Bullying
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Scholarly Article 1- Bullies and Bullying

Scholarly Article 1- Bullies and Bullying | Bullying | Scoop.it
Bullies and Bullying written by Jennifer Ralston discusses the widespread problem of bullying, its impact on children being bullied, how bullying is seen as a factor causing the bullied to become v...
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is a scholarly article, called "Bullies and Bullying" by Jennifer Ralston who discusses how dangerous the impacts of bullying can be for the victims.   The main idea behind this article is the connection behind the horrific Columbine shooting and school bullying.  In addition, she also addresses that the attitude toward bullying as a social norm should change.  Ralston argues that bullying is not just an issue, but an epidemic, causing "160, 000 kids a day to skip school for fear of being bullied."

 

I chose this article to curate because her arguments are based off of facts and through this scholarly article, the devastating and extreme results of bullying are depicted.  Her writing argues against the attitude that bullying is "a social norm that represents a rite of passage into adolescense," such as what John Daly said, "that being teased and kids being jerks is something every student must go through."  I also think it is so important to emphasize the range of effects on students who experience bullying.  Some students may be able to tolerate it, shut it out and ignore it whereas other students let it consume them and don't move past it.  Bullying is such a personal attack that no one can understand how it will affect someone.

 

When explaining what happened at the Columbine shooting, Ralston writes " While in school, the two boys were seen as outcasts and ostracized. The two seniors were characterized as being anti-social and inclusive. They were constantly teased, picked on and tormented by the school’s athletes and other students. Due to the constant torment, the two students went into a deep depression and hatred towards the school and wanted to retaliate against it."  Their attack on the school left 12 students and 1 teacher dead along with 24 students wounded. Ralston concludes that "Due to these types of school bullying, tragic events like the Columbine shooting occurred."

 

Reading this article breaks my hearts, makes me angry yet also motivated to bring about change in the future school I work in.  It is so unacceptable that students were bullied to the point that they thought a massacre of this type would bring them revenge and justice.  The Columbine students were an exceptional case of bully victims who chose irrational and worse behavior to compensate for the torment they went through.  Niether the bullies nor the victims were right or justified in their actions; they were both incredibly and unreasonably cruel. I have to wonder what did the staff at that school and parents do about the bullying?  Did their parents take John Daly's standpoint that what they went through wasn't bullying but the typical stuff every kid encounters?  Did the teachers react the way they did in "Bully" and say they cannot do much or make the two kids shake hands and that's it?  Could actions have been taken at the school or by the parents to stop this from happening, and if so, it is imperative that parents and school staff begin to take those measures.  

 

Ralston concludes this particular by writing something that I could not agree with more, "Ralston believes that bullying is a “learned behavior”, so she recommends the implementation of bully prevention programs geared to influence and change the social norm of bullying. That means, bullying is seen as a rite of passage that every teenager goes through in their adolescences. Therefore, we need to change the mindset that bullying is “normal” and address the issue of bullying like it really is, an epidemic."  Bullying is not normal nor "something every kid goes through."  

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A Teacher's View on Bullying - crunchycarpets.com

A Teacher's View on Bullying - crunchycarpets.com | Bullying | Scoop.it
This past Wednesday Amanda Todd of Port Coquitlam, B.C. ended her own life because of bullying she faced.  The local media, quite rightly, is asking serious questions about how this could have happened and how we as a society should deal with it.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is a blog written by an elementary school teacher named Kerry Sauriol that discusses bullying from multiple angles.  She has been a victim of a bully, a teacher who sees bullying and a parent who worries for her children about bullying.  I curated this piece because I think she combined a lot of angles of bullying in a really effective way-from a teacher's, victim's and parent's point of view. She also discusses how social media now plays a new role in bullying that is even harder to discipline or know about because it takes places outside of school, which is an important new aspect of bullying that must be addressed.  She provides several anecdotes that provide specific instances of bullying that support her ideas and depict situations that allow her audience to feel for these victims.  

