Teach Them to Respect the Power

An elementary school principal relates a sad, and unfortunately all too common, story of students harrassing a girl on the bus.

Camera-equipped cell phones were among the tools of choice.

The pre-adolescent teasing took a turn for the worse when the boys yanked out their cell phones and started taking pictures of the “couple.”

The boys were adding graphics such as hearts to the pictures on their phones, and they were threatening to send the pictures to other fifth graders’ cell phones. The girl was covering her face and telling the boys to stop. They continued with their taunting, taking pictures and teasing the two kids, even as she pleaded for them to stop. It ended when the bus arrived at school a few minutes later.

Too many administrators would blame the cell phones and be further encouraged to ban students from carrying them in school (or on the bus).

This one, however, understood that the technology was not the cause of the problem.

Instead, use these examples of poor behavior to teach children to use their phones (and other technologies) responsibly and appropriately. Teach children the positive uses of technology so that they respect the power they hold in their hands. Instead of eliminating cell phone use in school, use cell phones more in school.

He also realizes that changing the behavior of the boys involved requires an educational approach that has nothing to do with technology.

We need more principals who think like this.

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