Posts Tagged ‘anti-bullying’

Nobody’s a Nobody: An Original Poem

January 20, 2020



NOBODY’S A NOBODY by Michael Grossman

I used to be so popular,

When I was back at school.

The teacher’s used to love me.

The kids thought I was cool.


I used to be so pretty,

And very good at sport.

Used to think I was quite special,

Or at least that’s what I thought.


I used to hang with cool girls

Who knew the latest trends.

Everyone looked up to us,

And wanted to be friends.


So many kids we just ignored

I regret it in a way,

They may have seemed like nerds back then,

But look at them today.


I remember this one girl,

Big Stella Green

With these ugly, awkward glasses

And a huge nose in between.


We used to tease and tease her,

Before and after school.

Once old Tommy McNoughton

Shoved her in the abandoned pool.


If only he would have known

That later, in a time of strife,

Stella Green would operate on his fiance,

And all but save her life.


What about Kayoko Kishimoto?

Our only Japanese student.

She was brilliant at science,

But at English – not so fluent.


We would never come and talk to her.

No one would even try.

They just left her all alone,

Supposing she was shy.


Did she end up learning English?

Well, what can you say

About the winner of an Oscar,

For Best Original Screenplay.


There was Dante Ferretti,

Who was the ‘school geek’,

With his great boofy hair,

And pimples for each cheek.


So tired of getting abused

And so embarrassed with his looks,

He used to hide his spotty face,

Inside a range of different books.


Who would have thought

That this reserved, avid reader,

Would go on to become

Our new State Opposition Leader?


Everyone used to fear

Max Stockwell “The Freak”.

Rumour had it he ate live snails,

And showered once a week.


The girls thought he was mad,

The boys thought he was weird.

He’d come walking through a corridor,

And the corridor all but cleared.


I hear he’s no longer weird,

And no longer is he ‘mad’;

Instead, he’s changing nappies

As a loving, stay-home dad.


I was never better than them.

I used to be so lame.

If I only understood,

That we are all the same.


I used to be “cool”,

But never was I happy,

Until the day I realised




Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.



The App That Successfully Tackles Schoolyard Bullying

January 8, 2018

Good on you Natalie Hampton on your initiative. It takes some courage to take a painful situation and use it to improve the world.

How fabulous is this app!


“I was ostracized by everyone. I ate lunch alone every day. I was pushed into lockers. I was sent threatening emails,” said high school senior Natalie Hampton of California. “I was physically attacked three times in two weeks and I came home sobbing with bleeding red scratch marks.”

She eventually switched schools, but the memories of those years of torment stuck with her.

“So many people walked back and forth in front of my table and all I wanted to hear was ‘hey are you OK? Come sit with us,'” Natalie said.

Those four words, “come sit with us,” sparked an idea and eventually an app.

“If you go to the search tab, it gives you a whole list of the lunches that you can join in your school without any fear of rejection,” Natalie said.

She created the “Sit With Us” app — free to download, private to use. It connects kids in need of company with welcoming students.

The app now has over 100,000 users in eight different countries, giving Natalie a megaphone for her message.

She’s become an outspoken leader of the anti-bullying movement. She speaks at conferences and even gave a TED Talk.

The app, and its message to be inclusive, is inspiring other students like eighth grader Lola Clark. She created a “Sit With Us” club at her school since they don’t allow cellphones.



Click on the link to read There’s More Effective Methods than Simply Punishing Bullies

Click on the link to read The Best Thing We can Teach Our Students is to Love

Click on the link to read Bullying Victim Teaches His Attackers a Lesson!

Click on the link to read Horrific Bullying Attack Caught on Video

10 Essential Facts About Cyberbullying for Parents

October 24, 2013


Courtesy of Caroline Knorr:

Q. What is cyberbullying?

A. Cyberbullying is using digital communications (like the Internet and cell phones) to make another person feel angry, sad or scared, usually again and again.

Many experts agree that intent and context are important, too. If the behavior was intentional, that’s clearly cyberbullying and there should be consequences. But if a kid inadvertently hurts another kid, then he or she may just need to learn better online behavior.

Either way, if your kid feels bad as a result of someone else’s online actions, then they may have been targeted and you should take it seriously. Kids’ conversations can be rowdy and rude. But if they’re not deliberately (and repeatedly) designed to inflict cruelty, and no one feels wronged, then chalk it up to juvenile antics. But keep an eye on it.
Q. How is cyberbullying different from bullying?

A. All bullying is extremely hurtful to the target and can make kids feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, helpless, sad and angry. But cyberbullying is a particular form of bullying that often spreads faster and further to more people and can occur at any time of day or night.

Online messages can be more confusing or scarier than in-person communication because there are no face-to-face cues to help you understand people’s intentions. Helping kids recognize bullying will help them learn to better deal with it.