 

Her article supports the idea that bullying is a "learned behavior" as suggested in Jennifer Ralston's "Bullies and Bullying."  She believes that our job as adults is to set an example of how to deal with people we do not like or are "annoying." Sauriol writes, "Who knows what children overhear adults saying about people they don’t like, but they do hear it because they repeat it at school, on the playground and now on the internet." Because they most likely first heard it from an adult, they think it is okay to repeat because the student who was "annoying" them.  She talks about how most bullies feel justified in their actions because that student did something to them first or annoyed them.  The bullies from the NPR interview reported similar reasons to why they bullied-because that student did something to them to deserve their bullying.  I think this makes a lot of sense, even thought it is very sad.  I think most children do not know yet how to take the high road so they need to see more adults doing it.  In my experience with a bully, she told me that she thought I knew she was kidding the whole time.  She said this in front of the principal so she may have been lying to avoid more trouble, but I think that is the essential idea of Sauirol's article.  When confronted, bullies say they did not think it was a big deal or it wasn't wrong because they were justified.  I agree with this author's suggestion that adults need to not only teach children how to deal with people they do not like, but model it for them consistently as well as continue to educate students about the harms of bullying.  

 

I was relieved when I read this article from a teacher's perspective because some of my previous reactions toward teachers were very harsh.  Sauriol says that, "Bullying often happens at recess or lunch, out of the prying eyes of supervising adults, and it is usually insidious with whispered put-downs or threats rather than overt physical aggression. Often the only way teachers become aware of an issue is when a student tells on the bully or frustrated parents come to the school."  After hearing her perspective, I can understand more why teachers  cannot do more because most of what they hear is "he said, she said" stories so they cannot tell what really happened.  However, I do not believe this is an excuse for teachers to take.  I would suggest that if bullying happens during recess, lunch or on the bus, there should be more adult supervision at those activities.  Also, teachers should be incredibly aware of incidents that come close to bullying so she can keep an eye on them to ensure it does not escalate.  

 

In terms of Amanda Dodd's bullying through social media Sauriol writes , "There have been comments posted on line that it was her [Amanda Todd's] fault that she exposed her body on-line and she had to deal with the consequences of her actions. I’m sure that the person who made the comment doesn’t see him or herself as a bully, but it is that very mentality that will guarantee that bullying will continue. We blame the victim rather than show compassion for people. We hold grudges rather than forgive. Why do people feel threatened by weakness?"  I was really happy and proud that a teacher wrote this because it IS the mentality that perpetuates bullying.  The mentality that this person deserves it.  This also angers me.  Up to this point, too many victims of bullying have paid for whatever mistake they made over and over again, and some even paid with their lives.  When will the bullies start to feel the consequences of THEIR actions?  I think it is really important to teach students that two wrongs do not make a right. I am so glad that Sauriol pointed this out because I do not think I would have to come to this conclusion.  I think that if we can tackle why some children believe that others "deserve" this awful treatment, we have a better shot at combating bullying no matter how wrong we believe the bullies to be.  Interviews such as the one done by NPR attempts to better understand bullies, which is really important in preventing them.  

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Living in the Moment

Living in the Moment | Bullying | Scoop.it
The Best Response For When Anyone Bullies Your Kids Some young boys from Bridgewater show they are truly wise beyond their years when they rally around a boy who was being teased.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is an inspring tale about an elementary school football team who took a stand to protect one of their team mates.  Danny, the bully victim, is the water boy on the team who wears a suit and tie to school every day.  He was born prematurely and suffered from a brain hemorrhage that impaired his speech.  Some of the team members heard that he was being picked on so they all wore suits with ties to school to express their love for Danny, and this team of 45 fifth graders will not tolerate anyone picking on him.  It was a peaceful yet meaningful protest that displayed maturity and courage.  

 

I was so inspired and moved by this story, and I honestly cried a little.  This story represented what I imagine my future classroom to be like and ideally, all schools and students.  I chose this as one my curated topics for bullying because this spoke to me as the ideal that we as educators should fight for in schools.  I reacted with so much pride and hope after seeing this video.  I think this video shatters the notion that "kids will be kids so it is okay for them to be mean" because here are 45 kids who don't approve of picking on someone so adults shouldn't either.  These kids demonstrate that kids aren't inherently mean as the expression "kids will be kids" implies; these kids show that they know the difference between right and wrong.  Also, these are fifth graders so there is no excuse for middle schoolers, high schoolers or adults to act less mature toward the issue of bullying.  This act also shows the progress of all the programs set up to educate students about bullying and the potential they have to improve schools. Students as young as fifth grade, not only identified bullying but found a peacful and productive way to speak out against it.    

