In my life, I have had two types of prosocial classes. One was at a summer camp for neurdivergent kids and the other was in Special Ed. One huge difference between them, and this is very important, was the summer camp taught the kids to stand up to bullies whereas the prosocial classes in Special Ed taught complete submission to neurotypicals. The prosocial classes in Special Ed that I took were a sick joke. All they did was list behaviors associated with neurodivergents and people with intellectual disabilities and told to not do them. There were no social skills or language skills or anything. The general message was that anytime you make someone uncomfortable, you are the one in the wrong and must obey. The college I went to had the same message.
Now, there are problems with the effects on self-esteem, self-worth, and general mental health of their method in addition to the fact that it didn’t teach social skills like eye contact or how to open a conversation and didn’t contribute to the best way to keep neurodivergents from discomforting people: immersion by making friends and learning social rules organically. The greatest problem was it was a system that would, among other things, drive at-risk neurodivergents into the manosphere. It was an edgelord factory. If they must leave any social group that rejects them and are not allowed to defend their own dignity then they’ll descend into the metaphorical dungeon.
The system’s answer is to never have kids work out their own problems and always report any problems to authority. The authority’s response to a report of one student mistreating another is almost always to keep the students away from each other. The kids are not being taught conflict resolution or standing up for themselves. The reason for this is fear among the administrators of losing control of the students and opening themselves up to liability. If anything should ever happen to their precious royal baby, the parents will sue and try to roll the heads of the school.
The purpose of the prosocial classes was not to give neurodivergents social skills but to keep them behaved enough until they graduated so they wouldn’t pose a risk in terms of the school’s liability. The most common way I was bullied was “circus monkey” bullying where my lack of social awareness would be exploited to have me perform for people’s amusement. It is very common for people with disabilities. They schools I went to could care less about that since if the victim is unaware they are being bullied and are consenting to it then there is no risk of liability. Yet, and this happens because development happens, if the student becomes socially aware enough to stand up for themselves that may offend the bullies and therein lies the road to liability issues. If the bully is offended enough by being stood up to, they can report their victim for behavior issues and get them in trouble.
In more traditional bullying, counter-snitching is a major issue why victims can’t report serious bullying. It’s, kind of, an obvious issue but the issues of the disabled are only germane to the attention of the authorities if they threaten the institution. In the end, the school doesn’t care what happens to these people as long as it doesn’t come back to themselves. They could set up systems that would abate counter-snitching as a bully’s tactic to act with impunity but that would involve diversion programs for misbehavior and not punishing all supposed misconduct. The school wants to be able to publicly declare they punished all reported cases of misconduct so no blood is on their hands.
Perhaps, other means of holding institutions accountable than lawsuits should be availed to the parents of students and there should be less vindictiveness among parents to avenge their children in incidents of minor emotional harm. Because, if the institution is afraid of being punished for hurting people’s feelings, it creates a system where conflicts and problems cannot be resolved. When living under the metaphorical gun, in an air of life or death and fear, cooler heads and science cannot prevail. If minor behaviors issues become the subject of a lawsuit against the school because those issues offended someone or hurt their feelings, there is no room to socially help the disabled.