We have faced several high profile events in this country which have placed the topic of bullying in the spotlight. This combined with the fact that technology is quickly changing how kids bully one another, has put pressure on schools to do something to stop the problem.The first victim, 11-year-old Carl Walker Hoover, a sixth-grader at the New Leadership Charter School, hanged himself in Springfield on April 6, 2009 after being extensively tormented by his peers. Hoover endured daily taunts of being called "gay," though he did not identify as homosexual. The bullies repeatedly threatened to beat, even kill, Hoover. One year later, in January 2010, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, a "new girl" at South Hadley High School, committed suicide after struggling with repeated bullying. As a new arrival, Prince was bullied by a group of classmates, dubbed the "mean girls" by Massachusetts newspapers. Prince's bullying was not limited to school grounds but continued through threatening text messages, as well as on the Internet, as she was taunted with slurs such as "Irish slut" and "whore" on Twitter, Craigslist, Facebook, and Formspring. And in September of this year, Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the GW bridge after being exposed on an internet chat sight by his college roomate.
TIME magazine ran a story entitled Bullied to Death.In the Week, Rick Hampson of USA Today asked: “Has social networking gone too far?” Our “laptops, webcams, and cell phones” can be wonderful tools for helping us connect with one another, but “they can also be the most terrible of weapons.”The new technology makes that harassment so deadly and so prevalent, said the New York Daily News in an editorial. The anonymity of the Internet “can amplify sociopathic tendencies” in otherwise “normal” people. Worse, it has left the victims of bullying with nowhere to run, and no time to recover, as they know the next attack could come at any moment, day or night, and will reach them wherever they are, via laptop or smart phone.
On May 3, 2010, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed new anti-bullying legislation that its supporters believe will deter school bullies and place greater responsibility on schools to remain vigilant.
Development of Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plans by December 31, 2010 which address the following: Bullying prevention and intervention plans that prohibit bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliationMust include information on reporting, notice to parents and guardians, notice to law enforcement as necessary and counseling strategies and procedures for creating safety plans for victimsMust provide notice and a period of time for public comment The district’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan must be reviewed and updated every other year.A proposed [plan is attached to the task force report.
Public Schools must amend their school handbooks to include a summary of their new Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan by the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. This summary must be written in age-appropriate language. There are also requirements regarding the principal’s duty to report.
Public schools must have an internet safety policy as determined by the school committee in cooperation with the superintendent and parents must be notified. We modified our policy in 2009.
The law provides for bullying prevention instruction for students in each grade to be incorporated into the curriculum. This curriculum needs to be evidenced-based and the school needs to provide parents and guardians with information regarding the school’s bullying prevention curriculum.The Franklin Public Schools has re-introduced a K-5 Health Education program, effective for the 2010-2011 school year. The health program will provide comprehensive instruction in social competency skills and will include bullying education as an integral component of the curriculum. In the middle school health program bullying is addressed through the curriculum in place for students in grade 6, 7 and 8. The Franklin High School health curriculum includes the topics of bullying, dating violence and tolerance education.When the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) releases updated heath frameworks a team of administrators and teachers will revise our local curriculum documents to reflect the DESE requirements. While awaiting the release of these documents a team of health educators have been extensively researching and reviewing a wide range of curriculum materials and instructional tools to support the implementation of the standards in our K-12 program.
In addition to curriculum interventions and explicit classroom instruction, the Franklin Public Schools supports a variety of extracurricular initiatives to raise awareness and educate students, parents and community members on the impact of bullying.Programs Include:No name calling weekOpen Circle is a comprehensive, grade-differentiated social and emotional learning program for grades K-5 children, their teachers, administrators, other school staff, parents and other caregivers. The mission of Open Circle is to work with school communities to help children become ethical people, contributing citizens and successful learners. By helping schools implement Open Circle, we foster the development of relationships that support safe, caring and respectful learning communities of children and adults.Research shows that when schools take specific steps to improve school climate and encourage positive interactions among students and staff, they can significantly reduce bullying.
