Klea Scharberg

Bullying Roundup

For the past month, we here at the Whole Child Blog have been looking at bullying. A school and community that do not address bullying cannot ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education; Penny Bisignano, Olweus coordinator for the state of Iowa; and Rachel Cole Lawson, high school guidance counselor at the Whole Child Award–winning Malcolm Price Laboratory School.

Learn about the roots of bullying with guest blogger Adam Fletcher, student voice expert and author of Frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement, and how effective bullying prevention and intervention requires direct action.

Hear from a 7th grader who plans to make his school a community of respect by addressing bullying with his peers.

Think about the importance of valuing social and emotional intelligence, collaborative problem solving, celebrating differences, and recognizing alternatives to violence and find resources to assist schools with instituting positive climates and teaching peace education.

Read how one Canadian school changed its culture, eventually bringing fighting and bullying to an end in the October issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership magazine.

Find ways to proactively develop a positive school climate from Whole Child Partners the Developmental Studies Center, Character Education Partnership, National School Climate Center, and American School Counselor Association.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter to find more resources, research, and stats, including links to

And, just yesterday, Ellen DeGeneres posted a video about the recent tragedies of gay teenagers being bullied and committing suicide to escape the torment. Watch the video and then find resources on bullying prevention on her website.

October is the Pacer Center's National Bullying Prevention Month. Join them and cosponsors the National Education Association, the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, and the National PTA, on October 20 to raise awareness and shout, "The end of bullying begins with me!" And, in support of National Bullying Prevention Month, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has resources regarding bullying and bullying prevention for families and communities.

The National Crime Prevention Council is also highlighting bullying in October as part of Crime Prevention Month and shares information, training, publications, resources, and more.

Bullying is not an issue that can be focused on for just one month and then forgotten. It is our responsibility to know the signs, intervene, model respectful behaviors, and teach understanding. How do you ensure your schools and communities are safe?

Comments (6)

Kathy A. Parks

October 4, 2010

The content of this blog is certainly interesting to all of us who care about young people and work to instill mutual respect in every situation.  A wonderful set of resources that are proven to succeed are available at in the bullying prevention area.

Explore that site for great resources as well.

Judge Tom

October 4, 2010

After 23 years in juvenile court, I believe teenagers learn from the experiences of their peers. Consequently, “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” was published in Jan., 2010.
Endorsed by Dr. Phil on April 8, 2010, this is the only book available that is written for teens to read about the unintended consequences of mean, thoughtless posts and messages. TCI presents real cases of kids in trouble over their emails, blogs, IM icons, Facebook and YouTube entries and more.
Parents need to “Tech-Up” and kids need to “Think B4 U Click.”
Thanks for looking at “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” on http://www.freespirit.com (publisher) or on http://www.askthejudge.info (a free, interactive website for & about teens and the law).
Regards,  -Judge Tom.

Barbara Gilmour

October 4, 2010

It’s October and we are again observing Bullying Prevention Month.  It seems the problem is getting worse, not better.  Character education was supposed to fix this; it hasn’t.  Legislation in 40+ states is supposed to turn this around; it isn’t.  Maybe we need to entertain a new, proactive approach.

Having spent the last almost 10 years developing Social Skills, Character Values, and Anti-Bullying materials for early elementary age kids, I have seen that proactively equipping kids with the tools needed to reject bullying can result in changed behavior.  We address Early; because the younger new skills are learned the easier it is for them to become the good habits of a lifetime.  Social Skills; because recent research is supporting “Social Competence Training” as the missing link.  Character Values; because if we change kids’ perceptions of right and wrong, we can change behavior.  Anti-Bullying; because we want to prevent bullying, not just address it reactively, after it occurs.

Redefining “cool;” because kids today are bombarded in school, their neighborhoods, and the media with the idea that mean, rude, and disrespectful behavior is cool, and that bullying is cool.  As responsible parents and educators we need to help our children learn that kind, caring, and respectful are cool, and that bullying is the ultimate in uncool.

Through award-winning music, fun characters and activities, we are helping kids grasp the “Cool Kind Kid” Concept; that “The KIND kid is the COOL kid, not the bully.”

Successful pilot studies have demonstrated changed behavior.  Please visit http://wwwCoolKindKid.com

Bullying – Useful Resources « Markpark

October 5, 2010

[...] Whole Child Blog – Bullying Resources [...]

