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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Stop Bullying ... a discussion and more resources

Stop Bullying ... a discussion and more resources

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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I am working with two groups on Bullying. The Born This Way Foundation ( by Invitation of Cynthia Germanotta) Lady Gaga's mother and the SITE.org President, Mike Searson (We have a Facebook Grant to develop a Pre-service Curriculum for colleges and universities)..Gathering the the information has taken me to the Symposium at Harvard and two a set of conferences that had so many resources from the government and link to resources that are free. The main site is StopBullying.gov. It was refreshing to hear from the agencies and to get the ideas from juvenile justice, physicians, social workers. How do we help the bullied and how do we treat the bully? Here is a blog that I wrote that tells some of the story of the DC Inii, Federal Partners Initiative http://thepowerofus.org/2012/08/16/preventing-bullying-federal-partners-... I share it here because the students invited at both events were Middle School Students who took an active part in the programs. At the February event, the students worked with Lady Gaga herself. The topics were similar and the BTW foundation was a part of this outreach as well. We also , the adults, participated in discussions and feedback. IT was quite a culturally rich gathering that included health professionals, Juvenile justice perspectives and a contest that is starting for students, videos for community use and understanding and toolkit resources for teachers. The discussion also include what many schools omit and that is the discussion of LGBT students and bullying behavior and students with disabilities. It was a rich experience and a total learning event for me. The BTW foundation funded the Harvard event.

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Jessica's picture
Jessica
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

Thanks a lot for this post! You have discussed a very common problem which most of the students at a young age face. It is important for adults to participate in these kinds of discussion, so that they can teach their children not to be a part of a group who like bullying disabled children.

Linda Guarducci's picture
Linda Guarducci
Independent Producer of Short Films - influencing positive behavior

I'm attaching blog hat has affect me in a way that most people don't practice anymore. It was written by Gregory D. Goyins graduate student at Chapman University.

THE FOUR PERCENT
In uncorking the backstory for the characters in The Dead Kid, specifically Frankie, I ran across a lot of research on the "new" phenomenon of bullying. Doctors and scholars and teams of sociologists had all done extensive studies on the long term problems with "this" and the short-term effects of "that" as it relates to the effects of harassment of children by their peers. Considering the sum total of their work, I have to admit, I didn't know how I felt. There seemed to be a simple enough solution, education, but despite their best efforts the problem seemed to be getting worse instead of improving. As a father, I was concerned, as a male, I was conflicted and as a believer, I was morally ambiguous. Then I read this statistic: "1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% percent of the time." and I got angry. Not at scholars or school administrators or even teachers. I was mad at myself.
As a young boy and one of only a handful of African-American families growing up on the "all-white" side of town, I was intimately familiar with the notion of being bullied and discriminated against. It wasn't as turbulent as the mid sixties, the civil rights movement had succeeded but our schools, despite what the history books might say, had only recently desegregated. As a result, I was chased home from school daily. I was called names. I had rocks thrown at me because of the color of my skin. But I was no martyr for the cause, I had my share of fights with others, with those who were older, stronger and were able to solicit help in greater numbers.
But, back then, neighbors interceded. Teachers squashed quarrels. Average citizens broke up fights and dispersed onlookers. The police were rarely involved and if they were, they escorted you back to your house to give your parents an earful. And no kid wanted this; it never went well. I am certain officers heard plenty of screaming mothers and yelping youngsters on their way back to their squad cars. There were harsh conversations from concerned parents to other more oblivious ones. Behaviors were corrected. Kids were shown understanding and compassion from complete and utter strangers. People took the time to speak into young lives like mine. They shared their experience, strength and hope with us and corrected our ways of thinking and relating to each other. I am a better person for it. It's the way things were done then.
When I grew up, it was a different time. The entire community around us, raised us. It wasn't the sole responsibility of our parents. Nor should it have been. It was not just our teachers, our clergymen, policemen and business owners that raised us. It was a collective, communal effort. After all, these children were to be future leaders of the community and hopefully, with some hard work on everyone's part, perhaps the nation. Back then, we, as a society, were under the beautiful delusion that it took an entire village to raise a child. This made sense in the 70s'. And it still makes sense today.
That opening statistic is alarming, it means something. It makes a boldly, distressing statement. If teachers today believe that it's ok only to intervene in episodes of bullying 4% percent of the time that means something's sadly changed. It means we've lost something along the way. That means there's been a glitch in the societal mechanism for quite sometime and we've been sleepwalking our way into our present situation. I know it's hard to come to grips with, hard to believe that our generation is responsible for this sort of attitude, this philosophy. And while it's hard to accept that somewhere between the mad rush of the rat race and our want of keeping up with the Jones', our generation had forgotten those simple acts of communal kindness, take comfort in the fact that even I, the recipient of that benevolence, had forgotten. I guess we assumed that since we survived our childhood relatively unscathed, it's our belief that bullying is an normal part of growing up, that it's ok if our children go through the same "rites of passage", the same "gauntlets of torment". Needless to say, it's not ok. And it's not OK with me. Something had to be done. I understand that The Dead Kid is a small movie, about a small town, with a small problem but it is meant to be illustrative of something larger. Things were not always this dire. At one time, in the not so distant past, we did treat each other kinder. We need to get back to that.
But now, neighbors don't come out of their houses to break up fights. Shopkeepers and businessmen protect their wares by any means necessary. Teachers no longer correct poor behavior for fear of ramifications. Yes, it's different now. There is no commune or consideration or "villages raising children". On a mass scale, there is only the "I" wrapped securely in a blanket of self-preservation. And Fear. And fear is winning in a landslide. Call it apathy, call it self-centeredness, selfishness, indifference, what have you but our generation did not give back to our communities what was so freely given to us. We didn't. And there's no one left in the room to point the finger at. We did this. I am certain this accusation is to be met with a lot of posts to the contrary. I further know that I should "speak for myself" and therefore, I will.
To those that have been bullied as a result of my self-absorption and egoism, I apologize. The Dead Kid is my endeavor to do better, to open the lines of discourse, on race, on tolerance, on community. I refuse to side with those of my generation who would not react on your behalf 96% percent of the time. I would not be where I am, if someone had refused to intervene for me. As present and future members of our global community, you are owed that. To pay a kindness forward done for me long ago, I owe you my experience, my strength and my hope. I am here (g.goyins@thedeadkid.com), I will listen.

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