I’ll take them and make sure never see them alive again.

    5. It is about Jamie’s Dad who raped her for years.

    6. It is about Jack’s Dad who beat him and his mother black and blue for years before mom got the courage to leave him. They are in the woman’s shelter right now and have an TRO.

    7. Don’t forget David – who’s birth parents murdered his little baby brother in front of him – and have found the adoptive family 2x.

    You always preach that strangers aren’t the danger. I agree. But in a school of 600 kids, you have a large number of sick relatives. Relatives that have abused your child’s classmate, who are addicts, who are mentally ill. Not to mention the parents that simply don’t want Nanna to see the kids because she is always trash talking about their father.

    There is a list of about 40 different people not allowed in our school because of the wishes of parents or legal documents.

    So Ok Kimberly but you teach in a Title 1 so maybe you need stricter rules but what about the middle and upper middle class schools they don’t need those rules. Except

    1. Having at schools with the majority are Hispanic or AA have check in procedures and not at the “white” schools – discrimination law suit awaits.

    2. You want to find some high functioning sociopaths – go to rich neighborhoods they are full of them.

    3. The helicopter parents – save me from them. The ones that think I should stop teaching and have a impromptu conference with them because they disagree with the answer to number 5 on the test I gave last week.

  27. SteveS December 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    The overexposure of school shootings makes it seem like kids are in need of some kind of protective measures. I remember reading an article about how more kids die from playing school sports than are killed by shooters. Despite this, what do you think most parents are scared of?

    I’d be interested to find out whether the security measures are coming from parents demanding them or from risk management experts.

  28. Reziac December 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    You don’t need a special sign-in for the fire marshal’s head count. Every teacher in the known universe takes attendance, so they already HAVE a head count. Furthermore, any teacher worth their salt knows all their kids by name and face, and can tell you who’s missing.

    But as someone points out, this is bogus anyway; much larger facilities, such as malls, have many more people coming and going far more randomly, and they don’t have sign-in sheets for the fire marshal…

  29. bmommyx2 December 3, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    The sad thing is showing them will not make a difference in most cases. I voice my opinion all the time & it falls on dead ears. The reality is that it’s all political anyways. The majority of parents perceive that there are lots of potential dangers so they don’t care as much about facts as the “what if” factor. Most feel it’s better to be safe than sorry & they don’t mind all the extra security stuff. The school does it to passify the parents & create the illusion of safety.

  30. Jenn December 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I don’t know about other areas but the sign in procedure at schools is used to check if there are people stuck in the building. When my school has a fire drill, one of the office staff is to get the sign in/out book. It’s a similar procedure for all teaching staff, who are to grab their emergency list (posted next to the exit of each room) so that once the class is outside, you check that you have everyone. The office staff has several times had to give the sign out book to the fire marshall. They check the sign out logs for children who have signed in, but not made it to class yet (and thus the teacher would be unaware that a child is missing) and they check for any other people in the building who are not accounted for. We have a colour system to visually let the fire department know which classes are missing people, or have collected additional people so that we don’t have to go on an unnecessary search through a burning building. I’m not sure if other areas require the sign in/out log for the same reasons but I know that at my school, it is always requested when we have a fire drill with the fire department.

  31. John December 4, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    @Powers
    Quote: “’I’m only joking’ is the favorite phrase of the worst bullies”

    First of all, if a kid is truly JOKING with another kid and that’s precisely what I meant, truly joking, he is not being aggressive and pervasive. Joking is synonymous with kidding or jesting where no offense is meant. But if the kid is talking to the other kid in an aggressive and pervasive tone, he is NOT joking. These two sets of circumstances should easily be distinguishable by anyone with common sense. But apparently you’re conflating the two entirely different situations and making the same mistake school administrators make when interpreting a specific interaction between kids.

    Second of all, in my entire 57 years of my life and from all the anti-bullying propaganda I’ve been hearing from the so-called experts featured on the likes of MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, I have not once heard of a “bully” using or having the tendency to use the phrase “I’m only joking”. I’m also certain that everybody else here has never heard of that either.

  32. Dave December 4, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Please don’t confuse us with the facts.

  33. pentamom December 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    John, be a little less certain. As a victim of childhood bullying myself, I can tell you the “I’m only joking”/”Can’t you take a joke” thing definitely CAN be a feature of it.

    However, I still agree with you — there is an obvious and observable difference between kids joking around calling each other names, and someone using namecalling and other hurtful words in a bullying kind of way. The phrase “I’m only joking” could be used in either context, but any adult with half a brain can see whether it’s believable or not if they witnessed the interaction. I could endure bullying at school and go home and joke around with my older brothers on the very same day, and know the difference.

  34. pentamom December 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Kimberly — sign in sheets don’t really help with any of those situations, unless the school secretary runs a background check on every person who enters the school, every time. Which is not happening.

