Posts Tagged ‘How to UnMake a Bystander’

Finally an Anti-Bullying Resource that Works

June 26, 2012

I have just watched the second installment of the How to Unmake a Bully trilogy with my students. The second film focusses on the topical issue of Bystanders. It has always been difficult for teachers to motivate bystanders to act. The standard anti-bullying programs and resources don’t measure up to this brilliant piece of film-making.

It only took twelve days for teacher Mike Feurstein and a cast of elementary students from Glendaal Elementary School to shoot this movie. From the extraordinary shot of a child with cafeteria tray in hand being rejected from every table he tries to sit at to the chilling scene where a bystander gets the courage to speak out against a bully, this film speaks to children in a way other resources fail to.

I watched the film with my students and they were enthralled, They even gave it a standing ovation during the closing credits. This is a tribute to Mike’s well drawn characters and his use of comic and superhero references. The idea that children have the very same super powers they pretend to posses during role play situations is a stroke of genius.

Here is a movie that is perceptive, knowing, vibrant, beautifully constructed and shot and will get your students reflecting about their experiences, behaviour and future choices. Throw away your old tired resources and bring these films into your classroom.

(I suggest you show them the first film in the series, How to Unmake a Bully, before you show them Bystanders – How to UnMake A Bully, Volume 2 ).

Heroic Girl Stands Up to Bullies Only to be Labeled One Herself

June 20, 2012

One of the major stumbling blocks in the fight against bullying is the passive nature of bystanders. The last thing we want to see is children who would ordinarily stand up to bullies show a reluctance because of a lack of leadership and support from their school.

Here is a case where a girl confronted bullies who were bullying a disabled child, only to have her efforts undermined and used against her:

A Florida teen who decided to stand up against kids who were bullying a mentally disabled student on the bus is being called a bully herself.

Stormy Rich, 18, had been riding on a middle school bus because she had enough credits to start classes later in the day at Umatilla High School, the Daily Commercial reported, but she says she was shocked by how some of the middle school girls were treating a student with mental disabilities.

She thought she was doing the right thing in reporting bullying incidents she witnessed against a mentally-challenged middle school girl by a group of girls on morning bus rides to school.“I’m a very outspoken person,” Rich said. “I stick up for what I feel is right. In the school code of conduct handbook, it is clearly stated that bullying is a non-tolerable offense.”

Rich first complained to the bus driver but the bullying continued. She then complained to a high school official, who said he would contact the middle school, but nothing changed.

“I would sit on the bus every single day and see the bullying was still going on and nothing was being done,” Rich told the Daily Commercial. “It was aggravating,” she added.

The senior demanded the bullies stop, which worked for a while. She said they then began threatening her, even though she complained about this to school personnel on almost a daily basis for about two weeks. The mother and daughter even contacted police.

“Enough is enough,” Rich said in her written complaint. “Something should be done.”

What happened next stunned Stormy and her mother, Brenda. 

On May 4, they got a letter from the school saying her daughter was kicked off the middle school bus. A district school official said Rich displayed bullying behavior in her comments.

“She said what I did made me the bully, with me telling the kids that if they didn’t stop, and if the school didn’t do anything, that I would have to handle it,” Rich said. “To me, it was just going too far.”

According to Christopher Patton, communications officer for Lake County Schools, a courtesy had been extended to Rich to ride the middle school bus.

“Due to circumstances on the bus, the privileges were revoked,” he said.

Patton said he could not discuss the bullying complaints filed by Rich or her mother. He also could not say if any action was taken about those complaints.

 

Below is a trailer from the soon to be released film How to UnMake a Bystander, which couldn’t come at a better time.

 

Click on the link to read my post on 8 strategies for standing up to bullies.


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