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  1. 1. March 15, 2011 The Classroom Chronicles Obamas Focus on Anti-bullying Efforts WASHINGTON — President Carl Walker-Hoover in To disseminate information from Obama poked fun at his own big Massachusetts; their families the government, the president ears and funny name on Thursday, have since become advocates announced a new Web site, but all in the service of a serious for bullying prevention. Page In October, the Title subject as he and Michelle Obama Education Department‘s Office of opened a White House conference The conference, at a time when Page TitleRights sent educators a Civil to spur anti-bullying efforts in the president and his advisers letter explaining their legal duties schools and communities are dealing with budget fights in to protect students from bullyingPresident Obama and his wife, Page TitleMichelle, met with students and nationwide. Congress and upheaval in the based on race, ethnicity, disabilityparents on Thursday in the Oval Office Middle East, underscored the or sexuality. In December,as part of an anti-bullying conference. ―If there‘s one goal of this power of the presidency and the Page Title Education Secretary Arne conference, it‘s to dispel the myth presidential residence in raising Duncan, who heads the that bullying is just a harmless rite awareness of issues. It also Page Title administration‘s efforts, sent of passage or an inevitable part of highlighted the steps that can guidance to state officials on growing up,‖ Mr. Obama told address those issues, short of Page Title resources and best practices. about 150 students, parents, legislation, regulations or teachers and advocates of executive orders. Mr. Obama singled out several Volume 1, Issue 1 prevention measures gathered in young people at the conference. the East Room.― ―You have a partner in the Among them were two sisters, White House,‖ Mr. Obama said. Sarah and Emily Buder of With big ears and the name that I California; they read about a girl have, I wasn‘t immune,‖ he In separate sessions after the with epilepsy who was taunted at added. ―I didn‘t emerge Obamas left, participants a school in another town, and unscathed.‖ shared approaches on how to encouraged their friends to write prevent, recognize and punish her letters of support. While Mr. Obama elicited bullying, including harassment .Ultimately the girl received chuckles with that memory, he on social-networking Web sites. thousands of letters from all over and other participants also the country, which became the recalled examples from more The conference was an basis of an antibullying book, recent and tragic stories of young outgrowth of an effort among ―Letters to a Bullied Girl.‖Inside this issue: people who killed themselves six cabinet agencies that began rather than endure further abuse last August with a session at the (An Excerpt from The New York Times)New Jersey Cracks Down on 2 from classmates, often for being Education Department to gay or for being thought to be gay. promote cooperation betweenCyber bullying 3 government and The audience included relatives of nongovernment players,Can Meditation Help 3-4 two 11-year-old boys who had including the National PTA andCyber bullying & You 5 committed suicide in the last two MTV. years, Ty Field in Oklahoma and
  2. 2. The Classroom Chronicles Page 2 New Jersey Cracks Down on Bullying New Jersey on Thursday year, lists harassment, what role the video may have enacted the nation’s toughest intimidation or bullying as grounds played in Mr. Clementi’s suicide, law against bullying and for suspension or even expulsion news coverage of the episode harassment in schools, three from school. It applies to public gave added impetus to efforts to and a half months after the schools, and portions of it apply to enact laws against bullying and suicide of a Rutgers University public colleges. harassment. A Rutgers University student drew national attention (pictured above) to the issue. A bill had been in the works since student committed “No question, that tragedy and a suicide after 2009, but it gained momentumVolume 1, Issue 1 string of other suicides in the fall Page Title harassment at school. The law spells out a long list of last fall. It passed both houses of by school kids gave it requirements, including the the Legislature on Nov. 22, with Page Title momentum,” said State Senator appointment of specific people just one dissenting vote, and Gov. Barbara Buono, Democrat of in each school and district to Chris Christie signed it into law on Page Title Middlesex County, a prime run anti-bullying programs; the Thursday. The New Jersey School Page Title sponsor of the bill. “The idea is investigation of any episodes Boards Association endorsed the just to make the climate of starting within a day after they law, concluding that schools could Page Title “This is one of the school one of tolerance and occur; and training for largely carry it out with existing respect.” great civil rights teachers, administrators and resources. Page Title school board members. laws in New Jersey Forty-five states have laws Superintendents must make “This is one of the great civil rights history…” against bullying, and New Jersey public reports twice a year