Bullying prevention in middle school and beyond

<p>Hi, I have posted this in a few different threads because im not really sure where it should go, but any advince would be greatly appreciated! I am currently a sophomore living in Missouri. Though I'm really happy now, back in middle school I was bullied a lot, and if not for my dad's job change and us having to move, I would have begged to switch schools. I think it's really important for all middle school teachers to be well informed about how to recognize and deal with bullying. In fact, I think it should be required for a middle school teacher, or any teacher for that matter, in my district to take a course on how to prevent, recognize, and deal with bullying. My problem is I have no idea how to make any progress with this dream. I feel like no body will take me seriously because I'm so young. I really want my voice to be heard and in effect, improve children's school experiences and even their entire lives. *Do you have any idea on how I can get started with this?</p>

<p>Regardless of what anyone does, it will still happen :/</p>

<p>I should know, i was a victum of it once upon a time... teachers would step in and it would get worse, same goes for parents.</p>

<p>icedragon is right, bullying will never be eradicated, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight against it. OP, I applaud you. </p>

<p>We've already come a long way. Just a few years ago, school officials thought that bullying was just something that had to be tolerated. The worst physical bullying was stopped, but the more insidious social bullying was completely ignored. It was hell for me too, way back in the day. </p>

<p>Now, every school is aware of the problem, and most say they have zero tolerance for it. Of course, many bullying incidents never come to their attention, because it can be so subtle, and the victims are often too ashamed to report it. Everyone also now knows about the horrible phenomenon of online bullying, which can be truly devastating.</p>

<p>You can talk to your school administrators to see if they have any suggestions. Perhaps you could start a campaign to raise awareness, and to let victims know that they're not alone and that they should let others know.</p>

<p>You could also organize self-defense classes, or lessons in the martial arts. When a person knows they can defend themselves, they gain confidence -- confidence which everyone can sense. The person needn't ever act, they just carry themselves differently, and bullies sense that this person isn't an easy mark. (Because bullies are cowards, and always look for targets who seem much weaker.)</p>

<p>Really, I think the long-term solution is to change the culture at a school. Bullying flourishes where it's seen as cool, where bullies get social rewards. When that attitude turns around, when most kids at a school have nothing but scorn and disdain for bullies -- that's when it really changes. You can be the beginning of that turnaround.</p>

<p>This is a very important issue. Good luck!</p>

<p>Don't know what state you live in....but here in Massachusetts every school is now required by law to have a anti-bullying plan and policy. It took two suicides and criminal charges against the high school bullies to make it happen. One option would be to work towards this type of legislation in your state. There are also a multitude of anti-bullying curriculums for students and training programs for teachers. Try working with your local PTO to bring one to your community.</p>

<p>I have been a bullying victim all my life. You can try to stop it, hold workshops and bring awareness!!</p>

<p>I'm sorry you went thru this. Many good suggestions offered.</p>

<p>In my area, some students and a former teacher whose daughter committed suicide formed a group to break the silence about bullying and mental health issues. We recently had a meeting at local hospital's auditorium. A movie that some students and teachers made was aired (how to deal with bullying, etc). The principal of the middle school, GCs, and teachers were present. Students spoke up about being bullied for being gay or overweight. I could send a link to the movie or the leader, if that would be helpful.</p>

<p>I wish there were better strategies to lessen bullying. I was shocked about a bullying trend in a 6th grade class in my community. </p>

<p>The most shocking part was learning how the PARENTS' behavior had been the breeding ground for this nonsense. These parents (who all held themselves as upstanding and good citizens) were VERY CATTY about other families and children, what they had, what they bought, what they looked like, their weight issues, etc, etc. That behavior then was transferred to their kids who took it to the next level with classroom bullying. When it was uncovered, the parents were all "shocked" that their darlings could behave as cruelly as they did. None of these parents ever looked at their own behaviors to see how their own gossipy/catty behavior was the genesis of the problem.</p>

<p>It amazes me how some parents will gossip/smack talk about other kids/families - especially within the hearing range of their own kids. How stupid that they don't realize that when they criticize how another family/kid dresses, looks, etc, that their children learn that such criticisms are ok.</p>

<p>One parent, whose child was the ring-leader of bullying, had earlier been VERY UPSET that the victim's family had purchased a better version of the car that they had. Jealousy ran amuck. Seriously, the mom was very upset that this other family had bought the more luxury version of the car that they had purchased a few months earlier. The mom ranted and raved about this and other issues. The D took it upon herself to make the child of that family a target for bullying. The school refused to believe that this "darling" and her cohorts (honor students) could ever be soooo mean....until a note surfaced....written by the "darling"...and wow was it horrid. ....the letter dictated the bullying rules of a "club" that they had formed and its members.... </p>