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Facebook launches anti-bullying tool - SiliconBeat

Facebook launches anti-bullying tool - SiliconBeat | Bullying | Scoop.it
Facebook launches anti-bullying tool
SiliconBeat
The bullying prevention hub is designed to help teen victims, parents and educators address bullying on Facebook, while offering tips for handling bullying both online and in real life, NPR reports.
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John Daly: Do we over-educate our children about bullying? | Moms - Greeley Tribune

John Daly: Do we over-educate our children about bullying? | Moms - Greeley Tribune | Bullying | Scoop.it
John Daly: Do we over-educate our children about bullying?
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This article is written by John Daly who presents the idea that in the hopes and efforts to educate children about and prevent bullying, schools, teachers and students have begun to overuse the word.  He suggests that the word's overuse will hinder children's ability to solve their own problems, deal with adversity and tolerate people they do not like.  He uses examples from his own son's schooling experience.  There were instances in which he got calls from the school that his child was a bully and where his child was victim to a bully.

 

I found this article very surprising especially because it was written by a parent.  Parents tend to be the most protective people in a child's life who are the first to cry bully and want punishment enforced.  He says in this article, "I believe that it's important for children (as they grow) to learn how to resolve disputes on their own. In some cases, that resolution ultimately comes in the form of tolerance or avoidance. As we all know, dealing with adverse situations and less-than-pleasant individuals is something that we end up having to do throughout the rest of our lives."  I understand and acknowledge his perspective; students should learn to tolerate people they do not like and learn to stand up for themselves, in theory and in an ideal world.  However, I think there is a very fine line between his suggestions for students to work things out themselves and the attitude that the staff in the documentary "Bully" used.  Certain students, especially those with low self-esteem and difficulty socializing, will have a very hard time dealing with this adversity.  I also think that there is a big difference between dealing with someone the student does not like or agree with and dealing with someone who calls them names, makes faces at them, pushes them and purposefully makes the school day more difficult for them.    

 

He explains that his son has complained to him that a boy in his class has done all the actions listed above yet the author of this article does not think that is bullying. To him, "It sounds like the typical jerk-stuff that we probably all experienced at one time or another while growing up."  I think that by taking this attitude, we run a serious risk of a overlooking severe situations that we think will just work themselves out.  Because so many adults take this attitude, children are afraid to come forward to tell them how afraid, hurt and discouraged they are by the bullies.  These pent up emotions would even be a lot for an adult to handle so children feel helpless and alone, which leads to harmful and devasting behavior such as what was exemplified in the documentary "Bully."  

 

I appreciate this author's perspective because it is very important to distinguish what is bullying and what is just two children not getting along.  Students need to be guided in social sitations, even if it is learning how to say you don't agree or like what someone is doing.  No, I don't think in every scenario an adult should get involved, but anything that is even close to bullying should require adult attention immediately.  I completely disagree with taking the attitude that "kids will be kids."  Even in bullying's mildest form, it needs to be stopped because it can always get worse.  In my opinion, it is impossible to predict how a child will react to someone picking on them every day.  Some students may have thicker skin and some students may sit silently every day until they take violent action against others or themselves such as the Columbine shooters, Jameya from "Bully" who brought gun on the school bus she was teased on or Tyler Long who killed himself.  At what point do we stop standing up for bullies by saying they're "just beings kids" as if that makes their hurtful and dangerous behavior acceptable?  As a teacher, I hope to teach my students compassion, fairness and to have good character so letting them behave in ways that decrease all of those traits should not be tolerated on any level in any way or in any grade.    

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Bully (2011)

Bully (2011) | Bullying | Scoop.it
Directed by Lee Hirsch. With Ja'Meya Jackson, Kelby Johnson, Lona Johnson, Bob Johnson. A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This heartbreaking yet motivating documentary focuses on several victims of bullying; some made it through while two tragically decided to take their own lives.  The victims and their families discuss the traumatizing experiences, and the documentary shows how school officials responded to accusations and instances of bullying.  