Advisor-Advisee Program at all three middle schoolsBest BuddiesTeen Angels and Wired Kids Clubs at all three middle schoolsStarted in Spring of 2009Consisted of 7th graders and 8th graders from three core middle schoolsTraining is done on teenangelstraining.org With our training we complete modules revolving around predators, staying cautious, social networking and moreThe modules are usually reviewing forums, watching videos Parry has created or reading stories posted on the site which have important facts, evidence and tragediesTo earn our wings, which means we officially are Teenangels, we must complete required modules throughout the year and give presentations on topics we are passionate about (for instance our presentation was news bulletins about kids talking and attempting to meet strangers from interaction online and we also have a Text Think Send Pledge)We focus on increasing awareness of cyberbullying, textbullying and give people hope and options on how to prevent this and spread the word
Our teen angels developed a slide presentation for the School Committee, visited with Rep Vallee at State House, and went to Washington, DC to meet with kids from around the country to raise awareness about cyber-bullying.Memorable AccomplishmentsText Think Send PledgeVisited the state house to voice our concern to Rep. Jim ValeeWent to some elementary schools in Franklin to hear about cyberbullyingWrote a group letter in memory of Phoebe Prince to Seventeen magazine (was not published)Developed skits we showed at Wiredkids Summit
Franklin seen as caring community. Students opened up at program.Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for one of the most life-changing school programs in America. Powerful video/audio footage of Rachel's life and the Columbine tragedy holds students spell-bound during a one hour school presentation that motivates them to positive change in the way they treat others.This is followed by a separate interactive 90 minute training session involving both adult and student leaders that shows how to sustain the momentum created by the assembly. The assembly creates the “want to” or desire for positive change. The training session teaches the “how to” and ensures that the positive impact will continue. That evening the Rachel’s Challenge speaker conducts a powerful session with parents and community leaders. This session is similar to the assembly program and ends with a specific challenge to parents and community leaders, showing them how they can reinforce the decisions their youth are making. Entertainers, politicians, sports celebrities, educators, and even two Presidents of the United States have been impacted by Rachel’s Challenge. However, students are the target audience and they have proven that they will respond with positive words, attitudes, and actions. Your school will never be the same after being exposed to Rachel’s Challenge!
Best Buddies Clubs at MS and FHSPeer Mentors- FHSPeer Leaders-FHSGay Straight Alliance-FHS
Schools and districts must provide ongoing professional development to increase the skills of all staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying. The content of such professional development is to include, but not be limited to: (i) developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying incidents; (ii) developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents; (iii) information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying; (iv) research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been show to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment; (v) information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying; and (vi) Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying.
IEP process facilitates development of an educational plan with goals and objectives that teach students with disabilities to advocate for themselves and how to challenge bullies.
In its Safe Communities / Safe Schools Fact Sheet, the Center for the Study andPrevention of School Violence (2008) uses three criteria to distinguish bullying fromother occurrences of misbehavior or isolated cases of aggression:1. It is aggressive behavior or intentional harm-doing.2. It is carried out repeatedly and over time.3. It occurs within an interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power.Thus, a student is bullied or victimized when he or she is the repeated target of deliberatenegative actions by one or more students who possess greater verbal, physical,social, or psychological power.
Electronic communication shall include, but not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.
The new Massachusetts anti-bullying statute is, to some extent, goes beyond the school grounds. And some civil-liberties lawyers are concerned that the laws are too vague. TheMassachusetts law, for instance, defines one form of bullying as ―repeated use‘‘ of a written, verbal, or physical act that ―causes physical or emotional harm to the victim.‘‘ But by that standard, said Gavi Wolfe, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, a student who calls another student ―loser‘‘ twice on the school bus and hurts the youngster‘s feelings could qualify as a bully.In crafting policy, the School Committee should consider the myriad of legal cases and balance the issues surrounding bullying prevention efforts with constitutional limitations onschool officials.
