Mentors and Students -- An unusual approach to avoid bullying
This text is a reaction on the school shooting in Chardon Middle School in Chardon, Ohio, Feb. 27, 2012.
Mentors and students
The state requires us to attend school, but seems not to care much what happens there. Joseph Weizenbaum talks of schools as ''minimum security prisons'' in this respect, so is it fair to expose students to judges and the wrath of people who do not even know nor understand what's going on in schools?
Instead of delegating students with problems to so-called ''experts'', psychologists and psychiatrists, we engage life-experienced people called ''mentors'' living ''next door'' and therefore do know about the special situation of a student. This also prevents students from being stigmatised by being sent to a psycho-''doctor''. The relation between a student and his or her mentor is that of mutual trust.
Code of conduct for mentors
- Take the students you are responsible for seriously.
- Don't offer them drugs, neither legal nor illegal.
- Don't abuse them, neither sexually nor in any other way.
- Don't insult or ridicule them.
- Don't let them have access to weapons.
- Don't impose your religious beliefs or political views on them.
- If you have some reasons to reject a certain student, reject him/her right at the beginning.
- The parents or other close relatives of a student can never be his/her mentor.
- A mentor will never disclose private information about his students to the public unless the student explicitly gives permission or the mentor's meeting decides so.
- A mentor will never send a student to a psychologist or psychiatrist nor will he recommend attending them.
General requirements for implementing this system
Mentors should be life-experienced people with enough time to be able to do such a job, e.g., but not restricted to, retired people like former teachers, university professors, police officers, engineers, technicians, musicians, writers, etc. I think that especially retired people would like to pass their knowledge, experience and skills to students to help them to get a better start onto life.
Persons who never are allowed to be mentors are:
- Overly religious people
- Priests or clerical people of any kind
- Psychologists and psychiatrists
- Social workers of any kind
- People known as being ''gun-crazy'' or addicts
Mentors work at a honorary basis, they will never get paid for that job.
Mentors are required to live in the vicinity of their students. They typically should be reached within 15 minutes by bicycle or 20 to 30 minutes by walking at most.
Every student is assigned a mentor beginning in elementary school. If there are not enough mentors, this might be done later, e.g. with joining secondary school. Students must be introduced/acquainted to the mentors in a personal meeting in small groups to get to know each other before being assigned. Typically, a mentor will have several students.
A student can reject a mentor.
A mentor can reject a student. The student then will be assigned another mentor. If a mentor rejects a student for racial issues, he or she might probably not be suitable for being a mentor.
There should be a room in school where you can meet mentors during school's opening hours, so that it is easy for students, teachers or other people to contact some mentors -- not necessarily your mentor, if you are a student -- in case of upcoming urgent problems. The list of local mentors and their contact adresses, phone numbers, e-mail adresses must be available to everyone in the schools respectively and at local administrations and police stations.
For fulfilling their job, mentors may talk about these problems to one another privately or in a mentors' meeting, keeping the state of confidence. To talk about these problems to the parents of a student, the mentor also needs the student's permission.
If a student is arrested or otherwise accused for a crime, police or court IS REQUIRED to INSTANTLY inform his mentor. A mentor must have the right to visit his student in prison as many times and as long as he sees fit. A mentor is required to point out mistreatment or any other incidents against the student to the public.
What a mentor is supposed to do
A student may address the mentor in all school-related and private issues.
Mentors may contact other mentors on behalf of a student to stop bullying or to solve other problems amongst students or amongst students and their parents or amongst students and other people.
A mentor will confer with the student's parents if there are problems in order to solve them.
A mentor will show the student that life is more than drugs, bullying, and problematic ''friends''.
A mentor will offer his students help in understanding school lessons.
A mentor will additionally offer his students to teach them some of his skills, e.g. playing an instrument, drawing, painting, programming, speaking a foreign language, conlanging, shorthand, tinkering with electronics. This is also meant to distract them from problematic behaviour, drugs and problematic ''friends''. A mentor therefore is required to have some skills. A mentor may send his students to other mentors for learning the skills they like to learn, if he is assigned that students, but not able to offer the desired skills.
Every person can contact a mentor to tell him or her about misbehaviour of students against that person or against others. A mentor then is required to find out who it was and what was behind that issue. For that, the mentor is allowed to contact other mentors or to see school records. If this is about another mentor's student, he or she has to contact this mentor on that issue. A mentor is allowed to see criminal records of students, not just of his students, if he sees fit.
Therefore, a mentor must have some real power:
He might require a school to reorganise classes or to take a student out of a class. He also may require a student to stay down a year.
