Felicia Chew on Technology, Bullying, and Parapros in Schools

A defense for teaching proper use of technology in the schools, and an argument for more parapros in the classroom:

Apps like Google Docs allow collaboration, and students who explore the technology creatively are faced with natural consequences: “Nathan said he and his classmates were excited to discover the group-messaging functionality last year, because “it looks like you’re being productive.” But, he added, “the drawback is that you’re not working on what you’re supposed to be working on, so you don’t get anything done.””

Google Docs is a useful way to have students work together and collaborate. However, as the article also states, bullying and “burn books” are occuring.

1. Student-focused classrooms. (There is a difference between a student-focused classroom and a classroom that coddles students).

2. Additional paraprofessionals who can work with the teacher to support students in the classroom, and can also support the teacher in grading, contact with families, etc. (For example, attorneys have paralegals, and so should educators).

3. Restorative and transformative justice programs (properly implemented).

4. Enforced effective policies and programs that prevent bullying, and resolve identified bullying.

5. Integrated (outpatient and inpatient; e.g. private therapy sessions AND in the classroom and at home support) services for victims, bullies, their friends, and their families.

1. Parental/family advocates and support services, including referral services to resources, and connected supportive networks;

2. Healthy opportunities and choices;

3. Funding for paraprofessionals;

4. Training on restorative and transformative processes;

5. Updated policies. The shorter the better. Something like:

A. We understand that we can only control ourselves, possibly influence others, and that we must leave the rest as concern.

B. We have the right to feel safe and be safe at all times.

C. We have the right and responsibility to speak up, without judgment, and without being judged.

6. Effective Implementation of Enforcing Policies

A. Students and staff who do not feel safe and/or are not safe have the responsibility to speak up, and be seen and heard before 5pm that day (yes, this means there needs to be enough staffing, and flexible work hours for staff).

B. All complainants will have the opportunity to choose the form of resolution. Forms of resolution include: self-removal; restorative/transformative conversation (Note: the complainee also has the right to accept participation in the restorative/transformative process, or not; and at this point the paraprofessionals/teacher would have a conversation with the complainee and have intentional interactions (passive) to observe the complainee from a perspective of supporting the complainant and complainee in resolving the situation, while understanding that there are an infinite number of possibilities for the disturbance).

“It takes a village to raise a child” (African Proverb)

“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”


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