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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying

How to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying

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I've been haunted by this story of the South Hadley High School girl who hung herself after 3 months of relentless bullying by her peers. Yesterday, prosecutors announced that nine students were charged with multiple felonies - felonies! The NYTimes story below suggests that this unusually sharp legal response is designed to send a message that bullying - both online and offline - won't be tolerated. We assembled a number of links to help parents, educators and lawmakers in creating a proactive approach to bullying in our schools. If you know of any others, please add them! Michael Pritchard's Lessons from the Heart video: Combining humor and honesty, Pritchard speaks to schools about the effects of bullying and invites kids to share their experiences and insights. It's amazing to watch, esp when he takes his presentations to a tough crowd of urban high school kids. Emotional Intelligence Overview video: A good overview including examples of programs that teach emotional intelligence - from high school, middle school and elementary schools. Features interviews with Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Edutopia blogger, Maurice Elias. Resolving Conflict Creatively Program Educating the heart is teaching a skill, a tool, to help us solve problems. The RCCC program at Patrick Daly school in Brooklyn gives kids these tools, including skits and role-playing, which help them see that constructive options for resolving conflicts. Interview with Daniel Goleman The writer of the book Emotional Intelligence makes the case for SEL in schools, recorded at the annual CASEL conference. Here are some articles, too: "She Used to Be Pretty": Schoolyard Harassment Goes Online (Middle school bullying) Fear Factor: Harassment Hurts 10 Tips for Creating a Caring School Safe Schools Ambassadors Help Keep the Peace on Campus Creating a Safe Place: Lessons on Managing Emotions Pay Off
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Elizabeth Woodfield's picture

This year, in my 5th grade class, I had two girls who were sending each other unkind and threatening text messages (via their cell phones). This was totally unbeknown to me as we were on vacation while this was going on. One of the girl's mothers came to me about it as soon as school resumed. Not knowing exactly what to do, I referred it to our Principal.

It turned out that it is called cyber-bullying and in our district (in Southern California) this is an offense that can be an automatic expulsion. While the girls were not expelled, they were placed on suspension contracts which means that if they misbehave in any way or break any school rules, they can either be suspended or expelled.

It has been really good as one of the girls has been a bully for several years and this year, she is not because of this hanging over her head. While I don't think it will necessarily change her conscience, at least it is not allowing her to be mean on a daily basis with no one intervening.

Kati Delahanty's picture

There are also a few YA novels that deal with suicide and bullying that many of my students have read and found influential:

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Am I Blue?: Coming out from the Silence by Marion Dane Bauer
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

:: We have a great discussion on Bullying in the Middle School:
:: We have a popular poll on "Does the Internet exacerbate bullying?" (it also lists great resources)
:: Resources to Fight Bullying and Harassment at School:
:: Article: Bullying: How Educators Can Make Schools Safer

Pamela DeRossitte's picture

This is all so helpful, thanks to those who are sharing this information. It is crucial that administrators and teachers take a responsible role of leadership in this area of human behavior, instead of looking the other way and mumbling, "Well, kids will be kids." As I make plans to return to teaching I feel so empowered by the information I find on Edutopia. Thanks again.

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