Posts Tagged ‘Bullying’

Nobody’s a Nobody: An Original Poem

January 20, 2020

nobody

 

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

NOBODY’S A NOBODY.

 

 

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 Great Influencer in the Anti-Bullying Space

January 12, 2020

 

The anti-bullying maestro does it again!

Mike Feuerstein, the award-winning filmmaker who travels from school to school armed with his extensive knowledge about empowering children and using the craft of film for the greater good, has struck gold again.

Mike works with classes of non-professional Primary school-aged actors on film scripts that he bases loosely on the real-life experiences of the very children he works with. This makes the final product not only thoroughly entertaining but insightful, relevant and a real game-changer in getting children to reflect on poor habits and the likely consequences of their actions.

In his latest trilogy, Mediasphere, Feuerstein’s focus is social media addiction and the tendency for the fake world of likes and influencer rankings to take over. In the first instalment, cleverly titled Pop Polarity (the other two segments will be reviewed over the next few weeks), a new girl in a school that values social media presence over the real person and the qualities that make them unique is made to decide whether she wants to play by the rules or maintain her sense of self and dignity. This oddball school, where even the Principal is far less interested in academic progress than Twitter followers, cleverly plays on society’s false priorities and allows children to observe how absurd online behaviour can be.

I have had the good fortune to collaborate with and befriend Mike over the last decade and remain a huge admirer of his work. Over the course of my career, I have encountered my fair share of anti-bullying and cyber safety programs. None has come close to Mike’s How to UnMake a Bully series for effectiveness, artistry and student engagement.

Below is the movie. I urge you to show this and all his other movies to your class.

 

 

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.

Nobody Cops “Mean” More Than Teachers

January 12, 2020

 

No teacher is perfect and I’m sure we can frustrate our students from time to time, but no profession nets more negative feedback than the classroom teacher.

We get told to improve our performance from all angles. Principals, administrators, parents, fellow teachers and students all weigh in. Teachers are said to be the most bullied of all occupations. Worse than even the tax office and telecommunications employees.

Yet, for the most part, most take it in their stride and can still laugh at themselves.

That says a lot!

 

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

There’s More Effective Methods than Simply Punishing Bullies

February 12, 2017

bully-sandwhich-board

Here is one method that is more effective in counteracting bullying than punishments:

 

SCHOOLYARD bullies are more often stopped by meetings with their victims than by being punished, new research has revealed.

A study of 25 Australian schools found the best way to curb bullying was through ­restorative practice — asking a bully to reflect on the damage they have done and “act ­restoratively”.

Mediation and improving the social skills and assertiveness of victims also helped, schools said. But direct sanctions, such as verbal reprimands and detentions, were labelled least effective.

Researcher adjunct professor Ken Rigby, from the University of South Australia, said schools weren’t going soft on bullying by tackling the issue with mediation and meetings.

“You can’t stop all cases of bullying,” Prof Rigby said. “But teachers are increasingly seeing that direct sanctions don’t work particularly well.”

The study, published in the Australian Journal of Education, found some schools used direct sanctions in cases of extreme bullying or when restorative practice had failed.

Elwood Primary School uses mediation and meetings with students to stop bullying, but doesn’t punish kids with ­detention.

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

Click on the link to read Are Kids Really More Aggressive Nowadays?

The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

August 12, 2015

 

bullying-the-disabled

It’s time to commence with another school year. Spare a thought for the trepidation faced by students harassed for having disabilities.

The following is a great piece on this very issue written by Chester Goad courtesy of The Huffington Post:

 

Typically going back to school means seeing old friends and making new connections, and while most kids are nervous about going back to school, some kids are actually terrified.

Research suggests that between 150,000-200,000 students are bullied in our schools every day. Many school systems have even added hotlines and “Student Resource Officers” (SRO’s) who can help identify and prevent bullying. Still bullying happens, and statistics show that students with disabilities are more at risk. In fact, anyone who looks different, acts different, or believes something different from whatever is the local cultural norm is a target.

Not only do students with disabilities sometimes look different from non-disabled peers, but students with certain disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia also learn differently, and students who learn differently often receive additional resources or extra help which can bring unwanted attention from potential bullies.

Growing up is hard but growing up with a disability brings a different set of challenges. Social stigma, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness affect the learning environment when educators, parents, and other students aren’t paying attention. What does all this mean?

It means families should talk more. It means we must be more intentional in our efforts to address the problem without causing more trouble for the kids who are prone to be bullied, and without arming bullies with information that makes them wise enough to avoid intervention. Yes, it’s that complicated.

In 2013, the increasing number of students with disabilities being bullied prompted the U.S. Department of Education to release a “Dear Colleague Letter” reminding schools of their responsibility to provide a bully-free education, and to implement specific strategies to effectively prevent or stop bullying of all students, but especially those with disabilities.