 

I was completely appalled and outraged by what happened to these victims but especially by the actions of the school officials and students who stood by watching without taking a stand.  I never thought that school officials would take the attitude that they did in this documentary.  When the vice principal was told that there was a teasing situation between two boys during recess, she made them shake hands afterwards and seemed to believe that a handshake would fix months and months of one student picking on another.  When the victim refused to shake hands with the bully, she did not discipline the bully or even talk to him about his inappropriate behavior.  He walked away and it was the victim who got lectured.  I was so angry as I watched that interaction; I thought the school administrator would know better than to try to actually solve a problem between two teenagers without discipline or discussion yet simply a handshake. How naive! In addition, this same adminstrator told a parent there was "not much they can do" about the terrorizing of their child on his bus ride home other than to "put him on a different bus."  I was completely outraged that she had said that because as educators, it is our job to do something to protect the children in our care.  When a young boy comitted suicide because of bullying at his school in Murray Country, all administrators claimed that bullying was not an issue in their schools.  I believe that they wanted to save face because they did not want his death on their hands, but they owed those boys and their families action.  

 

I reacted very strongly and personally to this movie because when I was in middle school and faced a traumatizing experience that included a girl relentlessly harassing, teasing and making up rumors about me, I went home and told my mom who called the school.  First thing the next morning, I was called to the principal's office to talk with the girl.  The princial gave her the most stern talk I had ever heard.  She told her that "if she hears one more peep about this situation, she will take it directly to the school board, and the step after that will be her expulsion."  That may not have been true, but it scared the girl enough to make her stop, and she got lunch detention for a month.  We stayed in the office for the first two periods talking it out.  After that, the girl never spoke to me again, we never became friends, but she never said anything mean or nasty to me again.  I was never once told that I needed to suck it up or learn to handle it myself.  I was never asked to shake her hand and pretend everything was fine such as in this documentary. I was never told "kids will be kids" when I could clearly see that I was the only one she picked on.  I was lucky, but I know how terrifying and embarrassing it is to be a victim so imagining how these kids went through it without support from the school breaks my heart.

 

I think bullies should be held accountable for their actions.  The "kids will be kids" excuse, used several times in this film, is simply not acceptable.  "Kids will be kids" if and only if adults do not teach them any better, and it is a teacher's job to show them better. Is it not a teacher's job to teach social skills? Is it not a teacher's job to teach kindness and compassion? In a town hall meeting hosted by the parents of Tyler Long, one of the suicide victims, a community member stated that "If bartenders are responsible for what happens if someone drinks and drives, then bullies should be responsible for what happens to their victims."  I think that administrators' passive attitude toward bullies teaches them it is okay to treat people however they want because "they're just being kids," and they only get a slap on the wrist or a note in their discipline folder, which is exactly what happened to bullies in this film.  I was sickened to hear that the boys who bullied of one of the suicide victims wore ropes around their necks the next day of school and no teacher nor principal nor administrator told them to take it off.  What kind of lesson in humanity, kindness and respect does that teach students? Alex, one of the bully victims, was teased and harassed every day on the bus, and he did not want to tell school officials because they did not do enough to stop it.  When he told the assisstant principal that she did not help him last time, she argued that after she spoke to the bully, "he never sat on Alex's head again."  Alex replied back that instead the bully did plenty of other awful things instead to which the principal had no reponse.  This needs to change. Victims everywhere deserve justice and bullies need to learn that actions have consequences.  The movie ends on an inspring note encouraging other students to say something and stand up for others facing bullies, which I hope every single viewer to stand up next time they see something that is not right.

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Former Bullies Share What Motivated Behavior

Former Bullies Share What Motivated Behavior | Bullying | Scoop.it
In Georgia, Tyler Lee Long killed himself because he could no longer endure his bullies.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

This is a radio program hosted by National Public Radio and Rosalind Wiseman, the author of "Queenbees and Wannabees" that explores the stories of previous bullies, and why they did what they did.  Wiseman offers insight behind what these bullies say and how it relates to the child bullies of today who she works with.  Before the hosts begin taking calls from former bullies, a representative from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Aileen Dodd, shares the story of Tyler Long, a bullying victim who took his own life.  He is also one of the main stories featured in the documentary "Bully."  Once they start taking calls from former bullies, the callers mostly reported that they were bullied, abused or bothered by the students first so they were lashing out to make themselves feel more powerful after their own mistreatment.  One caller even bullied the radio talk show hosts!

