Psychologists estimate that 160,000 children stay home from school every day because they are afraid of being bullied. - National Association of School Psychologists
Tyler, TX (PRWEB) October 10, 2012
Bullying is a growing concern for schools in a day when social media and the Internet have opened wide the opportunities of children being bullied and/or witnessing the act of bullying occurring. Gone are the days when the idea of bullying conjured images of a big kid demanding a smaller kid’s milk money behind the school gymnasium. Bullying today is much more aggressive, far-reaching and diverse, and the consequences—while always tragic—are sometimes even deadly.
According to the Federal Government’s website, stopbullying.gov, there are three types of bullying: physical, verbal and social. Physical harm and verbal threats and taunts are mainstream examples of bullying. However, bullying has also gone viral, reaching across the Internet and mobile phone screens into a child’s private world at home. Long after school has been dismissed for the day, the potential for bullying lingers on through email, texting, Twitter and Facebook.
There are three people involved in most bullying situations (the bully, the victim(s), and the bystander(s). Teachers who suspect a student has been the victim of (or witness to) bullying are encouraged to stress the necessity of confiding in a trusted adult. Look for symptoms such as a reluctance to be at school or socialize with others. Students may also seem withdrawn or depressed. Escalated symptoms include expressing fear in certain situations like riding the school bus, unexplained bruises or cuts, and threats of suicide.
A joint partnership between teachers, parents and schools is very effective against bullying, and there are many anti-bullying resources available, including the Bully Guide from Mentoring Minds, a leading educational publisher. It is for teacher use in K-5 and 6-12 levels and has tools for intervention strategies to equip teachers to identify and effectively handle various bullying situations, even cyber-bullying. The Bully Guide encourages positive interactions among students, leading to a grassroots rejection of bullying from the students themselves.
In the Bully Guide, teachers are encouraged to talk about the different forms of bullying and make sure students realize laughing at others promotes bullying. Teachers are also wise to model in the classroom what it means to accept others, regardless of differences. Creative anti-bullying ideas, such as role-play and planning activities where children help others and give each other positive comments reinforce the importance of accepting everyone. Encouraging children’s self-confidence is crucial to their healthy development. Every child will encounter conflict at some point in life and helping them learn to deal with it and solve problems is a vital part of growing up. The Bully Guide shows teachers how to inform children about the reality of bullying and assure them of everyone’s right to feel safe.
Ultimately, bullying awareness relies on the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and schools. Families and communities who partner with schools are better able to collectively confront bullying and implement strategies like those in the Bully Guide. Supporting school and community anti-bullying efforts as a united front sends a strong message that bullying—whether physical, verbal or social—will not be tolerated.
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