Alan

October 5, 2010

There are so many complex issues to solve about the issue of childhood bullying. The mental health of both the victim and bullies is an important element. Also important is the aspect of bystander awareness and support.

I explore this and share stories of bullying incidents and issues on my website: http://bullyinglte.wordpress.com
.

Hopefully, together we can help battle the bullying epidemic that plagues us daily in our society.

M.njaga

October 23, 2010

Lets address the real Problem: why we are missing the mark on bullying.

By Mucheru Njaga.
Author of Patch: Assumption is a crime.

I was a bully.

I didn’t plan on being one. In fact, before then, I was a victim of bullying. As a freshman in a all boys boarding school, I along with all of the junior students served at the behest of the “Prefects”, a small group of senior students. They ruled our school with a heavy hand and had more powers than the teachers. They bullied us physically and mentally , once we had to jump on our knees, other times they banned us from wearing pants and limited us to shorts to serve as a constant reminder to who we are. Verbal humiliation was an everyday occurrence as well.

Four years later, I became a “prefect”, a bully and part of a system I once despised. We would raid the freshman area in the middle of the night and make them follow whatever we ordered them to do at 2am or face severe punishment. We called them names in front of the dinning halls and used them as practice dummies during rugby games.

All of this was acceptable – condoned by the school faculty at the time because the “Prefects” were seen as the guardians and mentors of the young students. Today the danger of bullying and its impact on our society is finally shaking many people awake. Many groups and organizations have made significant steps in our fight against bullying but there seems to be a growing number of bullying related deaths in America and the world.(STATISTIC)

So where’s the disconnect? Why are we letting this happen?

Where does bullying start?

In our efforts to address this growing problem, we tend to focus more on the end result of bullying rather than why it starts. The kids we recognize as bullies and vilify as the aggressors could easily be our very own children or next door neighbor. In other words, for every victim, there is a perpetrator, and I set out to find out what turns a lovable kid or teen into a bully. For the last couple of years, I compiled a case studies I believe could be a catalyst in our bid to stop bullying.

Throughout my entire experience, I noticed the common motivation behind bullying is fear. As a victim, I was afraid to fight for what I knew was right and as a bully, I feared loosing the tight grip of power I held. It is this fear that keeps things status-quo and continues the cycle.
The same basic principle plays out in schools today. Bullying is almost always a direct or indirect by product of fear. “Fear” of being labeled, “fear” of being uncool, fear of being seen as weak. Most of not all instances of bullying are rooted on fear. Sadly, it is this fear that prevents kids from living a free life, where they are free to be different, to be gay, to love a certain kind of music or activity, to be themselves.

So how does true change take place?

Define bullying with your kids and talk it out: For teens public perception has a substantial influence on their daily decisions. We need to clearly explain to kids what bullying is, how to spot bullying tendencies within themselves and how to avoid acting them out.

Take away the cool factor:

Show kids that bullying stems from fear, and we could effectively render bullying as an “uncool” deed. The largely successful anti-smoking, “Truth” campaign and the anti-drug, “Rise above the influence” campaign ads help significantly reduce those habits among young people. A well executed marketing campaign endorsed by a popular teen celebrity that showcases bullying as an unacceptable act can help garner attention for the cause.

Be aware of tendencies towards bullying developing in kids:
Educators, parents and children alike must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of bullying before the problem gets out of hand. If there is a widespread understanding that fear is the underlying emotion perpetrator of the bullying cycle, those who observe a child who exhibits signs of fear and insecurity can spot a problem early on and raise concerns.

Encourage self reflection:

Talk with children who are bullying others and encourage them to consider their behaviors. Often, another problem is bubbling beneath the surface and it is necessary to determine the rot of the behavior in order to fix it. Since this self-examination can prevent those problems form manifesting into something more harmful, the earlier it takes place, the better.

Promote open communication about bullying problems:

We have to change the way kids view talking to adults and authority figures about bullying issues.  Kids are often worried about “snitching” and the negative perception of telling adults when they are having these types of problems. We must convince them that it is brave courageous and admirable to put an end to the situation instead of remaining silent.


Mucheru Njaga is the author of “Patch: Assumption is a crime”, a young adult novel based in his personal experience with teen bullying that encourages debate and discussion among teachers, parents and students.

http://www.patchthebook.com
http://www.mnjaga.com

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