One morning in May 2008, an eighth-grader walked into her school counselor‘s office at a Beverly Hills school crying. She was upset and humiliated and couldn‘t possibly go to class, the girl told the counselor. The night before, a classmate had posted a video on YouTube with a group of other eighth-graders bad-mouthing her, calling her ―spoiled, a brat and a slut. Text and instant messages had been flying since.This incident, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times, is all too familiar to school officials throughout the country. It‘s referred to as cyber-bullying, and it highlights the much debated problem of identifying and limiting the authority that a school has over the online expression of its students. In the Beverly Hills incident, disciplinary action was taken by the school district resulting in the suspension of the girl responsible for posting the offensive video online. The suspended student took the case to federal court, saying her free speech rights were violated.Judge Stephen V. Wilson of Federal District Court found that the off-campus video could be linked to the school: J. C. told perhaps 10 students about it; the humiliated C. C. and hermother showed it to school officials; educators watched it and investigated. But the legal test, was whether J. C.‘s video had caused the school ―substantial‖ disruption. In his 60 page opinion, Judge Wilson said the school went too far:To allow the school to cast this wide a net and suspend a student simply because another student takes offense to their speech, without any evidence that such speech caused a substantial disruption of the school‘s activities, runs afoul (of the law). . . . The court cannot uphold school discipline of student speech simply because young persons are unpredictable or immature, or because, in general, teenagers are emotionally fragile and may often fight over hurtful comments.There was clearly a “nexus” to the school here, but not sufficient interference with rights of others
This case went against a 14-year-old Pennsylvania junior high student. She mocked her principal with a fake MySpace profile. The 2007 profile insinuated the principal was a sex addict and pedophile. On appeal, the 3rd Circuit noted that teachers complained that, among other things, the profile disrupted the classroom because students were talking about the profile rather than paying attention to class. The court declined to say that simply because the disruption to the learning environment originates from a computer located off campus, the school should be left powerless to discipline the student.
The other case also decided by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the same day found in favor of the perpetrator.In 2005, the Pennsylvania high school student was suspended 10 days after he created another mock MySpace profile of his principal. The profile said the principal took drugs and kept beer at his desk. It also referred to the principal as a ―big steroid freak,‖ and a ―big whore,‖ among other things, and stated that he was ―too drunk to remember‖ the date of his birthday. The appeals court and a federal judge overturned the suspension, ruling the fake profile was not created at school and did not create a ―substantial disruption‖ at school.Judge Terrence McVerry found that even though the profile was unquestionably lewd, profane and sexually inappropriate,‖ the school did not have the right to restrict thestudent‘s speech because school officials were not able to establish that the profile caused enough of a disruption on campus. The mere fact that the Internet may be accessed at school does not authorize school officials to become censors of the world-wide web,‖ he wrote.VACATED, reheard with J.S. 6/3/10. Bullying presents a variety of challenging legal issues. A murky trail of legal cases and decisions have left school officials wondering what to do. Within the documentation are extensive samples of issues that have reached the courts. Some examples provided include the use of technology or electronic communication, written, verbal or physical acts of harm that have caused disruption in the educational environment. The courts have been inconsistent in their handling of bullying cases. A perfect example of the indecisiveness of the courts is reflected within the cases of: Layshock v Hermitage School District and Snyder v Blue Mountain School District.To date the courts have been divergent in their interpretation of disruption in the educational environment.
Harassment is considered a crime if: Over a period of time the defendant knowingly engaged in a pattern of conduct orseries of acts involving at least three incidents directed at the alleged victim. Those acts were a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantialemotional distress. Those acts did cause the alleged victim to become seriously alarmed (not justannoyed). The defendant did the harassing actions in a willful and malicious manner (an act iswillful if it is done intentionally, not by mistake. An act is done maliciously if it isdone out of cruelty, hostility, revenge, or other wrongful motive.)HARASSMENT"°Three or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific personcommitted with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to propertyand that does in fact cause fear, intimiciation, abuse or damage to property;
According to Nansel (2001) bullying is noted as the most frequent form of school violence. According to the Department of Education, 25 percent of American students are bullied at least once a day. Yale Professor Young-Shin Kim found that bullying victims are almost six times more likely to contemplate, attempt, or commit suicide.
Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center Research (MARC) June 2008Data collectedfrom 178 public school educators40% of educators believe students are bullied several times every day50% of educators believe online bullying occurs in 25% of bullying incidents.According to educators students are bullied over the following issues:Weight/appearancePopularity/social status or lack of statusIntelligenceSexual orientationRelationshipsReligionEthnicity
Discipline incidences:Misbehavior on bus: impulsive, some aggression, exclusionFight on playground, hitting, kicking, punching, rock throwing, spitting, pushingArguing/poor sportsmanship during recess gamesName callingBathroom misbehavior (climbing on sinks, throwing water, feces being smeared, urinating on the floor, writing on stalls)Disruptive behavior in the classroomStudents running away from schoolAssault and battery behavior studentsI’ll kill you statementsForged parent signaturesStealingLyingCell phones Inappropriate language Police involved:Weapon brought to schoolCyber bullyingStudent run awayAdult bully behavior given notice51ACourt ordersSevere behavioral issues
Middle School Bullying Results (Grade 7 and 8 Students)55% of Franklin Middle School students reported being bullied in 2008.44% of the students reported bullying took place in school.36% of students reported they acted as a bully.18% of students reported they were bullied using electronic devices10% of students reported they bullied using technology.38% of males and 33% of females reported that they bullied peers.62% of females and 49% of males reported being bullied.
