Saturday, May 11, 2013

#ESCchat #4 Bully Prevention

Our fourth #escchat sparked such thought-provoking discussion, that we ended after our usual stopping point! That's okay though-- the conversation never needs to end on Twitter! This chat focused on bully prevention programming and interventions, and many people contributed. As always, here is the storify transcript and here is a summary of the questions and answers:

==>Q1: How would YOU define “bullying”?

  •  I define bullying as an imbalance of power. Where one person is intimidating another. 
  • Bullying is repeated intimidation meant to instill fear.
  • I define bully as any behavior, verbal or physical that makes someone feel like less than a person.
  • Power can be social, emotional, physical. Also, repeated actions.
  • I also define it as if the person is intentional trying to create an imbalance of power by installing fear in others.
  • Sure, it doesn't have to be in person, as we have seen with cyberbullying.
  • I was recently trained in @Olweus so I am kind of cheating. Their def is: Repeated & targeted negative actions with power imbalance.
  • There is a depersonalization factor as well, not treating someone as they should be treated. 
==>Q2: Great definitions! Now, what does a bully typically look like/experience? Realistically vs Stereotypes?

  • A bully can come in many forms, I don't know that there's a look per se, but all of the behaviors are common.
  • Bullies don't feel like they are making mistakes. Unfortunately, they have cognitive distortions and feel justified.
  • You don't have to be the biggest male on the playground!
  • I know my students think a bully looks like the many cartoon depictions they've seen. But there's no real look.
  • Doesn't have to be the kids from X-mas story stealing your lunch money. Could be the MS girl, or sexual harassment.
  • I try to explain to students that bullies are not always bad kids, they are not always hurt, they just fill the role they see.
==>Q3 What formal/informal tools would you use to determine the prevalence of bullying is in your building?

  • In our MS's we have a survey, part of the Olweus program that we use. We can use it to measure the progress of the program too.
  • I've used surveys for 3rd-5th grades to get an idea of where bullying behavior takes place, and what it looks like.
  • I imagine both qualitative and quantitative responses would be most helpful! 
  • I setup a survey monkey needs assessment b4 I know about minute meetings. It was not a hit, hoping for more succes with MM!
  • A broad needs assessment for prevention inc. bullying is helpful!
  • Observations would also be helpful, and focus groups. Also making sure to ask teachers and support staff their opinions.
  • It also helps to get info from class meetings. Some teachers use a anonymous concern box.
  • We use both Second Step and Steps to Respect. I like them both but to find where it happens and what it looks like.
  • The 40 assets survey is one you can give kids that gets at school needs. We've just created surveys for staff.
==>Q4: What are examples of school-wide proactive prevention techniques/programs have used or heard of?

  • We're getting psyched for @Olweus. Also, looking into funding for @cfchildren's Second Step programming. 
  • I have run a couple character education themed assemblies that touch on positive relationships. Mix-it-up-at-Lunch-Day too!
  • Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate" program is awesome- Run 3 anti-bullying proactive programs per year for designation.
  • We do assemblies througout the year and teach lessons through classroom guidance about bullying behavior, being a bystander, etc.
  • I once helped run an Anti-Bullying Poster Contest- Class competition they showed off their posters to each other. 
  • My school created a motto that's stated on mrng announcements and fundraised to buy shirts that students wear every 3rd Tuesday.
==>Q5: Related question but more specific: What can we do to try to prevent Relational Aggression (aka “Mean Girls”)?

  • Great Question. I have dealt a lot with this this yr. struggled to find something that got thru to students. They dont see the fault.
  • All parents should read "Queen Bees & Wannabes". Great Relational Aggression resource, tells how to talk about it w kids!
  • The Ophelia Project has FREE curricula & resources for Relational Aggression for boys, girls, and cyberbullying!
  • We've pretty much approached relational aggression the same way as other types of bullying. But guidance sees the girls more!
  • Separate the students, discipline the bully, counsel the victim and long term work on caring majority for support!
  • Separating students is key. Research shows it's more harmful than helpful to bring a bully/victim face to face.
==>Q6: Shifting from Prevention to Intervention: How would you intervene with a student exhibiting bullying behavior?

