Monday, November 7, 2011

Behaving badly

The New York Times reports that there is "Widespread Sexual Harassment in Grades 7 to 12." Walter Russell Mead wonders what we would do without such studies:
Teenage boys behaving badly? Via Meadia is indescribably shocked.  But this study may only be scratching the surface.  We also hear distressing rumors that “cool” kids make fun of and belittle others.  “Jocks”, we hear, often mock the lack of athletic prowess of those they unkindly label as “nerds” and “geeks”.  In some schools, there are reports that young people with severe cases of acne are the subject of pitiless mirth.  Middle school, it is rumored, is a particularly vicious social snake pit where cliques of young girls do everything in their power to shame and isolate others who do not meet their standards for appearance and behavior.

Via Meadia is grateful to be living in an age of social science when adults with advanced degrees can give these vital issues the deep attention and scrutiny they deserve. More studies, please, not to mention more polls, more detailed and intrusive regulations, and more sensitivity training. More attention must be paid and more money spent. Immediately.
I've taught in both middle schools and high schools. We don't need studies to tell us that kids in the early teens are probably as uninhibited and as cruel as they will ever be for the rest of their lives. It is, of course, the responsiblity of the adult in the room or the hallway to both teach and enforce civility.

Widespread Sexual Harassment in Grades 7 to 12 Found in Study - NYTimes.com, Shock Poll Reveals: Some Teens Are Mean To Their Peers | Via Meadia