laws in New Jersey history, and to has had one since 2002, detailing any episodes in each have a fairly conservative including a 2007 amendment school, and each school will Republican governor sign it sends covering cyberbullying. New receive a letter grade to be a resounding signal to other Jersey becomes the fifth state to posted on its Web site. states,” said Steven Goldstein, adopt a new law in the past chairman and chief executive of year; New York was among the The law, which goes into effect Garden State Equality, a gay rights others. at the start of the next school group, who was involved in drafting the law. “It’s also a major “Other states have bits and achievement for bipartisan pieces of what this New Jersey governance in New Jersey.” law has, but none of them is as Sarah Warbelow,; state legislative director at the Human broad, getting to this level of On Sept. 22, Tyler Clementi, a Rights Campaign detail, and requiring them, step freshman at Rutgers, jumped to by step, to do the right thing for his death from the George students,” said Sarah Warbelow, Washington Bridge; three days state legislative director at the earlier, officials have said, his Human Rights Campaign, a roommate surreptitiously national gay rights group. Many streamed video of him in an states, she said, do not even intimate encounter with another offer the protections of the man. While it remains unclear 2002 New Jersey law, which
  3. 3. Page 3 Cyber bullying Young people are using the most often Need do Know:their What Kids they to know What Parents Can Do Internet more than ever and victims. Never give out personal information Keep your home computer is a busy most have Internet access online, whether in instant message area of your house. from home. For many profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or Set up email and chat accounts with children, the Internet isnt personal websites. your children. Make sure that you simply a convenient way to Never tell anyone but your parents know their screen names andA child victimized with cyber bullying research or a fun afterschoolafter a video of her being attacked your password, even friends. passwords and that they dont includewas posted on the internet. activity - its a big part of any personal information in their If someone sends a mean or their social life. Emailing and threatening message, dont respond. online profiles. Page Title chatting with friends are Save it or print it out and show it to Regularly go over their instant childrens most common an adult. Pagemessenger "buddy list" with them. Title online activities, after Never open emails from someone you Ask who each person is and how studying and playing games. dont know or from someone you Pageyour children know him or her. Title But like many other social know is a bully. Print this list of commonly used Page Title situations, some kids bully Dont put anything online that you acronyms in instant messenger and other kids online. wouldnt want your classmates to Pagechat rooms from the National Center Title see, even in email. for Missing and Exploited Children and post it by your computer. Cyber bullying is similar to Dont send messages when youre Page Title ―Dont send angry. Before clicking "send," ask Discuss cyber bullying with your other types of bullying, yourself how you would feel if children and ask if they have ever messages when except it takes place online received the message. experienced it or seen it happen to youre angry. ― and through text messages someone. sent to cell phones. Cyber Help kids who are bullied online by not joining in and showing bullying Tell your children that you wont bullies can be classmates, messages to an adult. blame them if they are cyber bullied. online acquaintances, and Emphasize that you wont take away Always be as polite online as you are even anonymous users, but their computer privileges - this is the in person. main reason kids dont tell adults when they are cyber bullied. Can Meditation Help School Bullying? School is often stressful for A recent report of frequent school. As educators seek The (US) National Center for students who have a hard bullying in American schools ways to increase compassion Educational Statistics has brought national attention and empathy among students, estimates that one third of to the stressors commonly many are finding that students ages 12-18 are bullied faced by teens—stressors that meditation offers promising, at school and online. In all many parents and teachers are measurable results for tackling socio-economic levels, unaware of. Society is the underlying stressors that schools are experiencing struggling to understand how give rise to bullying. heightened security concerns atypical adolescent peer and acts of violence. pressure has escalated into The Problem of Bullying vicious student behavior at High divorce rates among