<p>Oh my....to say that the poop hit the fan is an understatement. The principal and teachers all had major egg on their faces because they had defended those brats for months and months. The principal was fired shortly thereafter (this was a private school) and a few teachers found other jobs.</p>

<p>Home</a> | StopBullying.gov</p>

<p>Here is one resource. If you google your subject, you will find many.</p>

<p>Find a teacher to help you develop a program. Grants exist for programs to implement bullying prevention and a teacher will need to apply or help you apply.</p>

<p>Talk or write to your School Board and local City Council to develop awareness and get programs implemented.</p>

<p>Write letters to your local newspapers about the subject to raise awareness.</p>

<p>Get a group of friends together to help.</p>

<p>Use social media. Facebook is involved in bullying prevention.</p>

<p>A friend of mine growing up had a really hard time in middle school. She ended up becoming a guidance counselor in the very middle school where she struggled and really worked with bullying guidelines.</p>

<p>I recently read a book, and it's early so I'll have to remember the title, but it basically talked about how adults would feed into the issue by treating kids differently at school. </p>

<p>You'd think all the publicity and movies like Mean Girls would show kids about it, but my dd says that girls in her school are really mean to other kids, and many times rude to teachers.</p>

<p>However, in most cases, one on one those same kids wouldn't behave like that. It's usually the culture of the school that allows it or not. </p>

<p>Good for you for thinking about it and trying to come up with a solution. I might even start younger in middle school - perhaps be reaching out in the 5th grade to kids.</p>

<p>If you are being bullied, here is how to stop it: Hit the bully. Bullies are cowards in disguise.</p>

<p>Really dumb advice beolein, unless, suspension from school, a possible criminal charge and possible civil suit are in your plans.</p>

<p>After the suicide of an 8th grader in my District before Thanksgiving, John Halligan, of Essex Jct, VT came to speak to our MS and HS students last month, about his 13 year old son, Ryan, who experienced cyber bullying & depression... and eventually hanged himself :(</p>

<p>There are some good resources at his website, for anyone who may need them.
About</a> - Ryan's Story Presentation</p>

<p>And here are some other decent Bullying & Cyber Bullying resources:</p>

<p>Creating</a> Compassionate, Safe, Respectful Environments - Operation Respect </p>

<p>Olweus</a> Bullying Prevention Program from Hazelden & Clemson University</p>

<p>Growing</a> Up Online | FRONTLINE | PBS</p>

<p>Give</a> It A Ponder: Things to ponder before you text</p>

<p><a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...101438384.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...101438384.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>STOP</a> cyberbullying: Cyberbullying - what it is, how it works and how to understand and deal with cyberbullies</p>

<p>Working</a> to Halt Online Abuse: Kid-Teen Division:index.html</p>

<p><a href="http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-...r-parents.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-...r-parents.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>One thing you can do is to educate the student body about speaking up at the moment they witness bullying. Bullying continues partly because everyone is too afraid to say anything for fear they will become the target. If you see/hear a bully calling another student a name, or ostracizing him, say something out loud to the bully and those around him; don't tolerate it.</p>

<p>Bullying still goes on among adults. When I witness it, which is not often, my comment is "How rude." For some reason, that shuts them up, (although they usually laugh - what turds).</p>

<p>Bullying has been going on since the beginning of time. How kids target their victims via electronic media seems to be the game changer these days. It's way too easy to post something hurtful, derogatory or insightful on someone's FB page... or to text/email that same undermining message. It's especially damaging if the coward posts something for all to see/read.</p>

<p>I also think kids are very aware of social status, and at a much earlier age than I recall from my youth. A boy knows in 4th grade that he isn't wearing the popular brand of kicks...or if his no-name fleece jacket came from KMart, Vs a Marmot from REI.</p>

<p>All that social pressure starts so early... by the time kids get to middle school, there is a distinct separation between the haves and have-nots. Barriers to those cliques are hard to yield. Those who are confident enough are content with their place in the pecking order... are happy to find like-minded peers to be with. A lot of insecure kids who might have other challenges going on in their lives...whether at home, socially (they exhibit overt signs of having depression, substance abuse, special needs, being gay, etc), in the classroom, etc. sadly seem vunerable to being publically ridiculed by classmates... kids can be so mean. </p>

