Boys will be Boys…

… or does this attitude perpetuate bullying? We have to be careful what those things are. With girls, it can be more subtle, but just as powerful. There is a huge difference between a little rough housing and purposefully picking on someone.

The story out of Rutgers this week is a tragic and pointless one, both for the victim and the perpetrators, and who knows if it could have been prevented. Nonetheless, it’s important to try.

Kids need adults to step in and stop anything that doesn’t look right. We have to help both the victims and the agressors.

At our school, from pre-K to 2nd we use the Committee for Children’s “Second Step” program, and from 3rd to 5th, their “Steps to Respect” program. Besides empathy training, impulse control and problem solving, and anger management, it also focuses on affirming, asking, assessing, and acting. That final piece is one that is crucial. Words are empty, if we don’t act. If we are to train our kids not be bystanders, we as parents and teachers also need to stop being bystanders.

It’s never too early to teach a kid empathy and how to be accepting. The classroom or school climate is one where every kid has to feel valued rather than isolated.

Below, Ellen Degeneres’s  comments are touching and moving, but mostly an important public service announcement.

Last week I was at a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and although the Senator’s speech was great, and the main guest speaker’s talk was fun, it was the speech from a female minister of an accepting Christian church that talked about how children come to her door because their own families have shunned them. Many never find a resource and end their lives. You would think that doesn’t happen today, but it does.

A coworker brought to my attention some of the work the HRC is doing to help stop this cycle in schools. The resource is called “Welcoming Schools“.

It is not surprising that two of the journals I read have articles on cyberbullying in their first issue of the school year. Let’s not be bystanders and stop the senseless cycle.

Click here for an article from Instructor

Click here for an article in Teaching Tolerance.


This is Appalling

I think I may have to take up a new cause.

I cannot believe that at least 20 states (according to the CNN article “To Paddle or not to Paddle“) still allow corporal punishment. I feel fortunate to be in one of those states that have banned it.

It’s 2010. Seriously? What a way to model bullying in schools.

Perhaps below is a way paddles can be used in schools.

The crew of the Pittsburgh Technical Institute's entry in the Kennywood Park Anything Floatable Race paddles it school bus down the Allegheny River Sunday, July 2, 2006, in downtown Pittsburgh. The event is part of the 29th annual Three Rivers Regatta that runs through July 4th.