Prevent Bullying at School Broward College EPI Institute The Teaching and Learning Process EPI 0004 Professor Charlotteaux A Group Project by Amy Mayberry, Susan Foltz, Carol Aleguas and Kedisha Daley
When asked for advice on how to deal with bullying, Barbara Coloroso often quotes an anonymous Holocaust survivor who said, "Pay attention, get involved, and never, ever look away." The lessons we must take from school tragedies over the past several years are the same. Pay attention—bullying occurs in all schools. Get involved—with the bully, the bullied, and the bystander; each has a role. And never look away—grown-ups tend to dismiss bullying, which according to Coloroso is a grave mistake
Students can learn and achieve at optimal levels ONLY if they know they are both physically and psychologically safe at school. Furthermore, if they don’t feel safe they are more likely to drop out before high school graduation.
(Rumberger, R.W. (1995) American Educational Research Journal, 32, 583-625)
“ Bullying” means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees.
It is further defined as: unwanted purposeful written, verbal, nonverbal, or physical behavior, including but not limited to any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, by an adult or student, that has the potential to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment or cause long term damage; cause discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation, is carried out repeatedly and is often characterized by an imbalance of power.
A national study of 15,686 students in grades six through 10, published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 285, No. 16) is among the most recent to document the scope of bullying in U.S. schools.
The journal cited that 17 percent of students reported having been bullied "sometimes" or more frequently during the school term. About 19 percent reported bullying others "sometimes" or more often. And six percent reported both bullying and having been bullied.
Research has shown that those who bully may live in families that teach their children that those in power are also the decision-makers. This can sometimes lead to an external locus of control, and can lead children to believe that their behavior is appropriate unless they encounter someone more powerful.
Students also sometimes become bullies in part through an osmosis of violence from their surroundings. They can learn this violent behavior from their home, their friends, or even the media, though that last is the subject of some debate .
Bully Targets tend to be the same kids year after year. The only physical feature which is predictive of victimization is physical weakness .
Chronic abuse from peers is linked to a wide variety of adjustment problems and negative behavior including depression, anxiety, low self esteem, loneliness, chronic disruptiveness, violence towards others and suicide.
Can be argumentative, pushy, disruptive and irritating
In contrast to girls, boys of any age and ethnic group tend to be physically aggressive Also, research shows that physical abuse tends to occur more often among boys than girls at all educational levels.
Some of the tactics used by boys who bully include:
Name calling, insults
Extortion (frequently of lunch money, and handheld game systems)
Unfortunately, while technology has provided us with the ability to do a lot of things more efficiently, it has also provided bullies with new tools and provided their bullying behavior with a wider audience. Community networking sites like Myspace and Facebook have provided a new platform for bullying behavior, and cell phones and text messages have made it possible for rumors, true or not, to spread like never before through a school or peer group.
Bullying is a behavior that can spread. If one student is bullied and adults in charge fail to step in to help resolve the issue, other students may learn that such behavior will be tolerated. Some of these other students will themselves become bullies, and others will become victims. The culture of the school as a whole can be affected for the worse when bullying is condoned by a lack of action by adults in charge
“ The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
Perhaps 10 to 15 percent of our students will need some sort of intervention to help them interact effectively with peers and teachers. Such intervention cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach but must instead be tailored to students' particular strengths and needs.
Regardless of their nature, interventions are more effective when they occur early in the game - before students go too far down the path of antisocial behavior - and when they are developed by a multidisciplinary team of teachers and other professionals who bring various areas of expertise to the planning table.
Research shows that when a child reaches age 8 aggressive tendencies may already be firmly in place
Experts have identified numerous warning signs that a student may be contemplating violent actions against others. Any one of them alone is unlikely to signal a violent attack but several of them in combination should lead us to consult with school administrators and specially trained professionals about the student(s) of concern
Excessive feelings of isolation, rejection, or persecution
Rapid Decline in academic performance
Poor coping skills
Lack of anger control
Sense of superiority, self-centeredness and lack of empathy
Violent themes in drawings and written work
Intolerance of individual and group differences
History of violence, aggression and other discipline
“ When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
- Harvey Firestone
What to do if Bullying Occurs in Your Classroom:
"As teachers our frequent interactions with students put us in an ideal position to identify those who may need intensive intervention.... Although we must be ever vigilant about indicators that a student may be planning to cause harm to others.. we must never use the warning signs as a reason to unfairly accuse, isolate or punish a student"
As with most situations, teachers need to keep accurate and detailed records of each bullying incident they observe. This can help to not only keep any conferences on track with just the facts and prevent difficulties involving hazy memories, but can also help the school differentiate between an isolated incident and a pattern of behavior.
Your role is to perpetuate the tone set by the school as a strong leader for young people. A leader does not always have the answers to a problem but rather poses the questions. They make it safe for others to make mistakes and help them learn from them. A leader treats the classroom as a stage for learning rather than a platform for performing.
Take the necessary steps to make your classroom a model for cooperative learning.
Destructive behaviors develop in part from a complex web of familial, economic and cultural circumstances. These factors are part of the fabric of life and difficult to attack. Yet strategies that help children develop the resilience to cope adaptively with modern day stresses can be effective and it is there schools need to focus their efforts.