 

I was shocked by the reaction of the caller named Mary because she was incredbily rude on the phone, interrupted the interviewers and neglected their questions and comments by repeatedly saying that she is a bully and always has been.  Something that really stood out to me was when she said "I don't want to be a bully.  It's something that I hope I grow out of someday."  The other bullies all admitted that they regret bullying others and that they grew out of it, but this caller admitted that she still uses bullying people weaker than her as a way to feel stronger.  I cannot wrap my brain around this.  However, I think these radio interviews are crucial in understanding and preventing bullies.  As a future teacher, I want to protect every one of my students, even from each other.  But maybe with students like Mary, they do not know how to interact with other people positively and their low self-esteem makes them want to bring others down to their level.  I think this is really important to know as a teacher to create activies to promote individuality, confidence and self-esteem in students.  Even though Mary was very mean on the phone, I felt sorry and lonely for her after hearing her story because if you do not know how to positively interact with people, it can be very hard to make friends.  

 

A lot of what these bullies said such as the caller named Laurel supports the ideas Sauriol discusses that bullies think their victims deserve the cruel treatment because they did something to bother or annoy them.  Laurel said, "We were inseparable until one day she just rubbed me the wrong way."  This too is really important insight into the minds of a bully and children in general.  This tells adults what they need to teach and demonstrate to children such as how to appropriately handle when someone does something you do not like.  The first step is to understand then we can begin to fix.   

 

I curated this piece becaue it was so fascinating for me to hear the bully's perspectives because so often we only hear the victims side because bullies do not want to come forward about what they did or how they were hurtful.  While I was incredibly shocked by Mary's interview on the radio, it was still so insightful.  People have very different personalities and teachers need to be aware of the side effects and results of clashing personalities in a classroom.  Insight from the experience of a bully is invaluable in the reasearch and debates on how to handle bullying situations and prevention.  

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When It Comes to Fighting Stereotypes, I Want My Kids to Dare to Be Impolite - The Atlantic

When It Comes to Fighting Stereotypes, I Want My Kids to Dare to Be Impolite - The Atlantic | Bullying | Scoop.it
The Atlantic
When It Comes to Fighting Stereotypes, I Want My Kids to Dare to Be Impolite
The Atlantic
These assumptions are often associated with bullying.
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unique ideas about how bistanders need to speak up

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No Tolerance for Bullying in Amherst - Lynchburg News and Advance

No Tolerance for Bullying in Amherst - Lynchburg News and Advance | Bullying | Scoop.it
No Tolerance for Bullying in Amherst
Lynchburg News and Advance
The relative anonymity of social media gives students an outlet to express hurtful words without weighing the consequences of their actions.
Caroline Staffa's insight:

I chose to curate this topic because it gives a lot of insight in how the school system successfully combats bullying.  I thought it was really interesting to hear from school adminstrators, a superintendent and principals about how to handle bullying.  After watching the documentary "Bully" in which administrators and teachers do next to nothing about bullying, I curated this article to show that some schools have decided to take down bullying.  The article says in Amherst County schools, "teachers and administrators have taken a strong stand against bullying. That stand sends the message to students that bullying is not acceptable and that it won’t be tolerated."  This kind of stand is exactly what schools need most now in terms of bullying.  This system includes training and educating students about bullying and the complete support from the school board.  Through their approach, the number of bullying incidents dropped to 39 last year from 55 the year before.  Officials say, "that is still too many."  Officials from the county first communicate with the students then discipline them depending on the situation. They say their success comes from the fact that they "worry about the children who are doing the bullying."  


I was so happy when I read this article because it means that one school has decided to address bullying from the very beginning of the school year.  Rather than just try to make the victim feel better, they solve the problem with the bully.  I was so upset and angry at schools for not doing more to prevent bullying such as was represented by "Bully," but this article showed me a school system that is one of the leaders of the fight against bullying. I was very inspired and comforted by this article because schools wil get safer as long as staff and officials take this no tolerance stance.  I believe it is the only way to combat bullying.

 

 

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