What Parents want Teachers to Know: 7. Defence

Defence: Do not fight. Its one of the big rules at school. However, this rule can’t stand alone, it has to be part of a coordinated set of responses to aggression. And, as aggression is a frame of mind, its overt manifestation in violence is the end of the road, not the beginning!

If children can’t seek help when being made uncomfortable in the classroom, or when lining up, or when playing, when can they? I’ve had experiences of my child being actively prohibited from raising the alarm and then thinking he was ‘in trouble’ for attempting to report another child’s aggression against him during class!

Should I train my child to forget the rules and retaliate? My own experience says…well, yes. As a child I was victimised by a larger boy who didn’t seem to understand ‘no’. There was no culture of dealing with bullying in the 1960’s so it was a tough time. However, I found that one vigorous knock on the konk with my recorder did wonders: (a) it broke the recorder so I didn’t have to play it for a while, and (b) I experienced absolutely no aggression from anyone at all for the rest of my primary school life! All I can say is, if teachers don’t get involved, a child is left with retaliation; and while it can work, it is dangerous and its results can be patchy.

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