    What helps with that is never allowing an unauthorized person leave school during the day with a child. Which sign in sheets do nothing to accomplish.

  35. Carly December 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I’d written a comment about our school starting to scan IDs to see if anyone was on the registry. I’m not exactly sure what the plan is if someone is on the registry….the school secretary tries to stop them, then calls the police.

    My concern with the IDs is that some groups(immigrants, those with other sorts of convictions), won’t entirely understand how the system and this will perhaps discourage them from participating.

    About the various fire code comments, this sort of surprised me, because based on an episode at our kids school I know that the teachers aren’t being tracked as to when they leave the building.

  36. Sharon Davids December 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    My daughter started middle school this fall. On the list of grownups she knows in the school she counted the school security guard. She says she always sees him at lunch and when she gets on the afternoon bus. Occasionally he is there when her morning bus arrives at school.

    The guy seems to be good with kids. He offered to take some Halloween candy off my hands. I just think it is sad that security is something that has to enter her 12 year old mind.

  37. John December 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    @Pentamom
    Quote: “As a victim of childhood bullying myself, I can tell you the ‘I’m only joking’/’Can’t you take a joke’ thing definitely CAN be a feature of it.”

    If a kid says that “He’s only joking”/”Can’t you take a joke” when he is obviously not joking, that’s called sarcasm. To most people with common sense, that should be obvious AND I don’t even think that should be considered “bullying”. Call it rudeness, call it disrespect but bullying? I think we’re over-using that term. But I’m talking about kids who are genuinely kidding which should be obvious to most people with common sense but unfortunately, it isn’t nowadays. It seems as if we’re teaching our kids to have thin skin where nobody can take a joke anymore. So to discipline a kid for JOKINGLY calling another kid with glasses “4-eyes” is completely over reactive and going way too far in my opinion.

    I also think it’s ludicrous to believe that the phrase “I’m only joking” is a common phrase used by the worst bullies. If my team mate on our HS Cross Country team 2 centures ago told me that he was only joking after poking fun of my masculinity in a very fun way, I would have assumed he was joking and it wouldn’t have bothered me. But he was doing so in an obvious terse way at each and every practice and event so there was no way he was kidding even if he said he was!

  38. Kimberly Herbert December 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    pentamom – Actually in our system you have to show an id to enter the building and state your business. We have a list of prohibited people that the ID is checked against. If you are asking to see a specific child, we check that the parent has listed you as a person allowed to see their child, or that you are authorized by the court.

    The only sign in and out sheet is for volunteers and has NOTHING to do with security or fire drills it is about $$$$ from grants that require X number of volunteer hours from the community as in kind matching.

    About fire drills we have roll sheets in our go kits. They serve 2 purposes.
    1. They have children’s name and contact information. If we had real fire the plan is to evacuate down to the 6th grade campus at the corner. We have the parent numbers so we can contact them and tell them were we are and that their kid is ok.

    2. The list is also there in case I’m not in my room at the time of a drill. The sub or aide that was in my room could evacuate and account or my kids.

    We have kids 2 yo (early intervention due to medical condition that can interfere with learning) – 11 yo) so we have procedures for accounting for all kids. We count our students, and hold up a red or green card. If we have a red card up core team comes and asks for the name of the missing child and where the child was supposed to be (SPED, Speech, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, TEXCANA, bathroom) and the child is accounted for. This is especially important because we have special needs kids that react strongly to the sound of the fire alarm and will flee and hide in small places.

  39. Donna December 5, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    @ Kimberly – But signing in (a) doesn’t prevent any of those things and (b) is not necessary if you actually build a school community.

    Every administrator and most of the teachers in my daughter’s school know me and my daughter. She is greeted with a smile and “hi Maya” by every single staff member she encounters during the day and I am identified either by name or as Maya’s mom. Heck, my mother picked my daughter up from afterschool one day and the afterschool coordinator recognized my mother as a parent from when my brother went to school there 20 years ago. And, no, I am not a volunteer, vocal member of the PTA or someone who is particularly notable in any way. The school just makes an effort to be very friendly, welcoming and community-oriented.

    THAT is what gets you safety in any situation, not sign in sheets, cameras and locked doors.

  40. Donna December 5, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    And Kimberly, my school is also a Title 1 school in an extremely high poverty area (we were no. 1 poorest in the last census among cities our size). While we do have to sign in and out for accounting purposes, it is self-done on a computer that nobody looks at and no IDs are necessary nor is any list checked. The administrators simply KNOW who is supposed to be there and who is not. While I imagine that unknown people may be questioned and IDs checked (my mother’s wasn’t), it is certainly not routine and something that would disappear within one or two subsequent visits to the school.

  41. Donna December 5, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    I also believe that your school requires rolls, etc. during drills just because the school wants to and not because it serves any vital purpose. Clearly, our fire marshalls in our city are not demanding this and our schools evacuate just fine without it. As I said, all sign ins are done at my school by computer. Kids coming in late and leaving early, hourly paid staff, substitutes and visitors all sign in and out on a single computer. So while we do sign in and out, there is absolutely nothing that can be taken out and reviewed in the case of an emergency.