Parents of students with disabilities or any sort of difference should be vigilant and listen to their kids when they’re discussing school. Pay attention to changes in behavior, especially aggression and meltdowns. If your instinct tells you there may be an issue with bullying, talk with teachers or other adults and ask about changes in behavior or attitude. It’s a challenge for us as parents not to want to handle things completely on our own, but parents should avoid confronting others about bullying until they have all the information, and it’s best to leave the confrontation part to the school. Discuss the issues with teachers or administration. They may be able to give you valuable insight before you talk with the other parents or take your concerns to a different level.

Some adults are inclined to let bullying go assuming that kids will just “work it out,” and some students do work out one-time incidences, but sadly, true bullying involves a pattern of inappropriate behavior and when left alone can worsen circumstances for everyone involved. In some instances, students may truly not understand that their actions are being perceived as bullying. They may simply be seeking attention. However, in other situations they know exactly what they’re doing. Parents should never just “let it go” or trust the situation to work itself out.

Talk to your kids, and listen. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying.

Student suicide rates are on the rise. Quick, proactive communication and education is key, and could save lives.

The best way to prevent students from becoming bullying statistics is to know your students and their disabilities, understand the law, encourage peer intervention (because intervention by peers is considered the most powerful deterrent to bullying), and to foster open positive relationships between parents and schools.

Going back to school is always going to be a little nerve wracking. Kids will always worry about classes, friendships, and keeping up with the latest fads. But they should never have to worry for their safety.

 

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

The Rampant New Trend of Bullying Red Headed Boys

January 21, 2015

red head

 

Bullying in all shapes and forms is inexcusable but I particularly hate to see people being tormented for the colour of their skin, the country their country of origin or the in vogue tradition of victimising boys with red hair:

 

Without warning, a boy in uniform is pushed.

But it’s soon clear, this is no schoolyard tiff.

After being grabbed and pummelled, the victim is thrown to ground and swiftly kicked in the head.

Four left fists follow before a second kick, and a third to finish him off.

The young thug then adjusts his cap as he coolly walks away.

The unprovoked attack at Ringwood Station was carried out last October by a 15-year-old boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons.

He pleaded guilty in a children’s court and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

The violent teen is the son of a prominent AFL player – but instead of using his skills on the sporting field, the boy is getting his kicks by preying on others.

While the boy hasn’t been named, 7News understands teenagers know who he is and several have also been harassed or assaulted by him but have been too frightened to come forward.

Psychologist Dr Simon Kinsella says such aggression in young males is all too common.

“Very often they’re trying to maintain their reputation amongst their peers as being a tough person, a tough guy, and they don’t give any real consideration to what impact it might have on the victim,” he told 7News.

The victim’s parents hope their son’s courage will encourage others to go to police.

They are considering legal action against the attacker’s family.

 

CCTV footage of the incident is available here

 

 

Click on the link to read 8 Methods to Stop Your Child From Being a Bully

Click on the link to read High School Bullying Victim Gets Even! (Video)

Click on the link to read Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

8 Methods to Stop Your Child From Being a Bully

December 31, 2014

 

 

Courtesy of via huffingtonpost.com:

 

1. Your child needs to be aware of others’ inner experiences.
It needs to become second nature to him to think about others and their feelings almost as quickly as he thinks of his own. Many parents validate one child’s perspective, but fail to discuss their own feelings or feelings of another child. Just validating your own child’s feelings does not teach him that there are other people in the world whose feelings matter.

Example of validating your child:

“I see you felt really angry right there when John took your ball.”

Example of teaching empathy:

“I see you felt really angry right there when John took your ball. He looked angry too. I think he thought you were going to play with him, but then you ended up playing alone.”

2. Discuss your own emotions too.
It does children no good to view a parent as having no weaknesses or vulnerable emotions. If they can empathize with you, they will remember this and it will facilitate self-compassion when they are an adult behaving as you do. Here’s an example of that:

“I’m sorry you got upset when Mommy didn’t play with you. Mommy was feeling anxious because she had a lot of cleaning to do before our friends come over. I will play with you now.”

3. Discuss both siblings’ or friends’ emotions after any conflict, validating and empathizing with both sides. Do not only validate the child whose actions you agree with more.
Example: “You were mad that your sister grabbed your doll, and she was feeling sad that you weren’t paying attention to her.  That’s probably why she grabbed it.”  You’re not condoning any behavior, but just giving a value-free description of the emotions underlying each child’s actions.

4. Make sure to speak for those who cannot speak, such as pets or babies.  
“Why is baby crying?  I wonder if he is hungry or tired? What do you think?” And a zero tolerance policy for meanness to those smaller and weaker than yourself.  Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss is a good book to serve as a springboard for a discussion about why it is important to look out for those smaller than yourself.

5. When you interact with others outside the home, discuss their feelings later together.
“I wonder what Grandma was thinking when she waved bye bye to you. I think she was happy she visited with you, but also a little sad you had to go. What do you think?”

