The Rochester City School District has had a bullying problem for many years. Bullying Prevention programs have done little to counter the culture that not only creates but perpetuates the bullying attitude in school children.
Children learn by example and what better example are they given of bullying than by the influential adults in their primary environment.
Saturday, at the superintendent search committee forum, several youngsters were given a perfect example of bullying and disrespect by a School Board member and a community leader.
Due to low attendance the public was given five minutes to speak and then, at the end of the speak-out if there was time left community members could return to the microphone and complete or add to their thoughts.
Things went smoothly and many excellent ideas were shared. Unfortunately, one hour, twelve minutes, and thirty-six seconds into the forum when community member Tim Adams suggested that there be an open dialogue between the community and the search committee, he was met with hostility by Board President Evans. Mr. Adams made another very good point when he noted that if the forum were to end early it may appear that the community isn’t interested in being included in the process.
Next to speak was community member Howard Eagle. After five minutes, and with thirty minutes left in the forum, President Evans sent the message, loud and clear, that he no longer wanted to hear what Mr. Eagle had to say.
In front of several children and young adults, a shouting match began between the two adults, leaders in our community, that ended with President Evans asking to have Mr. Eagle removed. Neither President Evans nor Mr. Eagle took the initiative to amicably resolve the situation.
This is not unusual for most public forums and Board meetings. The lack of respect and bullying between adults is unwarranted and unconscionable. Children emulate adults. They learn from our actions and they are learning to be bullies.
We must become more responsible to our children by being role models of respect.
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