Asking for a Culture of Kindness in Our Schools

by Christine D.

20151113_152926This morning as I brought my daughter into school, I saw a boy pulled aside by the teacher supervising the arrivals. He had been pushing the smaller children on the way through the door, it seemed, and was being spoken to in no uncertain terms. Another parent nodded in approval and said that he had also been pushing on the bus. He was in big trouble.

I didn’t see whether he was pushing in thoughtlessness or exuberance or out of a desire to hurt the smaller children, but I think the last is the least likely. Obviously, moving him to the side was a good way to resolve the issue for the moment. Speaking sternly to him about it was probably seen as the best way to ensure he might think twice about doing it again tomorrow.

I walked my daughter down to her classroom. When I came back up the corridor, the same teacher was just finishing off a diatribe to the same boy. I heard her end brusquely with “And there’s no need for crying. Now go to class. Go on.”

The boy shuffled slowly away from her and towards me, being passed by faster, happier children, his face a mask of misery. He wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his coat. He looked utterly downtrodden. My heart broke for him: I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay, that he’d remember to be gentle with the smaller children tomorrow and that school isn’t a place where people just yell at you and assume you’re being bad on purpose. He didn’t know me, though, so all I did was touch his shoulder as I passed.

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