If there are crimes amongst students, judgment on that crimes can only be delegated to a regular court if the mentor's meeting decides so, otherwise, there is no crime. This also holds for capital crimes. (See A.)
At that meeting, the mentor of a certain student is not allowed to vote if a decision has to be made about that student. In a stand-off situation, the mentors may take advantage of fortune.
If it's a public issue, the meeting has to explain the decision to the public. The public is required to trust the mentor's meeting's decision. An issue is considered a public issue, if people outside of school are affected and there already is some public recognition, or issues are that severe that there will be public recognition of that issue anyway, even though only students or teachers are affected, e.g. school schootings. In this case, mentors rather than detectives or psychologists are required to investigate what happened. This may also require to interrogate other students as well. (See B.) As it's a public issue, the mentor's meeting is required to disclose the results of it's investigations, as it doesn't add to mutual confidence if something is suppressed or suspected to be suppressed. This results may be used in a court case if the case is passed to a regular court by the mentor's meeting. The court then should refrain from doing further interrogations, as it will not get better information on the case.
Besides teaching his students some of his skills because of a student's interest, a mentor may require a student to learn and pass an external examination on one or more skills to distract this student form problems/problematic behaviour or friends, or as some kind of ''punishment'' for the student's criminal deeds. So, instead of having the time to bully somebody else, the bully is required to learn a complex skill -- e.g. playing an instrument and/or writing and reading shorthand -- to do something useful. As that skills are required to be complex, the student will experience that he will fail at the beginning -- so that he is not the ''master of all classes'' as he might think about himself --, and that succeeding is only possible if he keeps on learning and practising instead of commiting crimes. If a student fails in the external examination, the mentor's meeting may decide to give the student a second chance or to delegate his case to an ordinary court.
The ''mentors and students'' concept is not to deprive people who really did wrong (initial aggressors) from just punishment, it is to provide some leeway in what is considered ''wrong'' in the special situation of being forced to attend school and experience unpleasant things there, especially things so nasty that you in turn are forced/see the need to defend yourself by means of violence (initial victim/defender).
This is not to protect a criminal from punishment. As they're still under age, it is to give a bully a chance to get out of what he did, iff he sees that he is wrong. (According to my experience, a bully will never see -- but likes to pretend to see -- that he's wrong.) As they're still under age, it is to give a victim of a bullying process a chance for a normal life, even if he did horrible things in order to stop the evil done to him. The bully is the initial attacker, so he is guilty, so why destroy an innocent life who just defended himself?
Note that, usually, things like bullying aren't recognized by religion nor morale, warning signals are misheard or turned against the initial victim. (This is why overly religious people are never allowed to be mentors.) Nobody just does horrible things for a single minor attack, especially not in school age. Parents and other people responsible for minors fail in protect them, care for them, even so they are responsible. So, if there are horrible deeds among youngsters, there are ALWAYS adults guilty on what has happened, too.
When it comes to bullying, our usual Western morale can't be applied unless you'd like to distort it beyond recognition.
Bullying is like AIDS in attacking the weak parts of Western and Christian morale.
Bullying is to deliberately undermine Christian and Western morale: As open violence isn't allowed -- and would get punished -- the bully resorts to frequent, hidden, often non-bodyly violence to reach his goal of wielding power over his victim.
Actually, human societies are required to rethink what should be considered a criminal deed in the light of what now is called bullying. If somebody is bullied, he or she is attacked by others again and again and again in an often hidden, targeted way, mentally as well as bodyly. Neither religion nor (in many countries) normal legislation provide a way out of that. Parents often don't understand what happens and behave totally wrong, destroying their families. In America, guns are easily available and are intended to defend yourself. So, when a victim of bullying shoots down its bully, how can that be wrong? How can that be a crime?
Either a (single) student is interrogated at the mentors meeting or makes his/her statement/testimony in front of a small group of mentors which make a protocoll for the mentor's meeting, or his mentor writes down what the student says and reads it out loud in the presence of the student at the mentor's meeting. The testimony will not be disclosed, to protect the student. A student is required to tell the truth. If he or she lies, this is considered a major crime done by the student, and for this crime, there will be no way out. So, if it is required to interrogate several students, there will be several hearings, so that one student does not know what the others say. If there are inconsistencies in what different students say, interrogations may be repeated. The mentor's meeting is required to take the results of the interrogations into accont. If the case is delegated to a court, the court may or may not decide to disclose the students testimonies. (Should they be made anonymous or not?)
An interesting site for further reading: www.stopbullying.gov
Feel free to post this anywhere you like, but provide reference to this website.
Meine Autorenseite bei XinxiiAn unusual approach to aviod bullying: