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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Schools and Bullying

First my comments:
This case happened in 2009.  Have things really changed?  I don't think so.  We are still hearing heartbreaking stories of kids being bullied in school, and very unfortunately, kids are still committing suicide over bullying.  THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!
Every time I hear another story like this my heart breaks and the tears flow.  Why does it have to continue?  It doesn't!!!!  I believe it is time, past time for us to take a stand.  United we stand, divided we fall.  Yes, it's an old cliche.  But it's so very true.  We must stand together to stop this senseless, hateful thing.  How are we going to do it?  By working together.  By coming up with ideas and plans together.  

The Department of Education reports that 25 percent of American students say they were bullied at least once a day. States have tried to address the issue by mandating their school districts adopt anti-bullying initiatives. But can these policies really stop school bullying and possibly save lives? CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reports.
Eleven-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover had a beaming smile.
"He loved life. He loved to laugh," said Carl's mother, Sirdeaner Walker.
But soon after Carl began sixth grade at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Mass., he became the target of school bullies who taunted him - even threatened to beat and kill him.
Sirdeaner Walker says she i immediately contacted the school to address the issues. But she couldn't prevent what followed.
On April 6, 2009, Carl hanged himself with an extension cord - just 10 days shy of his 12th birthday.
CBS News has identified 10 other students ages 13 to as young as nine years old who were bullied and committed suicide in the last 12 months. Suicide is so rare among children that young the CDC doesn't even consistently track the numbers.
Yale professor Young-Shin Kim has done research on what's been termed "bullycide" and has found that victims of bullying are 5.6 times more at risk of attempting or thinking about suicide.
The administrators at the New Leadership Charter School ignored CBS News' request for an interview or comment on Carl Walker's death. But CBS News has learned the school has had an anti bullying policy since 2006, and a reported intervention happened the day Carl Walker died - leaving some advocates to question whether these initiatives fix the problem or make it worse.
Author Jodee Blanco was constantly bullied throughout elementary and high school - so much so she almost committed suicide. She now tours the country talking to students about the consequences of bullying.
She believes disciplining bullies is ineffective because it creates a hostile environment; the bullying may move online and it doesn't prevent what Blanco calls the worst kind of bullying - social isolation. 
"It's the most damaging kind. … It makes you say to yourself, 'There's something wrong with me,'" she said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Recognizing the Warning Signs

There are many warning signs that could indicate that someone is involved in bullying, either by bullying others or by being bullied.  However, these warning signs may indicate other issues or problems, as well.  If you are a parent oreducator, learn more about talking to someone about bullying.

Being Bullied

  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual  

Let's get some dialogue going.....

What is the most recent bullying incident that you've seen?  Real or portrayed on tv, it doesn't matter.  What would you have done in this situation?  How did it make you feel?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can have a serious negative impact on individuals and on companies, but is unfortunately common. Everyone in a company benefits from recognizing and stopping workplace bullying. If you are a bully or being bullied at work keep reading to learn how to stop.

Workplace bullying is when one a person or group of people in a workplace single out another person for unreasonable, embarrassing, or intimidating treatment. Usually the bully is a person in a position in authority who feels threatened by the victim, but in some cases the bully is a co-worker who is insecure or immature. Workplace bullying can be the result of a single individual acting as a bully or of a company culture that allows or even encourages this kind of negative behavior.

Workplace bullying can take many forms:

  • Shouting or swearing at an employee or otherwise verbally abusing him or her
  • One employee being singled out for unjustified criticism or blame
  • An employee being excluded from company activities or having his or her work or contributions purposefully ignored
  • Language or actions that embarrass or humiliate an employee
  • Practical jokes, especially if they occur repeatedly to the same person

There are also some things that are usually not considered workplace bullying:

  • A manager who shouts at or criticizes all of his or her employees. While this is a sign of a bad manager and makes a workplace unpleasant, it is not bullying unless only one or a few individuals are being unjustifiably singled out.
  • A co-worker who is critical of everything, always takes credit for successes and passes blame for mistakes, and/or frequently makes hurtful comments or jokes about others. Unless these actions are directed at one individual, they represent poor social skills, but not bullying.
  • Negative comments or actions that are based on a person’s gender, ethnicity, religion, or other legally protected status. This is considered harassment and, unlike bullying, is illegal in the United States and gives the victim legal rights to stop the behavior.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to a third of workers may be the victims of workplace bullying. About twenty percent of workplace bullying crosses the line intoharassment. The New York Times found that about sixty percent of workplace bullies are men, and they tend to bully male and female employees equally. Female bullies, however, are more likely to bully other females. This may be because there is more pressure on females trying to succeed in male-dominated workplace, and more competition between females for promotions.

