WIPE OUT Bullying: It is Possible

If we make the effort, we have the power to “wipe out” bullying, but due to recent statistics, and if there is doubt, we can at least think on the lines of decreasing bullying.  You may not realize it, but many children either know a bully, know someone who has been bullied, has been bullied, or are a bully bystander (one who knows or observes bullying done to another, but chooses to remain silent and/or does not intervene).
Please know how you can help. Here are a few suggestions to consider
If your child is a bystander, talk to your child about “why” he/she chooses this route. Could it be your child fears if he/she speaks up, the bully may turn on them? Can you give your child suggestions of how to intervene without putting him/herself in danger?  What about yelling out “Help!” or “Stop!” Your child can also feel free to go for help, or report incidences anonymously.
Talk to your child daily about his/her school day. Ask if there is anything you should know. Help your child identify what is and isn’t bullying.
If you feel your child IS a bully -- Ensure your child realizes how hurting others feel. Ask how they’d feel if “the shoe was on the other foot.” Talk to your child about feelings, consideration of others, how to speak kindly to others, how to have empathy for friends and school mates, how to play fair and take turns when at play, or playing a board game. These skills help build positive social skills. Go ahead and role-play with your child. Get as serious as you need to, so they will understand feelings, remorsefulness and care for others.
Recognize the signs of bullying.  Your child may not tell you he/she is being bullied for fear of retaliation from the bully, or they may be ashamed. Please note a few signs to ponder.

  • Loss of sleep
  • Falling grades
  • Often complaining of stomach aches, or headaches
  • Loneliness
  • Complaints of going to school
  • Going to school very early/late with intent to avoid the bully
  • Personal belongings missing, but they have said they lost it (the Bully actually took it)
  • Knowing the signs of bullying can help you intervene sooner.

School yourself on the universal definition of bullying, and ensure your child knows what bullying is and isn’t. Some children may believe what they are experiencing is not bullying, but a part of childhood endurance. This is farther from the truth. There is a difference between bullying and “horse playing” with a friend.
Bullying is defined:  Use of physical force, verbal threat or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is usually intentional, repeated and habitual.  


Helping Children Get to the End of the School Year Without Chaos

Students may have had a long, rough school year and the end is finally near. With the stress of budget cuts along with the stressors of preparing some students for yet another wave of new testing procedures and innovative strategies as per state mandated tests, the last few weeks of school may pose yet another challenge, as students will be restless, anxious and some perhaps a little disruptive, AND believe it or not, testing still isn’t finished.
By now, students are extremely tired, antsy, and aggravated, so school officials may want to become clever in ideas and/or fun activities for students. Whatever can be done to ease tensions and eliminate negative and unwarranted behaviors, would be advantageous for students and teachers these last few days.
Kindly request fun activities from your teachers. Even learning materials as a review can be taught in fun ways. I’d like to caution you however, to approach your teachers with your ideas in appropriate respectful ways.
Teachers: Use your pedagogical talents and skills -- “think outside the box” as you brain storm innovative ways to keep students attentive and interactive, grounded in learning and performing in socially acceptable ways. Do whatever is needed to keep your cool and teach children how to respectfully consider the needs and actions of their classroom peers.
Since students have had to spend lots of time on test taking strategies and skills the last few weeks of school, while not necessarily getting to know their peers one idea is the following: Students can have a mini lesson on their culture. This doesn’t have to become a huge elaborate project. Students can bring in an artifact or remnants from their culture to share with their classmates.  Teachers can create Power Points and ask students to take turns inputting their personal cultural data they want to share with peers. If students have pictures, these can either be scanned into the PowerPoint for sharing, or students can bring in their actual artifact(s) on share day.
Depending on time and school regulations, students can also bring in individually wrapped foods adding to their presentations to share with their peers and teacher.
This is only one idea, but teachers, you are so clever. Use your creativity and come up with ideas to get you and your students through the remainder of the school year.
Another idea is to choose an interesting book of your choice. Ask students to read the entire book, and then have students find answers to your questions. This activity can be called a Book Scavenger Hunt.  The teacher may want to give a prize to the student(s) with the most answers found correct.
Hang in there, teachers and students!

Bullying - Essays