I asked this question earlier on Twitter:
Curious your thoughts…Which sign in school would do more to reduce bullying – “Bullying stops here!” or “Leadership starts here!” – Ideas?
— George Couros (@gcouros) August 23, 2016
First of all, I do not think a sign will significantly prevent bullying, no matter the school. Do we really think a kid will see the sign and say, “I was totally going to bully today but because of that sign, I no longer will!”
I doubt it.
But that being said, it is the the thinking behind putting that sign up in the first place. Do we seek kids to be complicit to the rules of school, or to empower them to do something amazing? This is not to say that any school that has signs similar to this are looking to stifle kids. What I am saying is that in a system that has traditionally looked at compliance as a good thing, we have to be very explicit in our thinking in how we empower our students and look at them through the eyes of the positive, as opposed to assuming the negative.
Now people will say that this might be leading to the “babying” of our society, and make our kids soft. I actually think it the opposite; the expectations are higher. It is a lot easier to not bully, than it is to lead.
One of my favourite quotes comes from Shelley Wright:
Are you asking kids to do something important, or simply not do something?