-Collaborative for the Advancement of Social and Emotional Learning.
Broward County School District Policies and Procedures on Bullying:
By August 2011, each school will have a designated school violence and safety liason. This individual will be trained in and will be responsible for disseminating threat prevention training, prevention methods, intervention, and curriculum, for bullying and other issues that impact the school.
At each school, the principal/designee is responsible for receiving oral or written complaints alleging violations of this policy, as with all infractions from the Student Code of Conduct. All District faculty and staff are required and must report, in writing, any allegations of bullying or violations of this Policy to the principal/designee or appropriate area/district administrator. Failure to report will result in discipline, consistent with the collective bargaining agreement provisions, up to and including termination of employment.
The procedure for including incidents of bullying in the school’s report of safety and discipline data is required under F.S. 1006.09(6). The report must include each incident of bullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline, interventions and referrals. In a separate section, the report must include each reported incident of bullying or harassment that does not meet the criteria of a prohibited act under this policy, with recommendations regarding said incident. recorded on the specified data system, as with other infractions from the Code of Student Conduct.
Any student (and/or the parent on that complainant's behalf if the complainant is a minor) who believes he/she is a victim of bullying (or any individual, including any student who has knowledge of any incident(s) involving bullying of students) is strongly encouraged to report the incident(s) in writing to a school official.
Anonymous reports may be made utilizing the Broward County Public Schools Anonymous Bullying Report Form. This reporting form can be found on the School District’s website www.browardschools.com (click on special investigative unit; click on report anonymous tips), at each school’s front office, or at each area/district/department site. Anonymous reports may be delivered to the school administration’s front office, put in the school’s reporting box, or through the Special InvestigativeUnit via their internet website www.broward.k12.fl.us/siu or Emergency/Silence Hurts Tipline at (754) 321-0911.
Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the alleged incident and noted on the specified data system, but must be filed within ninety (90) school days after the alleged incident
The investigation of a reported act of bullying of a student, school-based employee, or other persons providing service to the school is deemed to be a school-related activity and begins with a report of such an act. The principal will document all complaints in writing and through the appropriate data system to ensure that problems are addressed in a timely manner.
Referral of a student to the collaborative problem-solving team for consideration of appropriate services is made through the school problem-solving process by school personnel or parent. Parent notification is required. When such a report of formal discipline or formal complaint is made, the principal will refer the student(s) to the collaborative problem-solving team for determination of need for counseling support and interventions.
School-based intervention and assistance will be determined by the collaborative problem-solving team and may include, but is not limited to: 1. counseling and support to address the needs of the victims of bullying. 2. counseling interventions to address the behavior of the students who bully (e.g., empathy training, anger management). 3. intervention which includes assistance and support provided to parents. 4. analysis and evaluation of school culture with resulting recommendations for interventions aimed at increasing peer ownership and support.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program was initially developed in Norway, and has shown some success in preventing bullying in scientifically designed tests administered in the United States. This school wide program includes conducting regular, usually weekly, classroom meetings in which the class focuses on bullying and other peer relations. This is one reason the program has had limited implementation, as teachers are under pressure to use all the time available to them for content instruction. In order for meetings to be successful, teachers should be skilled in facilitating discussions about student behavior. http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/
Teachers often shrink back from the idea of adding one more curriculum to their list of initiatives, but the STEPS TO RESPECT program helps support some of the critical needs that schools already face: "We have to relate to one another—let's do it consciously. We have to read books—let's get kids reading conscience-raising books [that deal with] getting along with others and problem solving.“ says Barbara Coloroso, (author of “The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander”).
Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me , founded by Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, the organization disseminates educational resources such as the Don’t Laugh at Me (DLAM) programs; one for grades 2-5, another for grades 6-8, and a third for summer camps and after school programs. Through music, video, and classroom activities, the "Don't Laugh at Me" (DLAM) programs help sensitize children to the painful effects of behaviors that too often are accepted as necessary rites of passage in childhood - ridicule, disrespect, ostracism and bullying.
One school in Gloucester, MA has an adult greet every bus each morning to see if there were any incidents needing following up. This approach has proved extremely effective in reducing bullying on the bus.
In Lowell, MA a teacher died after sustaining injuries breaking up a student fight on school grounds. Now after reciting the pledge of allegiance all student members recite this poem:
Fairly consistent evidence suggests that children's bullying behavior can be significantly reduced by well-planned interventions. The chance of success is greater if the intervention incorporates a whole-school approach involving multiple disciplines and the whole school community. The school staff's commitment to implementing the intervention also may play a crucial role in its success. The use of curriculum or targeted social skills groups alone less often results in any decrease in bullying and sometimes worsens bullying and victimization. Caution should be exercised in supposing that antibullying interventions invariably produce the intended results.
Laura Parker-Roerdan, David Rudiweck and Donald Gorton, Direct From the Field; A Guide to Bullying Prevention Sponsored by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dph/com_health/violence/bullying_prevent_guide.pdf
Rachel C. Vreeman MD and Aaron E. Carroll MD, MS, A Systematic Review of School-Based Interventions to Prevent Bullying , Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Vol 161(1) 2007