Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stop Bullying Now - (Give Me Your Feedback on this issue)

Click the Stop Bullying Now graphic on my home page to watch animated short stories to learn how KB, Josh, Milton and their friends deal with kids who bully at their school. After watching the Webisodes, use the discussion questions to talk through how you can Stop Bullying Now!

With the start of a new school year right around the corner, now is the time to inform yourselves and your children how to handle the potential problems of bullying.  These webisodes may become very helpful for your young family during the upcoming school year.  

You may have read in a previous post that I said "A special note to all other students who had to deal with bullying during their school year or years, it is your strength that will bring you through the coming years. You don't need to change for them. Never give up on yourself. You are a very important person, no matter what your obstacles may be, don't forget that. Accomplish your goals and dreams despite their actions." This was said because my son was being subjected to bullying at school and on the school bus last year, and I will do what I can to help him and other families deal with an unnecessary problem many schools overlook or downplay the seriousness of bullying. 

What you can Do: 
     In order to reduce bullying, it is important to change the social climate of the school and the social norms with regards to bullying as Stop Bullying Now stated. I say you do not have to handle bullying in silence.  Speak out about it.  Talk about bullying at your PTA meeting and with the principal.  Don't stop there, tell teachers, other administrators, counselors, protect yourself and your child by your notifying the school nurses, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, and other parents.  Do not rely on the principal to do this for you, they want to keep it hushed up.  Notify the school bus company and driver, and have a meeting with them about the situation.  Have the bus tapes pulled so that the school can view the bullying.  Keep on top of the school, and do not accept the answer they didn't view the tape, they had problems viewing it, or they didn't receive it.  You only have a limited amount of hours (each district may be different) to view the tapes.  These other answers are used only to run down your time to prove there is a problem, and then when the time expires, there is no video to support your claim, hence they do not have to do anything about it.  Don't back down.  Unfortunately you have to do their job for them in certain situations to protect your child.  If a punishment is to occur when a bullying incident is found, follow up on it; and Never accept the answer from any school personnel or administrator, "that boys will be boys", or "it's a phase they go through" or "I think he or she likes your child and that's why they are doing this", this will tell you loud and clear that it is now your mission to rectify the problem, for if they said that to you, they are allowing it to happen and it will only continue to happen.  Also do not accept the answer "we didn't have these problems last year, so therefore we did not have any assemblies on it".  Bullying is an ongoing problem, and as Stop Bullying Now states, "there should be no 'end date' for bullying prevention activities. Bullying prevention should be continued over time and woven into the fabric of the school environment.  Anti-bullying messages also can be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.

Fight for your childs' rights.  Don't always trust and believe what the school is telling you, they have a special knack for using very descriptive language for an incident that was not even close to what they told you, because they have to protect themselves at all costs.  Listen to your child and truly listen to what is and is not said to you by the school.  Your child has a better insight than those trying not to get sued and they will always try to blame the parent to take the light off of them and what they did not do to prevent it.

     As a parent, I wanted the bullying to end, but I also wanted the bully to learn about themselves and why they are bullying in order for them to evolve as a person, punishment by the school alone is only half of it as far as I'm concerned.  My wife recommended that peer mediation be done with a twist, that the principal or administrator who handles these issues, be present to facilitate the mediation, to help and assist with the verbal back and forth, and for apologies to happen, showing both are human beings with feelings and they are equal because of it.  Recommend peer mediation with adult intervention at school, also recommend bullying prevention assemblies at school. Don't let the school tell you they can't do that, or they don't see this as a big scale problem, they can do it if they truly want to prevent bullying they should be doing more in preventing it.  Zero children should be bullied and my child had enough self-esteem and it still happened.  

    School rules should be enforced to protect the victim not the bully.  We also suggested more adult supervision on the playground and actually have them watching, watching the hallways and stairwells, and the lines.   Children should feel safe in school not fear going to it. 

  1. Intervene consistently and appropriately when you see bullying. Observed or suspected bullying should never be ignored by adults. All school staff should learn effective strategies to intervene on-the-spot to stop bullying. Staff members also should be designated to hold sensitive follow-up meetings with students who are bullied and (separately) with students who bully. Staff members should involve parents whenever possible.
  2. Devote some class time to bullying prevention. Students can benefit if teachers set aside a regular period of time (e.g., 20-30 minutes each week or every other week) to discuss bullying and improving peer relations. These meetings can help teachers to keep their fingers on the pulse of students' concerns, allow time for discussions about bullying and the harms that it can cause, and provide tools for students to address bullying problems. 
I feel that New York needs to follow Texas by passing a law allowing students who are bullied to be able to transfer to another school or school district.  I would also want the law to require school districts to address the problem in their discipline plan using specific language that prohibits bullying in the code of conduct. What is the school and district going to do to prevent it from happening.  Specific language also needs to be put in the code of conduct for when individual responsibilities not performed by any and all school personnel, administrators and teachers is considered unacceptable and/or their behavior is considered unacceptable and specific language set in place for appropriate disciplinary actions to happen against them.  We would like the District’s code to be revised so that maybe concern with the welfare of the individual and the school community as a whole was truly recognized; and to make a reality promoting a close working relationship between parents, the school and the school district staff; for the school to be able to truly distinguish between minor and serious offenses as well as between first time and repeat offenders of students; to provide timely action on an issue and timely disciplinary responses for staff, administrators, teachers and students, that are fair and appropriate to all of their misbehaviors; to truly have consistency and fairness to both student and parents by school personnel; and to truly have the schools comply with the provisions of Federal, State and Local law; and also to implement new provisions for the Safe Schools Against Violence Act, not just incident reporting.

Click this link to read more information on bullying and what you can do

Information obtained from Stop Bullying Now
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