"Friends don't let friends get huffed and puffed," Big Bird told Slimey the Worm who was blown around by the Big Bad Wolf.
That is my favorite anti-bullying message ever. What would happen if we saw Gordon or Maria or Luis doing the bullying? That's exactly what may have happened in Texas.
A teacher at Salinas Elementary School lined up kindergartners. Instead of instructing them in manners or etiquette, she reportedly taught them how to hit a classmate.
If the news stories I've read are correct, a younger teacher was having a problem with a six-year-old boy in her class. She asked for help from a more experienced colleague on how to deal with a bully.
The older, but apparently not wiser, teacher then attempted to teach the boy a lesson by having other kids take turns hitting him as both teachers watched. The older teacher allegedly goaded them to "hit harder."
Reportedly, after one child landed a wallop, the younger teacher finally intervened, stopped it, then took two weeks to tell anyone. Now the "bully's" mom has come out and said the school never alerted her to any problems about her son being a bully.
If that ever happened to my child – be as a smacker or the smackee, somebody would have to hold me back. I would be flying my broom around that school, no doubt.
At 6, kids don't have the maturity to deal with that situation. Heck, I can't even comprehend it.
In kindergarten, children are still babies. They need to be protected. In this case, that entire class needed to be protected from that older teacher. Both teachers!
Not to mention, the other children in that class are also victims. How confusing for them! They get punished if they hit someone, but then their teacher forces them to do it? A child should never have to choose between honoring a teacher and hurting a friend.
In Illinois, the state is re-evaluating bullying legislation. Many school districts are waiting to see where the state is going to land before they revise their own policies. This is the time, parents, that we need to speak up. Find out how quickly your schools will report student aggression to the parents.
Everything is simpler on Sesame Street. To those teachers in Texas, you should have acted like Gordon, Maria or Luis.
Who's the bully now?