  42. pentamom December 5, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    John, it’s not that “can’t you take a joke” IS bullying, it’s that it can travel with bullying, which means that talking about “joking” and bullying can go together. If you say something really, really mean to a kid, or knock down the stuff she’s carrying when you’re NOT her friend and it’s NOT just horseplay between friends, and then say, “Can’t you take a joke?” that’s bullying. The “Can’t you take a joke” doesn’t make it bullying, but it means that it can be PART of bullying. That’s all I’m saying.

  43. pentamom December 5, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Kimberly — what Donna said is what I meant. If you’re showing ID and keeping a list of banned people, that keeps problem people out. Sign in sheets do nothing of the sort, and sign in sheets are what were talking about.

  44. Donna December 5, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    “If you’re showing ID and keeping a list of banned people, that keeps problem people out.”

    Yes, but also unnecessary if you would just get to know your students and their families.

    John – While I don’t necessarily think that calling some kid with glasses “4 eyes” is bullying, I’m not sure that I get your point. I find nothing acceptable about that kind of “joking around” because, in all honesty, the recipient of such comments rarely find it as funny as the person saying them. If my daughter was making such comments, she would be told to stop immediately. I don’t even care if the recipient truly finds it funny. Be funny and joke around without insulting someone. It isn’t that difficult.

    It reminds me of an episode of the Big Bang Theory involving bullies. Popular Penny recounted the “jokes” she played in high school to nerdy Bernadette and Amy who were amazed and pointed out to her that her “friends” probably didn’t find those things all that funny. Since Penny has always been a good-hearted character, the point was not Penny was a bully who matured as an adult. It was that even decent people don’t always realize that their jokes are hurtful to the recipients.

  45. John December 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    @Donna….some people are much more sensitive than others and we need to respect that. In the office here, there are certain things I can say to some employees while others I can’t. Now if a kid says to a good friend of his who just got glasses for the first time “Hey there 4-eyes!” I certainly would NOT put that on the same level of disrespect that you do, particularly if the kid saying it wears glasses himself! It’s a matter of context or just plane common sense. Now if you say it to a kid you don’t know over and over and over again and if it irritates him, then yes, that’s rude but it’s NOT bullying and that was the point of my original post. But goodness, if a person is not offended by a certain comment you make to them (their short stature, bald head, weight, the inept sports team they support, etc.) AND, in fact, finds it all in fun, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some people, including kids, have a good sense of humor and actually welcome being the recipient of jokes and then dishing them back out. So I will definitely disagree with you on that one.

    @Pentamom….the example you’re using is not what I’m talking about. Certainly if you knock the school books out of another kid’s arms and glibbly say, “Can’t you take a joke?” then of course that’s bullying. But again, that’s no where’s near what I’m talking about!

  46. Donna December 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    John – So you only have a good sense of humor if you enjoy having your physical imperfections over which you have no control pointed out on a regular basis? No way that you shape it is calling someone “4 eyes,” “shorty,” “stretch,” “baldy” or any other similar comment a necessary, or even positive, part of humor, friendship or social discourse. I don’t find it offensive, but I see no humor in it either. And I’m not even any of those things (I do have bad vision but find contacts more comfortable so it is rare to see me in glasses to call me “4 eyes”).

    Maybe it is just a different-humor thing, but I just fail to see any real reason why it shouldn’t be discouraged.

  47. John December 6, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Donna goodness, in no way am I implying that the only way to have a good sense of humor is to enjoy having your “physical imperfections” pointed out on a regular basis. You’re reading something in my post that’s not there. I’m saying that some people enjoy ribbing each other about certain things, including physical “imperfections” if you want to call them that. Now if that’s not having a good sense of humor, I don’t know what is! And quite frankly Donna, if they enjoy that kind of ribbing, that is entirely THEIR business and not your’s or mine. If you don’t find it a necessary, or a positive, part of humor, friendship or social discourse, that is 100% YOUR opinion that is not shared by everybody. Like I say, EVERYBODY is different and what you can say to one person, you can’t say to the other.

    And you know Donna, referring to baldness or being short as a physical “imperfection” can also be considered offensive to some people too. So there!

    But I tell you what Donna, you are welcomed to call me 4-eyes any and every day of the week and you and your family will STILL be invited over to my house for Christmas dinner! ;-)

  48. pentamom December 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    “But again, that’s no where’s near what I’m talking about!”

    Well, that’s fine, but you made the very strong statement that you were sure that neither you nor anyone here has experienced anything like “I was only joking” being part of bullying. I was just pointing out that you were being overly certain, because it DOES happen. As I said, I DO understand that you can joke around and that “I was only joking” should not be assumed to be insincere.