More must be done in schools to instil respect for others

Michael Gove has called on teachers to do more to stop the ‘viciousness and personal cruelty’ of online bullies. He wants websites that post their taunts to be held to account.

Teachers must do more to stop online bullies like those responsible for the death of 14 year-old Hannah Smith last month. She was told to drink bleach and cut herself by users of the Latvian-based website, the Daily Mail reports.

The Education Secretary suggested that enough isn’t being done in the classroom to instil ‘respect for other human beings’ and teach pupils ‘the right values’. “Why is it that among some young people there is a desire to show a degree of viciousness and personal cruelty which is horrendous? Part of that comes from making sure that we have the right behaviour and discipline policies in schools and that we teach our children the right values,” he said.

Mr. Gove said that technology has created a new arena where bullying can take place and that it is important that websites which allow bullying are held to account: “One of the things we can do is use effective publicity to shame those who are allowing that sort of activity to exist on sites. But we need to ask a series of questions – not just about how this technology can be used to inflict suffering on vulnerable young people. We also need to ask about the motivation of those young people who are using these sites.”

NAHT’s Russell Hobby described cyber bullying as an ‘age-old threat given an intrusive new reach by technology’ and said: “We need to teach children how to protect themselves and how to behave online. It can be done and is being done in many schools.”

Is the Education Secretary right to call on schools to do more to prevent online bullying? Should he be urging parents to combat it as well?

9 thoughts on “More must be done in schools to instil respect for others

  1. Seriously! When is this guy going to wake up and realise we aren’t these children’s parents and they have to be responsible for bringing their own children up!!!

    Also when would he like us to do this? Why not stick a brush …….. And I’ll clean the floor when I teach (sigh)

  2. Gove said it: “We must teach our children the right values”. That means it is the parents’ job, not that of the schools.
    Nowadays it seems that far too often teachers are being required to make up for parental deficiencies; if people choose to have children, then they need to take on all of the responsibilities that involves, too. If their children behave in an antisocial way, then the parents need to be taught that it is they who should take the blame; government funding needs to be directed at helping parents to cope better and young people should not be treated as if they were adults at the age of 16.
    How often have we read crime reports saying that some crime was committed by “A young man of 16 …”? – No, he’s NOT a man, he’s still an irresponsible child and his parents should not be allowed (encouraged?) to give up on his discipline, although clearly many would need help to understand how to bring up their child to be a responsible citizen, who did not bully or abuse others, but was instead a useful member of society.
    Mr Gove needs to think a little more deeply before rushing into facile judgements and then demanding yet more of the teachers that he and his ilk are expecting to right all of society’s wrongs – a teacher’s job is to teach, while families should be responsible for socialisation.

  3. Well done Mr Gove. What about parents that bully and harass staff with personal professional comments? Parents not all some parents lead by a negative example. Where is the protection for staff? Protect staff and they can protect pupils.
    Look at Facebook even their closed groups become public when items are printed out or sent to others.
    Expect governors and counties to lead the way give them the power to act.

  4. Mr Gove seems to identify a problem but not deal with the cause. The ones who post such things need to be dealt with and the websites themselves need to be held accountable. If there is no legislation for abuse online then there should be- if a website allows this to happen it should be stopped. Not sure how teachers can stop vicious, vindictive children. Teaching them to respect each other is good but what about parental responsibility, what about media influence, what about the greed and money orientated society in which we live in, what about the media’s bullying of celebrities and hounding people who are famous, what about positive role models? Moreover, the inner character of a person cannot be altered by education- the last century with all its educated wars and killing should have taught Mr Gove that! If there is to be a change in the outward behaviour of people then they need to be changed from the inside. Education is of the mind behaviour comes from the heart!

  5. I understand the role of teachers in instilling good values in children. However Mr Gove needs to stop picking on teachers and call on the families to instill good values in their children. There will be no change until parents start to sing from the same hymn sheet as the teachers.

  6. The minister of education (why is he called ‘secretary’ ?) IS right. DO not stay neutral.

  7. How about schools do more to prevent homophobic bullying? They don’t seem to be doing anything at all. Some schools even promote homophobia by not allowing discussions on alternative sexuality.

  8. I agree with Gove that teachers should take on part of this role. A teacher’s job is to impart knowledge and the way in which they do this will have some influence on the way young people behave. I see it as a shared role between parents, teachers and other factors in a young person’s life.

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