Smith’s one-hour presentation to parents, “Understanding Bullying: What Everyone Should Know” with the subtitle, “Whatever Became of Empathy?” included information about how bullying affects children and how attitudes toward bullying have evolved over the last few decades based on research and experience.
Smith led the presentation by explaining his experience growing up in a rural one-room schoolhouse in Kansas until high school. When schools were consolidated, he said, he ended up at an urban school where there was a tradition of hazing new students from rural communities. On his first day at the new school, a gang of older students forced Smith face-down on the floor, resulting in a broken nose. Smith said the teachers were callous about the violent incident and the incidents that followed. “It’s when I learned to hate,” Smith said….
To combat the disturbing trends, Smith said, parents and schools must take the time to teach manners, empathy, and civility.
By Kiki Evans