  • We focus on changing the behavior from a GE perspective. It falls short in some regards.
  • Counseling often doesn't work well with bullies. Sometimes they need behavior management strategies as primary.
  • We try to use the steps outlined in the @olweus program So impt to name the behavior & as the adult show you won't stand 4 it.
  • Visit with the student exhibiting the behavior to get to the cause/need for the inappropriate behavior.
  • It is helpful to not use labels- Instead of calling student a bully, talk about them using "Bullying Behavior", helps to separate!
  • Yes, if it is ongoing problem, even a functional behavior assessment could be helpful.
  • Discipline must be involved. Bullying can be is seen as "counseling" topic but it needs both responses. 
  • Behavior can be reinforced when we skip out on discipline. Kids feel like they didn't do anything wrong.
  • I agree, both counseling & progressive discipline. Important that school counselor does not do the discipline part!
==>Q7: How do we empower students to be Intentional Upstanders (as opposed to passive bystanders)?

  • Creating the "upstanders" is an ongoing teaching process. Their needs to be a culture that is created throughout the school.
  • How do you get teachers on board? Creating the climate.
  • Yes it should be woven into the school culture for sure! Huge when kids have a "We don't do that here" mentality.
  • Creating upstanders can be tough because of fear created by the incident. I explain in guidance, standing by says it OKAY!
  • "Standing By Doesn't Fly, Standing Up... Wins the Cup?" Needs work. haha
  • It's also important not to shame kids about being "bystanders" but to promote safe spaces for them to speak up.
  • That's where the @Olweus program comes in real handy!
  • looking into @standforthesilent to work with our school on this issue.
==>Q8: How can we involve parents in our bully prevention efforts?

  • I have done parent presentations in the past, especially to discuss Relational aggression.
  • We held a parenting night on Bullying. The presenter gave great information.
  • We have to send the same messages to parents to teach their kids. That everyone is accepted here, that's the culture.
  • Having parents involved in our No Place for Hate events has been great. Also they help to plan assemblies, etc.
  • Help them understand what it bullying looks like in schools and the process for reporting to us. We need them as partners.
  • Getting P involved is hard. Many of the P don't respond but request bullying be addressed. 
  • Parents have great insight about school culture & can advise on where problems are - if we build pos. relationships.
  • Yes, parent presentation definitely help. I like to use the ones we do with staff for consistency.
  • Also, help them know we're targeting BEHAVIORS, not their child in bullying interventions. We want safe schools for ALL.
  • Make sure parents aren't intimidated by school & those there. They often feel uncomfortable at school/with staff. Create welcoming environment.
==>Q9 (last one!): Why do you think bullying is so difficult to prevent/stop?

  • Bullying maintains because it creates fear, and that works unfortunately. So the student gets what they want through intimidation.
  • I feel like there is so much that goes on that adults don't see.
  • I believe is a societal problem. Think of how many adults bully each other.
  • Makes me think we need more empathy building at a younger age.
  • We have to create a culture where it is hard to create fear, where everyone stands up for each other. 
  • If it's not you, you don't want it to be you. If it is, you don't want it to worsen. If you do it, you don't want to lose power.
  • Empathy and building students' EQ should be a focus during the elementary years.
  • Yes, but I think it is also a product of the larger context & problematic/discriminatory adult behavior.
  • Building positive relationships in a building is the #1 thing we can do to create a safe and nurturing environment.
  • Yes! Fueled by media, society, and our individualistic culture.
  • I believe it is dif to stop/prevent due to the media that glamorizes violence. We live in a society that demeans others daily.
  • Might be unpopular but values? Increasing narcissism? I think of the shows that are popular w/Ss seem to be both those things.

Comments? Questions? Ideas that we missed in the chat? Please leave a comment or connect with us using the #escchat hashtag! 


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