I’m grateful that officials at my kids’ elementary school have far more sense than this:
Boys and girls at Sedalia Elementary returned to school Monday with some unexpected changes: They had to play in separate areas during recess and eat at different tables during lunch.
The decision to divide the two groups did not stem from an incident. Rather, the staff at the Groveport Madison school wanted to take proactive steps to prevent bullying and halt disruptive behavior from creeping into the classroom, officials said.
The school, located just southeast of Columbus, Ohio, had to drop its policy due to parental uproar.
So the issue is moot on the practical level, but I still can’t fathom the reasoning behind the policy. Since when is bullying primarily a cross-gender problem in elementary school? Any parent – and anyone who’s been bullied as a kid – knows that it’s mostly a matter of boys picking on boys, while girls make other girls miserable.
The daughter of one of my friends was upset for much of third grade last year because a group of three other girls who she thought were her friends played mind games with her. The Bear had trouble with another boy making cutting remarks about him at the end of third grade. There’s been some broader trouble with bullying among the boys in that class, too, but again it’s been boy-on-boy. One of the boys in the Tiger’s kindergarten class already earned the reputation of a bully, and though he mistreated girls, too, his main targets were other boys. (To our relief, the Bear’s tormenter changed to a different district over the summer, and the Tiger’s classmate is now in a different classroom.)
I’m not arguing that boys never pick on girls or vice versa, just that most bullying takes place within a single gender. And so I’m stumped when I try to imagine what Sedalia was trying to accomplish with gender segregation.
How much do you want to bet, though, that the boys were assigned to the sports fields and the girls to the playground equipment?