Regardless of its source, workplace bullying can have serious negative effects on employees, such as:

  • Stress
  • Absenteeism and low productivity
  • Lowered self-esteem and depression
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive upsets
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble with relationships due to stress over work
  • Post traumatic stress disorder

Workplace bullying is also bad for business. Some of the ways that companies suffer due to bullying include:

  • High turnover, which is expensive for companies as they invest in hiring and training new employees only to lose them shortly thereafter, possibly to a competitor
  • Low productivity since employees are not motivated to do their best and are more often out sick due to stress-related illnesses
  • Lost innovations since the bully is more interested in attacking his or her victim than advancing the company, and the victims become less likely to generate or share new ideas
  • Difficulty hiring quality employees as word spreads that the company has a hostile work environment

Because workplace bullying can be devastating to employees and companies, some companies have instituted zero-tolerance policies toward workplace bullying. In these companies, if an employee is being bullied he or she needs to document the bullying and present the problem to the proper person in the company, usually someone in human resources or upper management. Companies with good anti-bullying policies usually hold meetings from time to time to remind employees what workplace bullying is, how to report it, and the consequences for bullying.

In some companies, however, there is a company culture of workplace bullying. Usually companies do not purposefully support bullying, but they may develop a problem with it either through not taking workplace bullying seriously or by developing the habit of placing blame and fault finding instead of solving problems. In these companies, employees who make a case against bullies may find that the bullying only gets worse. In this situation, employees often have to either make the best of the situation or find different employment.

Employees who are or have been victims of workplace bullying should realize that it is not their fault that they are being bullied. If they are suffering negative effects from the bullying they should seek help from a doctor or counselor and, if the bullying is ongoing, from a career advisor who can help them plan a job or career change.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, "Workplace Bullying: What Everyone Needs to Know" [online]
Workplace Bullying Institute [online]
The New York Times, Business, "Backlash: Women Bullying Women at Work" [online]

Lady Gaga's Foundation

Lady Gaga has since set up the Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit aiming to empower youth in the face of bullying and abandonment and inspire bravery and acceptance and a world where individuality is encouraged.

Read more:

Lady Gaga on Bullying

(NEWSER) – For one gay teen, it didn't get better, and Lady Gaga plans to do something about it. The singer took to Twitter following the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer—who ended his life because he could no longer face bullying at his school—first expressing sadness ("The past days I've spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger. It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someones life") before establishing a platform of sorts.
"Bullying must become be illegal. It is a hate crime,” she tweeted. And she plans on taking her case to the top. "I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it. #MakeALawForJamey." The Buffalo News notes that Rodemeyer posted Gaga lyrics on Facebook shortly before his death: "Don't forget me when I come crying to heaven's door."

Jonah Mawry

Note:  there are rumors that Jonah lied in this video.  Regardless if he did or didn't, this story is the story of too many young people out there today.  And the response to this video from youtube to national networks, definitely brought bullying to the headlines and awareness to many who were unaware.

Universal Rights

"Where, after all, do universal right begin? In small places close to home,  - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college she attends; the factor, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.  Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Bullying and Suicide from

There is a strong link between bullying and suicide, as suggested by recent bullying-related suicides in the US and other countries. Parents, teachers, and students learn the dangers of bullying and help students who may be at risk of committing suicide.

In recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the US and across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide. Though too many adults still see bullying as "just part of being a kid," it is a serious problem that leads to many negative effects for victims, including suicide. Many people may not realize that there is also a link between being a bully and committing suicide.

The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
  • Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
  • A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
  • 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

Bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.

Some schools or regions have more serious problems with bullying and suicide related to bullying. This may be due to an excessive problem with bullying at the school. It could also be related to the tendency of students who are exposed to suicide to consider suicide themselves.

Some of the warning signs of suicide can include:

  • Showing signs of depression, like ongoing sadness, withdrawal from others, losing interest in favorite activities, or trouble sleeping or eating
  • Talking about or showing an interest in death or dying
  • Engaging in dangerous or harmful activities, including reckless behavior, substance abuse, or self injury
  • Giving away favorite possessions and saying goodbye to people
  • Saying or expressing that they can't handle things anymore
  • Making comments that things would be better without them
If a person is displaying these symptoms, talk to them about your concerns and get them help right away, such as from a counselor, doctor, or at the emergency room.