Name-calling/ also through cyber space...especially with Facebook and Formspring 1. physical appearance (hair color, weight, height, development, etc.) 2. academics/athletic ability (e.g. "sped") 3. race/ethnicity/religion 4. calling people "gay" or "lesbian" Rumor-spreading (often related to sexual activity or homosexuality, drug/alcohol use or sometimes about others' families) Exclusion-asking people not to sit at your lunch table, or be in your group for an activity (often subtle e.g. discouraging them with a roll of the eyes) Physical bullying or physical threats (not common, but there have been incidents of "tripping" others, bumping into someone "accidentally" etc.) Taking or destroying others' property (not common) Targeting a person's vulnerabilities- "going for the jugular"-Webkinz, web toes The "Pay It Forward" bullying model. A former victim joining the aggressor to pick on someone else. Takes the focus off the once victim.
Franklin High School • 37% of Franklin High School students reported being bullied in 2008.• 34% reported being bullied on schools property.• 33% of students reported that they actively bullied others.• 18% of students reported they were electronically bullied.• 11% reported they bullied others using technology.• 22% of students reported they were both victims and perpetrators of bullying.• 42% of females and 32% of males report being victimized by bullies.• 39% of males and 28% of females reported they bullied others.• Substantially more 9th grade students (46%) then 12th grade students (27%) were victimized by bullies.
JI Student’s right and responsibilitiesRight to free inquiry and expressionRight to privacyResponsibility to observe reasonable rules
Good citizenship based on respect and consideration of rights of others.
Incident reported to school personnelIncidents may occur on or off school property.Investigation should consist of, but not limited to the following:.Incident reported directly to Franklin Police DepartmentThe Franklin .Police Safety Division will immediately contact the school administrationadvising them of the incident.The police will conduct a full investigation of all bullying incident reported.The school administration will be kept apprised of all investigations.
Flow chart developed in South Hadley, MA
A professor at the DOE Summit added that 67 different anti-bullying programs exist. However, she added that none of them have been shown to be effective through research. Ironically, some fairly popular strategies can even make things worse. Adding to the challenge, school personnel often grossly underestimate the prevalence of bullying in their schools, and parents themselves underestimate the harm associated with it.
The U.S. Department of Education hosted its first conference on bullying this week, adding the issue to a steadily growing list of education priorities for the Obama administration. Leaders attending the conference tasked themselves with developing and implementing a national strategy that reduces and eventually ends bullying.The conference — an interagency effort by the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Justice, Defense, Interior and Agriculture — is the first of its kind, bringing together government and non-government players in the education field to discuss how to address bullying.Highlights from the conference included the following:Representatives from Dairy Queen, the Cartoon Network, and Facebook talked about ways that corporate America can help form partnerships with local communities and schools to prevent bullying in public schools. You can view that segment by clicking here.A panel led by Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin addressed the impact of bullying and what programs work in combating it. You can view that segment by clicking here.Representatives from the medical and criminal justice communities and teen mentors discussed current programs to help stop bullying in schools. You can view that segment by clicking here.Arne Duncan addressed the Department of Education’s first summit on efforts to prevent bullying in public schools. He talked about ways to end bullying and creating a national strategy to help local communities address the problem. You can view that segment by clicking here.A panel of child development researchers presented scientific research on bullying. Topics included aggressive behavior versus bullying, interventions for bullying, and factors that contribute to a climate of bulling. You can view that segment by clicking here.
Anti bullying task force report2
Franklin Public Schools<br />October 26, 2010<br />Anti-bullying Task Force Report<br />
Other programs at Franklin High<br />Peer mentors<br />Peer leaders<br />Gay-straight alliance<br />
Professional Development<br />Staff will learn:<br />Scanning environments for threats reduces bullying behavior<br />Acting in a responsive manner keeps children safe<br />Fully informing parents, colleagues and administration about incidents raises awareness at home, in school and in the community<br />Effecting a change in student behavior positively impacts school culture <br />Targeted responses to incidences of bullying behavior reduces negative behavior<br />Young children, adolescents and adults can be victims, aggressors or bystanders<br />Training = Safety<br />