  4. 4. The Classroom Chronicles Page 4 … Can Meditation Help School Bullying? parents, violent entertainment, Hundreds of public and and drug abuse by youth— private schools throughout the A recent study, conducted by the even the use of prescription US and around the world have University of Connecticut, found anti-depressants—are benefited from a program of that 106 at-risk adolescents in suspected of contributing to Quite Time, [1] where three high schools reduced levels the problem. However, these students have the option to sit of stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, factors are now being quietly for a few minutes or to and emotional problems when recognized as symptoms of an practice meditation to relieve underlying cause: the stress. ‗It‘s like a washing epidemic of stress in our machine, says Jody, aVolume 1, Issue 1 society. meditating student at a Detroit Page Title high school previously A promising solution: stress- plagued by violence. Page Title free schools Disturbing thoughts wash away. Page Title Page Title … Can Meditation Help School Bullying? Page Title practicing the Page Title Transcendental According to Dr. William Effective meditation can Meditation technique over Stixroud, ―when the nervous also help strengthen a period of four months at system becomes settled and children that are typically ―A promising school, as compared with quiet during meditation, the victims of bullying by controls. [2] The TM stress response starts building self-esteem and solution: stress-free technique is an effortless, operating normally. As a resilience to stress. Research schools.‖ non-religious meditation result, children are simply studies have demonstrated that is easy for students to less impulsive.‖ The process that the TM technique not learn and practice at of quieting the mind and only reduces stress, it school or on their own. body through the increases inner happiness, Transcendental Meditation and results in improved technique increases flexibility, social ability, coherence between the two and confidence. [4] When hemispheres and the front adolescents practice and the back part of the mediation they tend to find brain. [3] ―More integrated approval from within rather brain functioning improves than needing it from the the ability in children to outside, which leads to control their impulses,‖ says greater independence, less Dr. Stixroud. ―They get in influence from peer trouble less; they act pressure, and less abusive Children participating in group without thinking less; they behavior. meditation. can inhibit the tendency to get distracted better.‖
  5. 5. Page 5Are you a cyber bully?Are you a cyber bully?Often, people who are victims are also bullies. Before you feel too bad for yourself, take the quizbelow to find if you, too, are part of the cyber-bullying problem! Rate yourself on the followingpoint scale according to if, and how many times, you have done the below activities. Give yourself0 points if you‘ve never done it, 1 point if you have done it 1 or 2 times, 2 points if you have doneit 3-5 times, 3 points if you have done it more than 5 times.Have you ever...___Signed on with someone else‘s screen name to gather info?___Sent an e-mail or online greeting card from someone‘s account?___Impersonated someone over IM or online? Page Title___Teased or frightened someone over IM?___Not told someone who you really are online, telling them to ―guess‖? Page Title___Forwarded a private IM conversation or e-mail without the permission of the other person?___Changed your profile or away message designed to embarrass or frighten someone?Title Page___Posted pictures or information about someone on a Web site without their consent? Page Title___Created an Internet poll, either over IM or on a Web site, about someone without their consent?___Used information found online to follow, tease, embarrass or harass someone in person?___Sent rude or scary things to someone, even if you were just joking? Page Title___Used bad language online?___Signed someone else up for something online without their permission? Page Title___Used an IM or e-mail address that looked like someone else‘s?___Used someone else‘s password for any reason without their permission?___Hacked into someone else‘s computer or sent a virus or Trojan horse to them?___Insulted someone in an interactive game room?___Posted rude things or lies about someone online?___Voted at an online bashing poll or posted to a guestbook saying rude or mean things?Now calculate your total score:0 – 5 Points: Cyber SaintCongratulations! You‘re a cyber saint! Your online behavior is exemplary! Keep up the good work!6-10 Points: Cyber RiskyWell, you‘re not perfect, but few people are. Chances are you haven‘t done anything terrible andwere just having fun, but try not to repeat your behaviors, since they are all offenses. Keep in mindthe pain that your fun might be causing others!11-18 Points: Cyber SinnerYour online behavior needs to be improved! You have done way too many cyber no-no‘s! Keep inmind that these practices are dangerous, wrong, and punishable and try to be clean up that cyberrecord!More than 18: Cyber BullyPut on the brakes and turn that PC/MAC/text-messaging device around! You are headed in a verybad direction. You qualify, without doubt, as a cyber bully. You need to sign off and think aboutwhere that little mouse of yours has been clicking before serious trouble results for you and/or yourvictim(s), if it hasn‘t happened already!
  6. 6. The Classroom Chronicles Page Title Page Title Page Title Page Title Page Title Page Title “Children are our most valuable resource. “ -Herbert Hoover