Archive for bullying
Corinne Gregory’s latest book in the “Education Reform & Other Myths” series hit #1 on Amazon Kindle today, a week after it’s release.
Today only, Amazon is offering a copy of the book for free to anyone. Amazon Prime members can continue to get a copy of the book for free and there is also an option to “borrow” it once a month just like in a library.
“Breaking the Bullying Culture” takes a detailed and in-depth view of many of the issues involved with bullying in our schools and communities. It profiles some high-level incidents of bullying and bullycide, as well as some less-publicized cases. The book also examines the popular “solutions” offered in response to bullying and cyber bullying, identifies why these solutions aren’t working as well as we expect, and offers more effective alternatives.
To get your copy of “Breaking the Bullying Culture” click on the link below:
The first book in the series, “The Stumbling Blocks in the System and How to Fix Them” is also available on Amazon at
Be one of the first 10 people to get a copy of either book and write a review and we’ll send you a copy of the other book FREE! Just contact us with your review details once it’s posted on Amazon and we’ll send you the other book to the email address you provide!
A recent article in EdWeek shared how the fight against bullying is moving into Congress. Many people would likely cheer that our Federal lawmakers are now taking on the problem of bullying (quick editorial: is it me, or do you find it ironic that CONGRESS is trying to enact laws against bullying…”do as I say?…”)
However, I don’t think this is a reason to get excited, for several reasons:
- How effective do you really think a federal law against bullying is going to be in stopping the problem? As of this writing 46 states already have laws on the books addressing this issue (for more on this see “You Can’t Bully Me, It’s Against the Law!!”)
- What is the purpose of this legislation? According to the EdWeek article this legislation is intended to “…protect students from bullying and harassment that would apply to every school and district in the country.” How, please, explain, HOW will legislation do that? By calling for schools and districts to have policies in place, establish reporting and consequences for violation. Swell. We have that. What good does it actually do? How did THAT help the 34 kids who killed themselves because of bullying last year?
- In this proposed legislation, there is a recommendation that special language be included to address bullying of LGBT students. WHY? Yes, the data shows that a high percentage of LGBT students are harassed and bullied. But, news flash: so are non-LGBT kids. Are you saying, Congress, that students that have alternative sexual preferences are somehow more “special” or deserving of protection than other children? Are you not, then, in fact, discriminating against those children who are unfortunate enough to not fall into your “special categories?”
Let me make the point: bullying is an equal opportunity epidemic. According to Minnestoa Senator Al Franken, 9 out of 10 LBGT students are harassed or bullied. Ok, that’s a high percentage, I agree. Further, one third of LGBT students report skipping school because they are afraid or don’t feel safe. Overall, in our nation, over 160,000 kids miss school each day. I’d be interested to see what the percentage of LGBT students are in that 160,000. My guess is that these students make up the minority of kids overall who are scared. Certainly there are more “mainstream” students than there are LGBT, so one could argue that we have MORE mainstream kids to protect than LGBT kids.
We have to get to the real issue here: we need to solve bullying — for all kids, not just LGBT. Bullying happens because of issues of power. The students who are bullied are picked on because they are PERCEIVED to be different. Those “differences” can be real — they can be LGBT students, for example. Maybe the student is fat, or skinny, or is poor and doesn’t wear the trendy clothes. But the differences can also be just perceptions: the “smart” kid gets picked on because he or she makes the others feel inadequate or dumb. They pick on a child of German descent, calling him a “Nazi,” or a Muslim student for being a “terrorist.”
The sad truth is that laws will NOT protect kids from bullying. Read More→
Tonight, CBS News “48 Hours” program is going to air a special on bullying called “Words Can Kill.” I’ve seen this coming for a long time and am eager to see how it turns out. Last Spring, I was in repeated, lengthy conversations with Kathleen O’Connell and Deb Grau about the plans for the show and shared a lot of information with them. I was also actively working with them to help them find a school that was willing to go “on the record” about bullying and talk about steps they were taking to solve bullying in their schools.
As it turns out, the schools I had introduced them to didn’t follow through after several rounds of talks, so they (and we) weren’t included, but I’m hopeful that the background info I provided was helpful to the program’s efforts.
I’ve seen the sneak peak (and you can view it here), and it looks interesting. Cynthia Logan who is an online “friend” of mine because of the tragic loss of her daughter, Jessie, to bullycide is extensively interviewed. From what I’ve seen, however, I’m worried that this piece is going to be only more of the same of what we’ve already seen: awareness of the problem and exposure to how horrible it is.
Where are the solutions? One Middle School in Rhode Island is profiled, taking an active stand against bullying. But, what about other approaches? Stopping bullying requires a comprehensive approach, one that deals in both prevention and remediation. As I shared in a webinar completed yesterday, it takes both a strategy and an implementation plan. In fact, we’ve outlined seven steps that are really required to not only stop bullying now, but also to keep it from recurring. I’ll be intersted to see what this school is doing; most “plans” stop after Step 3, and then they wonder why nothing significantly changes.
What the biggest hope I have of this piece is that it causes schools to reevaluate how important it is to take greater steps in solving this problem. If the predominant attitude is: “well, we can’t afford to do more,” or “we already have a program/policy in place,” then the 48 Hours project isn’t going to much to change that attitude. It will likely spur greater reaction among parents, who will find the horror of what occurred in several of these bullying and cyber bullying cases appalling. But, they may not have much influence on the schools who feel that budget and time pressures prevent them from implementing other options.
Ultimately, I don’t think we need more awareness. Read More→
Over the last several months, there has been a great deal of coverage in the news and other media about the increasing incidents of cyber bullying. In the wake of many tragic events , such as the bullying/suicide of Phoebe Prince, there’s been more attention directed on this topic. Author, speaker and security expert Christopher Burgess frequently writes in his blog about the need to do something more about the problem, and described Seattle Public Schools efforts along those lines.
What I mean is, we’re approaching the problem of cyber bullying like it’s some new and different form of bullying. And fundamentally, it’s not. It’s bullying. Full stop. It’s just another “tool” to conduct bullying, but it’s the same thing.
Sure, there are some distinct features that make it potentially more troublesome than other forms of bullying. For example, because of the ubiquitous nature of the Internet or electronic media, you have a much easier way to spread rumors, hate-speech and other anti-social communication — it’s a shot-gun approach, not a rifle. It can also be spread virally, as the damage can be propagated Also, in a lot of cases, the communication can be done anonymously. So the bully, theoretically can do his/her damage and not be revealed or held accountable. Further, cyber bullying can be done 7/24/365, from literally anywhere, and the impact can be permanent. Not only is information on websites frequently public, it is stored. Who knows when awful false claims about someone might resurface?
But underlying it all is the same basic root cause as other bullying: lack of respect, compassion, empathy for other people and their feelings. Yet there is a huge call for programs and initiatives to specifically address cyber bullying. Again, it’s using the bandaid to deal with another “surface” problem, but who is really looking at what CAUSES it in the first place?
In Mr. Burgess’ blog, he outlines a nine-lesson approach Seattle Public Schools is adopting. Of those nine lessons, the first is about Respect and Responsibility…the balance of the lessons are specific to cyberbullying, with one lesson on bullying in general; two cover “what to do and where to get help.” We’re spending more time on management and mitigation than we are on prevention. Read More→