On Disrespect and Vitriol

State law requires schools in Illinois to have bullying policies, i.e. stop all instances of students verbally and physically harassing one another. How are we supposed to stop these practices among our students when the adults who are supposed to model appropriate behavior are unable to treat each other in acceptable ways. I could give multiple examples of highly exposed adults (from all kinds of professions and different sides of the political equation) who fail to give the respect all people deserve. We do not have to agree on all matters, but we need to respect one another despite our differences on issues. The role models, whether they be the President of the United States, a TV talk show host or a parent in the stands, need to show respect to others whether or not they agree with another person on an issue or an official’s call on the field. One does not have to watch human behavior very long to understand that young people are always watching how adults react in all situations and very often model the behavior they see. The old saying that “they may not listen to watch you say, but they always see what you do,” holds very true. This week’s controversy about whether or not to show the president’s speech to the nation’s students is a case in point. Name calling and stereotyping based on one’s political beliefs needs to give way to open, respectful debate about issues and responsibility. How can we expect our students to treat one another with respect, despite their differences, if the adults and highly visible cultural and political leaders cannot do the same?

2 thoughts on “On Disrespect and Vitriol

  1. The other day, walking up to the school, I witnessed a parent yelling and pointing her finger in the face of one of our students. Do I think it was this parent's child? Nope, I sure don't. It is sad when we see members of our society treating others with such disrespect. Everyone deserves some form of respect no matter their age. As educators we nurture as we can while those students are under our care and we try to teach self-respect, respect of others, and sense of control. But our teachings only go so far. We are not their parents nor do we claim to be, but we have this vested interest in these children and it is extremely painful to see what we strive so hard to maintain destroyed in an instance.

Leave a Reply