In some cases, it may not be obvious that a teen is thinking about suicide, such as when the suicide seems to be triggered by a particularly bad episode of bullying. In several cases where bullying victims killed themselves, bullies had told the teen that he or she should kill him or herself or that the world would be better without them. Others who hear these types of statements should be quick to stop them and explain to the victim that the bully is wrong.

Other ways to help people who may be considering suicide include:

  • Take all talk or threats of suicide seriously. Don't tell the person they are wrong or that they have a lot to live for. Instead, get them immediate medical help.
  • Keep weapons and medications away from anyone who is at risk for suicide. Get these items out of the house or at least securely locked up.
  • Parents should encourage their teens to talk about bullying that takes place. It may be embarrassing for kids to admit they are the victims of bullying, and most kids don't want to admit they have been involved in bullying. Tell victims that it's not their fault that they are being bullied and show them love and support. Get them professional help if the bullying is serious.
  • It is a good idea for parents to insist on being included in their children's friends on social networking sites so they can see if someone has posted mean messages about them online. Text messages may be more difficult to know about, so parents should try to keep open communications with their children about bullying.
  • Parents who see a serious bullying problem should talk to school authorities about it, and perhaps arrange a meeting with the bully's parents. More states are implementing laws against bullying, and recent lawsuits against schools and criminal charges against bullies show that there are legal avenues to take to deal with bullies. If school authorities don't help with an ongoing bullying problem, local police or attorneys may be able to.

People who are thinking about suicide should talk to someone right away or go to an emergency room. They can also call a free suicide hotline, such as            1-800-273-TALK       (8255).

Friends and relatives of suicide victims also need to find someone to talk to as they grieve, especially if they are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts themselves.

WebMD, Depression Guide, "Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide" [online]
Nemours, KidsHealth, "Helping Kids Deal with Bullies" [online]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Prevention, "Youth Suicide" [online]
Yale University, Office of Public Affairs, "Bullying-Suicide Link Explored in New Study by Researchers at Yale" [online]
Matt Dickinson, The Independent, "Research finds bullying link to child suicides" [online]
Michael Inbar, MSNBC Today, "‘Sexting’ bullying cited in teen’s suicide" [online]
Susan Donaldson James, ABC News, Health, "Teen Commits Suicide Due to Bullying: Parents Sue School for Son's Death" [online]
Erik Eckholm and Katie Zezima, The New York Times, "6 Teenagers Are Charged After Classmate’s Suicide" [online]

Cyber Bullying from

Cyber bullying affects many adolescents and teens on a daily basis. Cyber bullying involves using technology, like cell phones and the Internet, to bully or harass another person.Cyber bullying can take many forms:
  • Sending mean messages or threats to a person's email account or cell phone
  • Spreading rumors online or through texts
  • Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
  • Stealing a person's account information to break into their account and send damaging messages
  • Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
  • Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet
  • Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
Cyber bullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety,depression, and even suicide. Also, once things are circulated on the Internet, they may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the pain of cyber bullying.
Many cyber bullies think that bullying others online is funny. Cyber bullies may not realize the consequences for themselves of cyberbullying. The things teens post online now may reflect badly on them later when they apply for college or a job. Cyber bullies can lose their cell phone or online accounts for cyber bullying. Also, cyber bullies and their parents may face legal charges for cyber bullying, and if the cyber bullying was sexual in nature or involved sexting, the results can include being registered as a sex offender. Teens may think that if they use a fake name they won't get caught, but there are many ways to track some one who is cyber bullying.
Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:
  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.
  • Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
  • Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.
The Harford County Examiner reported similarly concerning cyber bullying statistics:
  • Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
  • 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
  • About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
  • Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying
The Cyberbullying Research Center also did a series of surveys that found these cyber bullying statistics:
  • Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly
  • Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying
  • Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims
  • Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls
  • Cyber bullying affects all races
  • Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide
Parents and teens can do some things that help reduce the cyber bullying statistics:
  • Talks to teens about cyber bullying, explaining that it is wrong and can have serious consequences. Make a rule that teens may not send mean or damaging messages, even if someone else started it, or suggestive pictures or messages or they will lose their cell phone and computer privileges for a time.
  • Encourage teens to tell an adult if cyber bullying is occurring. Tell them if they are the victims they will not be punished, and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.
  • Teens should keep cyber bullying messages as proof that the cyber bullying is occurring. The teens' parents may want to talk to the parents of the cyber bully, to the bully's Internet or cell phone provider, and/or to the police about the messages, especially if they are threatening or sexual in nature.
  • Try blocking the person sending the messages. It may be necessary to get a new phone number or email address and to be more cautious about giving out the new number or address.
  • Teens should never tell their password to anyone except a parent, and should not write it down in a place where it could be found by others.
  • Teens should not share anything through text or instant messaging on their cell phone or the Internet that they would not want to be made public - remind teens that the person they are talking to in messages or online may not be who they think they are, and that things posted electronically may not be secure.
  • Encourage teens never to share personal information online or to meet someone they only know online.
  • Keep the computer in a shared space like the family room, and do not allow teens to have Internet access in their own rooms.
  • Encourage teens to have times when they turn off the technology, such as at family meals or after a certain time at night.
  • Parents may want to wait until high school to allow their teens to have their own email and cell phone accounts, and even then parents should still have access to the accounts.
If teens have been the victims or perpetuators of cyber bullying they may need to talk to acounselor or therapist to overcome depression or other harmful effects of cyber bullying.
Richard Webster, Harford County Examiner, "From cyber bullying to sexting: What on your kids' cell?" [online]
i-SAFE Inc., "Cyber Bullying: Statistics and Tips" [online]
Cyberbullying Research Center, "Summary of our cyberbullying research from 2004-2010" [online]
National Crime Prevention Council, "Cyberbullying" [online]

