|Posted by MSOA on April 27, 2009 at 10:25 AM|
There are several reasons why we established our No-Meaness Policy. We learned quickly that kids aren’t born angels. No one is born angels. We also saw that a little leaven, leavens the whole lump. If we do not address wrong behavior, it will spread like cancer, killing everything wonderful about our school. We learned that red flags can’t be ignored. Kids need help in the area of kindness.
1. Negativism: We learned many problems stem from a negative attitude. I’ve met people who tend to look for problems. They look for imperfection. If you fail to reach the mark of perfection, you are deemed a failure. Rather than dealing with the problem head on, they share their unhappy feelings with others. A negative spirit destroys relationships, friendships and good organizations. The negative person is like a rain cloud. If you hang with them for a length of time, you too, will get wet. A negative spirit is contagious. There are some, who find pleasure in (negative) venting. They feel that they have been cheated or hurt. They usually see themselves as victims.
Staff, parents or students who persist in a negative spirit will be asked to leave MSOA. We want to protect the unity of the school. It is our desire to promote a positive atmosphere where students, volunteers, and teachers feel safe.
2. Gossip: Negative spirit usually ends up gossiping. One unhappy camper wants to spread his misery elsewhere. Usually it builds, like the game ‘telephone’. It is far from the truth and is only the gossiper's perception. Someone said, if you tell a lie over and over, sooner then later you’ll believe it. We like a juicy story, but the juice is nothing more than poison to our souls.
Mostly, it is hurtful towards the victim. It is a form of bullying. The person who gossips is recklessly messing up another person’s life. I have learned in life that if you listen to someone who gossips, know that you might be the next victim. In most cases, I have found this to be true.
We emphasize the wrongness of gossip to our students. We have given them ways to divert gossip tales. For example, let’s pray for the person, right now…or, I don’t think we should be talking about them. This problem is between you and them. BUT…once they tell you, you are now involved. I remember someone telling me a secret about someone. I then told them that I was now responsible to talk to the pastor, unless they took it to the pastor (it was a serious offense). They spoke with the initial person, and the problem was resolved. Thankfully, I did not have to get involved. Another time, I heard a criticism about my pastor. I said to one of the Church members that they should not be talking to me, but to the pastor. That it was gossip. I had no idea that there was a underlying negativism gossip going about the pastor. The woman took it to the pastor and the whole matter was brought to the light and cleared up.
MSOA sees gossip as a mean-spirited act toward another person. For this reason, they can be dismissed from attending MSOA. If the gossiper confesses and repents, making appropriate apologies, they can be reconciled.
3. Slander: Gossip turns into slander. Slander is lies about another person. It is basically, murdering another person’s character. Jealously and a bitter spirit is usually behind a slanderous spirit.
Before believing lies about someone look at the source where the slander is coming from. Take a look at the slander's life. Do they tend to gossip? Do they enjoy venting? Do they tend to be negative? Where and how did they get their information? What is the character reference of the people they spoke to? How long and well did their references know the victim? Do they keep short accounts or are they record keepers? Do they have a problem with forgiveness? There is no need to investigate, unless it affects your relationship with the person being slandered. The problem is, it usually does.
Before embracing slanderous statements about someone, consider the victim's heart. Look at their whole life. Everyone blows it at times. Talk to people who have had a long history with the person. Don’t believe everything you hear. Always remember there are two sides to the story.
MSOA will NOT tolerate anyone who slanders. It is a mean-spirited action and the person who slanders will be dismissed.
4. Bullying: Name calling, put-downs or teasing is a form of bullying. Students upon the third incident will be asked to leave MSOA. Students or Teachers are not allowed to torment another student and/or instructor. Words like shut up, for example, are not acceptable words at MSOA.
5. Mean-spirited: Students, teachers or parents who are considered mean-spirited in using inappropriate language, mean conversation, or anger will be dismissed. Students will be warned. Teachers or volunteers will be terminated.
6. Physical Abuse: Hitting, pushing, or any inappropriate touching is a form of bullying. Students and staff can be immediately dismissed for physical abuse. At the same time, we realize we have adolescent boys who are playful. They do not realize that pushing sometimes leads to shoving. For this reason, there is a no physical contact requirement. Boys will be warned, and upon the third warning will be dismissed.
7. Red Flags: I tend to ignore red flags. I prefer to believe the best in people. I hope that love will conquer all. Because of this, I have missed red flags. I’ve seen them, but hoped against the odds they would just disappear. I am learning that when I ignore red flags, I pay the price. For this reason, all red flags will be discussed by the school board and will be dealt with. The President of the school has the executive power to dismiss any person, committee, or program under the MSOA leadership… that is divisive, or yields red flags, which threatens the vision or philosophy of MSOA.