You can also do this with characters in books and on TV.

6. Aim for consistency around the issue of meanness and teasing.
Any name-calling or making fun of others should be nipped in the bud right away.  Bad names and mean words are unacceptable, even from the smallest child. Don’t laugh or roll your eyes when your 3-year-old calls Daddy a poopy head. This just shows her that bad names are okay and even funny. Instead, say something like, “It hurts Daddy’s feelings when you call him a bad name. That is not nice and it’s not okay.”

You and your partner or any other caregiver should get on the same page about “teasing.” Often, one parent thinks that gentle teasing is okay, and a more sensitive parent or child then ends up getting hurt a lot because the less sensitive family members are “just” teasing them multiple times a day. This is especially a salient issue with Highly Sensitive Children.  I recommend that this is discussed openly in a family, e.g. “Mary thinks that you calling her sillyhead isn’t funny, so please don’t say that to her. Joe thinks it’s funny so we can say it to him. Whenever someone says they don’t think teasing is funny, it means we should stop right away.”

7. When children see others who are different from them, e.g. with special needs or birth defects, it is important to discuss that everyone has feelings and wants friends.  
Don’t be content with just telling your kids not to talk meanly or make fun of these children. You should go up and say hello and introduce yourselves.  Read this wonderful article by a mom of a little boy with a craniofacial disorder for more on this.

8. When you are mean, apologize.  
Don’t just feel ashamed and then try to silently make it up to your child or partner later. Own your mean behavior. This is extremely important because you’re modeling taking responsibility for your mean behavior. Children learn from what they see you do much more than from what you tell them to you.

Example: “I’m sorry I grabbed your arm roughly when you pulled the stuff off the shelf in the grocery store. I did it because I was mad. But no matter what I was feeling, grabbing you wasn’t okay.”

 

If I can add to the list I would recommend having your child watch the entire How to UnMake a Bully series. I was fortunate enough to have some involvement in the installment above.

 

Click on the link to read High School Bullying Victim Gets Even! (Video)

Click on the link to read Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

Click on the link to read Another Vicious Schoolyard Fight Video Emerges

High School Bullying Victim Gets Even! (Video)

December 8, 2014

 

This story reminds me of the famous shopping scene from Pretty Woman:

 

A former victim of high school bullying was asked on a date by one of her taunters only to stand him up with an excellent note that has seen her showered with praise from all over the world.

It all started eight years ago when UK student Lousia Manning, now 22, was bullied at high school where she was called fat and nicknamed “man beast” for having hairy legs.

Years later at Oxford University, she had a chance encounter with one of the bullies who asked her out to dinner, setting an elaborate plan in motion.

Instead of turning up at the restaurant as planned, she arrived early and left a note with a waitress.

“Hey sorry I can’t join you tonight,” it read.

“Remember year eight when I was fat and you made fun of my weight? No? I do — I spent the following three years eating less than an apple a day. So I’ve decided to skip dinner.”

“Remember the monobrow you mocked? The hairy legs you were disgusted by? Remember how every day for three years you and your friends called me Manbeast? No perhaps you don’t or you wouldn’t have seen how I look eight years later and deemed me f***able enough to treat me like a human being.”

“I thought I’d send you this as a reminder. Next time you think of me, picture the girl in this photo because she’s the one who just stood you up.”

Needless to say, the story received a huge response with anyone who has ever been bullied punching the air all around the world.

 

 

Click on the link to read Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

Click on the link to read Another Vicious Schoolyard Fight Video Emerges

Click on the link to read Bullying from a Teenager’s Perspective

Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

November 17, 2014

 

This was an awful incident, made worse by the fact that it was one of the attackers that posted the footage online. At least the police reaction gives us some hope that such conduct will not be tolerated:

 

Victorian police have charged a 15-year-old Ballarat boy after a video emerged online showing him bullying another boy.

The video was posted on Facebook last week and showed the teenager and several others threaten to stab the boy if he did not hand over his jacket.

Detectives said the teenager was charged on Monday morning with one count of assault with intent to rob.

He was bailed to appear at a children’s court.

Former police officer and cyber bullying expert n Susan McLean said the video was “distressing” to watch.

“The young victim was clearly petrified and the boys just kept going and going and going,” she said.

“I think as a society we need to say ‘well no, this is not a part of growing up, this is not character building, it’s wrong, it’s criminal and it needs to be dealt with’.”

She said people needed to be encouraged to report bullying.

“This young boy didn’t even go home and tell. This all came to light because it was posted online. So we’ve got to encourage a culture of telling, telling an adult,” Ms McLean said.

The video had been viewed online more than 300,000 times.

Police said their investigation was ongoing.

 

Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

Click on the link to read Another Vicious Schoolyard Fight Video Emerges

Click on the link to read Bullying from a Teenager’s Perspective


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