Power Point Presentation from October 2011

nBullies, Victims and Bystanders
David A. Levine
Leland Domann
nOur goals for today
are to… 
nfacilitate the conversation about bullying
nexplore the role emotions play on aggressive behaviors
nreview the research on risk and resilience
nexplore empathy as a primary pro-social skill
npresent high-level facilitative responses
nWhat would you like to get out of today?
nIn terms of:
nPersonal growth
nA working definition of bullying
nThe blueprint for emotional safety
nCreating a bully-free culture
nRisk and resilience
nBest practices for prevention and intervention
nHigh-level facilitative responses
nDecoding behaviors
nCounseling a bully and victim
nMeeting a child’s needs
nTeaching pro-social skills
nAs you were listening to my song,
nWhat thoughts, memories of feelings came up for you?
nPrevention defined
  Prevention programs and activities are intentionally designed to help young people manage predictably difficult life situations.
            Pro-active  vs  Reactive
            Prevention  vs  Intervention
nBullying defined
  A person is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons

Bullying information
CDC Youth Risk Survey, 2010
nOver 75 % of students are subjected to some form of bullying or cyber bullying and experience some form of physical and/or emotional abuse
n5% of high school students did not go to school because they felt unsafe at school or on the way to school
n16.2 % of students report being bullied on school property (NY State)
nBullying information
nBoys are more likely than girls to bully others
nThe most frequent bullying of boys is physical while girls are bullied more often verbally (exclusion, rumors, sexual harassment)
nThe top five states in regards to reported incidents of bullying and cyber bullying are California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington
nEmotional imprints
nForever impact the way you interface with the world.
nEmotional intelligence is the ability to manage your emotions (imprints) when under pressure.
nProtective factors
nExternal buffers and supports
nBe clear with your expectations
nCreate the conditions (in your groups, classes, sports teams, homes)
nInfuse social skills into all you do
nAsk questions (dialogue-listen)
nProtective factors
nInternal-skill building
nPro-social skills
nTeach listening and make it a cultural practice
nThe listening wheel
nCommunity meeting
nCooperative group training (name emotional intelligence)
nEmpathy consciousness 
Building a cultural norm of empathy
  teach it as a skill
    model it as a practice
  infuse it as a perspective marker
    use it as a guiding principle

 Protective Factors
nSocial skills
nPositive peer relationships
nProblem solving skills
nA sense of independence
nA sense of purpose
nParticipation and involvement
nSchool success
nA caring “non-judgmental” adult
nExposure to models and mentors

n           Successful bully prevention/intervention approaches
nPeer leadership
nClearly defined norms
nDialogue in meetings
nMoral dilemmas
nHigh-level facilitative responses
1. Ask open-ended questions
2. Clarify and summarize
3.  Reflect feelings…
nTo tolerate is to enable
nThe conflict cycle
Private logic
Stressful event
To help the person learn and grow
  what I heard
  what I saw
  What I need or feel