Truth Frequency Radio
Nov 16, 2014

www.independent.co.uk_2014-11-16_14-44-17Rose Troup Buchanan

An English teacher in Norfolk has banned the word “banter” from his class in an attempt to tackle bullying.

Mike Stuchberry, who is originally from Australia, claimed that children were using the phrase to legitimise bullying, as the children would often shrug off discipline about their behaviour with the explanation: “It’s just banter.”

Writing on his blog, Mr Stuchberry, who teaches at Lynn Grove High School in Great Yarmouth,  Norfolk, said: “Through repetition and the magic of social media, banter has become an acceptable, friendlier-sounding term for bullying.”

Mr Stuchberry said to The Independent: “I’m not being draconian about the ‘ban’. I just call kids on their use of the term. They have to think about the impact that their words may have. I see that they understand that they’ve crossed a line and my classroom is a nicer place as a consequence.”

Comedian Jack Whitehall (centre) in BBC3's 'Bad Education'The teacher said that he was surprised at the strong reaction he had received as a result of the blog – although most of it was positive. He “I figured that not giving students an easy excuse for their poor behaviour was a no-brainer. Every country on earth has their local variant of ‘banter’ and I thought that teachers would be used to calling students out on this tactic.

He wrote on his personal blog that banter was an acute form of “victim blaming”, explaining: “‘It’s just banter’ makes it seem as if the problem rests with with the person who has suffered the insult. The kid on the receiving end is further marginalized because they don’t get it, they’re not part of the joke.”

‘Banter,’ meaning ‘the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks’, was popularised by TV shows and films such as the Inbetweeners or Bad Education, with the term gradually expanding outwards to include progressively more adult and increasingly hurtful behaviour.

Mr Stuchberry’s decision has been applauded by anti-bullying charities and foundations.

Carrie Herbert, founder of the Red Balloon Learner Centre Group, which helps victims of bullying, said to the Daily Mail she agreed with his assessment of the danger of the word: “It is used to mask really unpleasant, hurtful behaviour, as if it is just a joke.”

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