Sunday, September 9, 2012

Speakers and Seminars are not Helping the Bullying Problem

Below is a wonderful article that emphasizes that "it takes more than listening to a speaker or having a week-long program to address" the severity of school bullying. The problem of school bullying is no longer just a problem, it is a major social issue, proven to show the outcome can be deadly. Let's take the issue of drug abuse specifically controlled substances.  Whether  prescribed or not, addiction for these types of substances are very common. And we all know drug addiction  can contribute to health, mental and criminal problems.  Our country has dealt with drug addition for decades and if there is one thing we know, a week long seminar or guest speaker does not solve the problem[s]. 
  Poverty, is another social issue we have been dealing with for decades.  We know this social issue cannot be tackled by a speaker.  Matter of fact we know many social issues cannot be solved by speakers and seminars. We must understand that school bullying is a social issue that is hear to stay and just like drug addiction, poverty and domestic violence the outcome can be very dangerous.  The schools and other governmental entities as well as parents and students need to understand that Bullying is a daily problem in all schools and there must be on going progressive programs to deal with it including therapy programs for both victims and bully.

SOUTH OAKLAND - It takes more than listening to a speaker or having a week-long program to address the issue of bullying in schools.
And that is why at Royal Oak Middle School and Anderson Middle School in Berkley, the focus is on creating a positive school culture every day.
“It's huge because in middle school, I'd venture to say it's the toughest time for kids, because they are trying to figure out who they are,” said Anderson principal Vince Gigliotti. “There is pressure to fit in and get along, so we have to keep teaching the skills now to say ‘it's OK to stand up, it's OK to say that's not right.'”
Last school year, Anderson rolled out a No Place for Hate club (and dubbed itself a No Place for Hate school) that addressed issues related to bullying. The goal of the group was to help break down barriers and get people to know each other.
The school had a web site set up last year, dedicated to anti-bullying and with a phone number people could call to leave anonymous messages. Gigliotti said not only did parents use the number, but students as well.
“It's about being able to stand up and do what is right in the face of difficult situations,” Gigliotti said.
His favorite moment was when a group of students, who were friends with a notorious bully, finally stood up to him and said “enough is enough.”
“When you hear a story like that you see it's starting to make a difference,” he said. “We still have a long way to go, but we are getting there.”
Royal Oak Middle School is similar to Anderson in that they are heading into year two of putting a stronger focus on bullying. This year the middle school will be using the Olweus bullying prevention program, which uses ongoing programming to address issues.
Bill Jones, assistant principal at ROMS, said the full program will be rolled out in January. It will be something that is a regular part of the school day, built into the LEAP (Leaning Enhancement Advancement Principles) hour.
He agrees with Gigliotti that middle schoolers are the perfect group to reach out to in regard to bullying, because they are at a crossroads in their lives.
“Middle school kids are capable of extraordinary amounts of empathy, but they also want to fit in and figure out who they are,” Jones said. “And sometimes they sacrifice who they are to fit in and be part of the group.”
A survey was done at ROMS last year to see the impact of bullying, with less than 10 percent saying they had problems. Jones said they were surprised by the low numbers in regard to electronic bullying, and plan to do the survey every year.
“If you want to achieve that culture change, it has to be regular ongoing conversations,” he said. “It's going to become our new normal.” | (313) 222-2343 Twitter: @SOKEccentric
Observer and Eccentric a Gannett Company

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