  • Kids may use more hurtful and extreme language online than offline. It’s not uncommon for cyberbullies to say things like “I wish you would die,” “You’re ugly,” and “Everybody hates you.” If a kid said these things out loud in public, a teacher, a parent or even another kid would probably overhear and intervene.
  • Cyberbullying can happen anytime, whereas regular bullying generally stops when kids go home. Your kid could get a text, an email or see a post — or posts — on Facebook at any moment.
  • Cyberbullying can be very public. Posts can spread rapidly to a large, invisible audience because of the nature of how information travels online.
  • Cyberbullies sometimes act anonymously, whereas, with traditional bullying, it’s often clear who the bully is. Anonymity is a cloak that bullies hide behind. Not only does it encourage the bully to be more brazen, it makes him or her hard to trace.
  • In-person bullying can cause both physical and emotional harm. Cyberbullying causes “only” emotional harm (though it can lead to physical bullying, as well).

Q. What are some examples of cyberbullying?

A. Usually, cyberbullying is characterized by repeated cruelty. Whether this was a thoughtless, one-time prank or a more deliberate act of cruelty, it sounds as if your kid was humiliated over and over as every kid saw the picture. That’s what matters most. Hopefully, the kids’ parents were notified and your kid recovered.

Here are some other examples of behavior that could cross the line into cyberbullying:

  • Sending a mean email or IM to someone
  • Posting mean things about someone on a website
  • Making fun of someone in an online chat
  • Doing mean things to someone’s character in an online world
  • Creating a hostile environment in an online world or game
  • Impersonating someone online — including creating a fake online profile
  • Repeatedly texting someone to the point of harassment
  • Directly threatening or intimidating someone online or in a text
  • Starting rumors or spreading gossip online
  • Stealing someone’s password and logging into someone else’s account
  • Taking a photo or video and sharing it without the subject’s consent, knowing it might be embarrassing

Q. How do you have the conversation with another parent about their kid’s bullying?

A. If your kid is bullied by someone he or she knows, you should probably talk it over — face-to-face — with the kid’s parents. These steps can help you achieve a cooperative conflict resolution that will get everyone working together.

  • Schedule a meeting. While your impulse may be to confront the kid’s parents immediately, it’s better to set a time to meet and discuss the situation in a civilized manner.
  • Explain that you’re there for your kid. Say that your kid reported the incident and you wanted to follow up. That takes the heat off of the parents and allows you both to discuss your kids’ actions.
  • State your goal. Yes, you’re angry and hurt, but your goal should go beyond blaming. You want to end the bullying and have your kids stop engaging in destructive behavior.
  • Let the other parent talk. Hear them out; they may have information that you don’t know.
  • Bring the evidence. Show printouts or the devices on which the bullying occurred.
  • Work together. As much as possible, try to enlist the other parent so you can work as a united front.
  • Talk about next steps.Create a plan for how to proceed as well as a check-in schedule so you can see how things are progressing. Depending on whether things calm down or escalate, you may need to bring in a neutral party — a teacher, counselor, even a community leader — to deal with the problem and help you all move forward.


Nowadays There is Nowhere to Hide From Bullies

September 28, 2012


Even dropping out of school isn’t an insurance policy against being bullied:

A 16-year-old San Diego cheerleader who was repeatedly bullied by her peers says the taunting continued even after she dropped out, ABC News reports.

Katie Uffens left Westview High School earlier this year and enrolled in a home-school charter program after she was told about the existence of a group called the “KKK” — short for the “Kill Katie Klub.”

Mother Giselle Uffens says, however, that there was no escaping the alleged bullies, who proceeded to harass Katie online via social media after she left Westview.

KGTV reports Ms. Uffens collected defamatory photos and comments the bullies made on Facebook and Twitter, and also recorded dozens of allegedly threatening phone calls made to their house, which she turned over to police.

Earlier this month, two teenage boys were arrested at Westview and questioned in connection with the incident. One of them, Nick Aguirre, told KGTV that while he admitted to playing a role in bullying Katie last year, he is actually the victim in this situation, having been taken out of school publicly in handcuffs.

Aguirre said the “Kill Katie Klub” was just a joke he made in passing to a friend, and that he had not talked to her since.

“Basically, what I said to one of my friends was ‘Kill Katie Klub,'” Aguirre told KGTV. “It was a one-liner thing. We never had any intentions to hurt anybody.”

He also denied having any involvement with the threatening phone calls, despite Giselle Uffens’ claims to the contrary.

Click on the link to read The Rise of Teacher Approved Bullying (Video)

Click on the link to read Bullies Should Not Be Treated Like Students With Incorrect Uniform

Click on the link to read Social Media: A Playground for Bullies

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

Karen Klein Gives Back

August 22, 2012

Well done to Karen Klein, the bullied bus monitor, who has put some of her donated earnings into an anti-bullying foundation. There were a lot of rumblings from sections of society about the extent of her earnings as a result of the notorious bus incident. Hopefully, the negativity surrounding Ms. Klein can be put to rest:

A bus monitor made famous after video of her being bullied by students went viral in June is using her experience to make a difference.