<p>Add to the above... all the modeling of acceptable, dysfunctional behavior they get from watching reality TV, etc... it's no wonder we have become less tolerant of one another. It's madness.</p>

<p>The Operation Respect link I posted above has free curricula materials for school teachers to help foster safe and non-judgmental environments in their classrooms. It's free - simply contact them and they will mail it to you. Maybe pitch it to your Principal or School Board/Trustees, first? The program targets mostly grammar school aged kids, but also offers materials for middle school students.</p>

<p>The Olweus program is respected/effective for all ages, but is not free. It takes a lot of effort and much time to affect culture and climate - especially in the schools. Kudos to you, for bringing this issue to the forefront. Best of luck~</p>

<p>A good place to start...</p>

<p>Do teachers, students and Administrators overwhelmingly feel or acknowledge there is a problem? You will have a better chance of successfully advocating for change if you can first point out the need/opportunities for improvement, based on facts, data and logic. If a particular, recent incident or two, isn't enough impetus, maybe contact your local State U to see if a graduate student or two can help you design and administer a survey for all students and teachers, to put a pulse on this kind of thing?</p>

<p>I'd also look at your School District's existing policies. Is there a policy on the books specifically speaking to tolerance for bullying, or does the code of conduct address a more broad spectrum of misconduct, with logical and enforcable consequences for various offenses? Maybe look at the policies of other similarly sized Districts in your area who seem to have this kind of thing under control. What are they doing well to discourage and manage bullying in school?</p>

<p>
[quote]
One parent, whose child was the ring-leader of bullying, had earlier been VERY UPSET that the victim's family had purchased a better version of the car that they had. Jealousy ran amuck. Seriously, the mom was very upset that this other family had bought the more luxury version of the car that they had purchased a few months earlier. The mom ranted and raved about this and other issues. The D took it upon herself to make the child of that family a target for bullying. The school refused to believe that this "darling" and her cohorts (honor students) could ever be soooo mean....until a note surfaced....written by the "darling"...and wow was it horrid. ....the letter dictated the bullying rules of a "club" that they had formed and its members....</p>

<p>Oh my....to say that the poop hit the fan is an understatement. The principal and teachers all had major egg on their faces because they had defended those brats for months and months. The principal was fired shortly thereafter (this was a private school) and a few teachers found other jobs.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>What happened to the bully? Did the family acknowledge it and work to change their child's behavior?</p>

<p>I'm going to chime in against the zero-tolerance destroy "bullying" at any cost movement that has swept this nation in the past decade. It's ridiculous in its application. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade my friend and I wrestled in the snow (in the snow-suits the school made us wear to go into the snow) and it was investigated as a possible bullying case. We both told the school that we were just having fun but because it was a "physical altercation" it was investigated as possible bullying.
In middle school teachers/lunch watchers would misinterpret joking among friends as bullying. The schools are so afraid that they don't let kids be kids any more. They watch every move and a friend calling another a dumbass for forgetting something simple is misperceived as bullying.
The very concept of zero-tolerance is as ridiculous as mandatory minimum sentencing because it ignores the all-important context of each individual "case." We need to step back and consider ways to curtail DANGEROUS bullying without turning our schools into a police-state. I'm sure that a google search could quickly find more examples of ridiculously inappropriate administrative actions stemming from school zero-tolerance policies.
Let children be children.</p>

<p>Of course, children need to be allowed to play. Bulllying is not play. </p>

<p>The most dangeous bullying, though, is not physical; it's social and emotional. Most of the bullying-related suicides I've heard about are kids who were not beat up. They were ostracized, gossiped about, and taunted in very subtle ways.</p>

<p>Bullying is never OK.</p>

<p>The problem is that school administrators can't tell the difference between friendly insults and the degradation that you mention. As long as good kids are dragged to the principal's office over a comment that both they and the recipient took as normal between friends, I will oppose any zero-tolerance anti-bullying programs. They sweep with too wide a net to pay attention to real problem students as they waste time with non-incidents that administrators blow out of proportion.
And yeah, I was picked on a lot in middle school. Would I have benefitted at all by the offenders being pulled before an administrator and punished? No. I got through fine and am now on good terms with the people that gave me **** in middle school. We all just needed to grow up a bit.</p>

<p>^^^Or, you might consider your experiences apply only to you, and broad policies and rules are made by many with more experience and opinions because they are many.</p>