Jason Wittman - TTRB Proposal  
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Steps towards the goal of Zero Tolerance of Teasing, Taunting, Ridicule and Bullying (TTRB)

Eliminating Teasing, Taunting, Ridicule and Bullying (TTRB) in a school system will take much more than the issuing an edict of zero tolerance. Having such a policy is very important to set the groundwork and tone on which a consistent and concerted effort to achieve the goal of elimination TTRB can be built, but it is only a starting point.

Unlike zero tolerance policies for weapons on campuses where it is one strike and you are out, a zero tolerance policy for TTRB needs to include graduated punitive responses. The responses would be akin to those for misbehaving like talking out of turn and without permission or disrupting a class utilizing the normal progression of sanctions of the particular school (such as admonition, detention, extra assignments, suspension, etc.). The “zero tolerance” is a policy that mandates that ALL incidents of TTRB will be addressed directly in an appropriate manner. Zero Tolerance also must apply to staff and teachers. The adults in the school environment must remember that they always lead by example. When teachers publicly ridicules or humiliates students in front of their classmates, they are modeling and sanctioning the antithesis of the behaviors we are working to eliminate.

Elements of a Zero Tolerance program

  1. Public Education and Awareness Campaign - There needs to be a consciousness raising campaign akin to the ones that accompanied the push for the end to racial prejudice where songs like “You can get good milk from a brown skin cow,” were developed to start the reeducation in pre-school. A poster and slogan campaign that would paint the perpetrators of TTRB as insecure kids who deflect potential criticism of themselves by attacking others might be worth pursuing. An example might use a slogan such as “Bully on the outside=scared punk on the inside,” under a poster graphically depicting that message.
  2. An actual proclamation by the School Board calling for the elimination of TTRB and the zero tolerance of such behaviors.
  3. The education of teachers and all staff, from principals to janitors, on the Policy and suggested ways of implementing it. For this policy to work, it must be administered consistently throughout each school and the entire school system.
  4. The education of the students about the policy and how it will be enforced. It would be important to include the principle that a student turns his/her back on an act of TTRB is an accessory to the act in the same way as one who did not report a violation of an honor code, in schools where that exists, would be.
  5. The actual enforcement of the Zero Tolerance of Teasing, Taunting, Ridicule and Bullying Policy.


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©2001 J. Jason Wittman, MPS