Karen Klein has received more than $700,000 in donations from around the world.

And she says she’s using some of that to launch an anti-bullying foundation.

“We’re hoping to get other people to put money in it, and this is going to be for education for people that have been bullied, for people that just — for people that need it for this situation,” says Klein.

Though Klein hasn’t finalized the details of her foundation yet, she took part Sunday in the “Strike Out Bullying Ball Game” at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York.

She threw out the opening pitch for the minor league Rochester Red Wings.

The team is working with local organizations to teach fans about the dangers of bullying.

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Rely on Free Speech Shouldn’t be Teachers

Click on the link to read Punishments Handed to Children Who Bullied Bus Monitor. Now What?

Click on the link to read The Kids Who Bullied Their School Bus Monitor Shouldn’t be Punished: Nelson

Click on the link to read Video of a Bus Monitor Being Bullied by Middle School Children Goes Viral


Schools Should Not Block YouTube

November 30, 2011

YouTube, in my opinion, is the hidden gem of education. It’s hidden, not because people don’t know it exists or what it can do.  On the contrary, everyone and their dog is aware of the diverse clips that YouTube contains.  It’s hidden because many schools, including until recently my own, have chosen to block it. The reason for this is fairly understandable – YouTube contains clips which are clearly unsuitable for children.

Whilst this is true, there is too much to be gained by exposing children to the wealth of educational opportunities that exist on YouTube to justify blocking it.

The other day I wanted to buy a phone.  I had a few in mind, but didn’t posses the technological nous to help me find something that would best give me value for money and fulfill my practical needs. So I did what many do when they can’t make their mind up about something – I asked YouTube.  On YouTube I watched clips on the various phones, was given a run through of their features, advantages, design and reliability issues etc.

This helped me settle on a phone.  But my education didn’t stop there.  As I am a visual learner, I require more than just a booklet to follow.  To set up my phone and navigate my way through the different functions I turned to my dear friend, YouTube, who again, didn’t let me down.

YouTube is the modern-day instructive tool. It clearly and carefully teaches people practical skills in language they can understand. It plays the part of teacher.

At the moment I am teaching my 5th Graders about finding the lowest common denominator before adding and subtracting fractions. As a test, before writing this blog post, I typed some key words into a YouTube search and came up with many fine online tutorials on this very skill that kids can readily access.  It shouldn’t replace the teacher, but it can certainly help a child pick up a concept.

And it’s not just academic skills that can be developed through YouTube.  If my school hadn’t relaxed its position on YouTube, I wouldn’t have had the chance to show my students the best anti-bullying film going around. I have come across so many lame and unconvincing films about bullying in my time. So to first find Mike Feurstein’s masterful film, and then get the chance to show the movie to my appreciative class, was a major coup for my ongoing efforts in trying to keep my classroom bully free.  The film, posted below is as good a reason as any to allow teachers to use YouTube in the classroom.

Sure teachers have to be on the lookout for students who may exploit this privilege, but ultimately that is our job. If we banned everything that has possible risks or negative outcomes, we wouldn’t have much to work with at all.



California Superintendant Declines Salary

August 30, 2011

Fresno School Superintendent Larry Powell is a reminder of what education should be about – selflessness and dedication.

I recall a survey conducted back in the US in 1998/99 that found that teachers spent an average of $448 of their own money on instructional materials and school supplies:

The survey conducted last summer by the National School Supply and Equipment Association — a trade group representing the school supply industry — found that teachers pay for 77 percent of the school supplies needed in their classrooms. The rest comes from the school, parent-teacher groups and other school funds.

Teacher expenditure would be even higher nowadays.  But when it comes to selflessness nothing can top the outstanding act of generosity and conviction by Larry Powell:

Fresno School Superintendent Larry Powell has agreed to give up $800,000 in salary that he would have earned over three years. Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students, all for less than what a starting California teacher earns.

“How much do we need to keep accumulating?” asks Powell, 63. “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money.”

Powell’s generosity is more than just a gesture in a region with some of the nation’s highest rates of unemployment. As he prepares for retirement, he wants to ensure that his pet projects survive California budget cuts. And the man who started his career as a high school civics teacher, who has made anti-bullying his mission, hopes that his act of generosity will help restore faith in the government he once taught students to respect.

“A part of me has chafed at what they did in Bell,” Powell said, recalling the corrupt Southern California city officials who secretly boosted their salaries by hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s hard to believe that someone in the public trust would do that to the public. My wife and I asked ourselves, ‘What can we do that might restore confidence in government?’ “

Powell’s answer? Ask his board to allow him to return $288,241 in salary and benefits for the next 3 1/2 years of his term. He technically retired, then agreed to be hired back to work for $31,000 a year — $10,000 less than a first-year teacher — and with no benefits.

The media is riddled with terrible stories of teachers abusing their position and acting without integrity, it is so good to see a more positive story doing the rounds.

Thank you Mr. Powell for putting your convictions before your purse and your students before anything else.

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