Bullying in Schools
images.jpegYesterday I was at the park and I overheard a father who was playing football with his sons. He said, "we are the Pittsburgh Steelers and you guys can be the gays by the bay". That not being the way I was raised, or the way I am raising my kids, my initial reaction was that this guy was a bad father. After not being able to get what I heard out of my mind all night, I started to realize that this is not uncommon. If this is what our kids are often hearing at home, what can we do at school to not only reverse this type of thinking, but to help energize our students to make the fight against bullying a fight they can call their own. This page is for teachers who are dedicated to empowering all of our students to "fight" bullying and hate language in our schools.

In this excerpt from NPR's Morning Edition, interviewers hear from students, educators, and researchers on anti-bulling programs in public schools. It is important that we start talking about bulling in a more realistic way with our students. This radio clip does not give specific examples of how these programs actually work or whether or not they actually do work in these schools, but the response from the student is very insightful into his perspective on those two things. Educators and administrators should be paying attention to what other school are doing and we should all have an anti-bulling plan at our schools.

This is a music video for Eminem's "No Love" featuring Lil' Wayne. This is not necessarily a resource for teacher, but I think it is important to pay attention to the messages our students are getting outside of school. I have mixed feelings about this video and song. The video show the perspective of a student who is being bullied, which I think is important, but it also show this young person becoming increasingly angry and eventually fighting back in a physical way. Although this is the wrong message it is also a reality for many young people who really don't feel that they have any back-up from the people in their school who should be there to help. It is a sign of the times, in the aftermath of the recent bully related suicides, that this is the topic of a popular music video, but both of these artists are often bullies themselves. Theses are some of the very confusing mixed messages that our students are getting not only as a result of the music, but also as a result of the lack of anti-bulling work we are doing in schools to prevent the type of retaliation in this video.

youtube: Preview of the film "Bullied" by the Southern Poverty Law Center
This is a preview of the film "Bullied" which recounts the story of a young gay student who sued his school administrators because they failed to respond to his constant bullying. You can order this film and teaching resources for free from www.teachingtolorance.org

slideshare.com: This is a slideshow outline for a raceebridgesforschool.com program. This program encourages students to explore their similarities and differences and would be a great way to build a stronger community within a school or a classroom. I think it is important to look at all the faces of bullying, including race and gender based bullying. This program seems to be very comprehensive in the way it addresses some of the very common causes of violence, discrimination, hate, and bullying in schools. Additional necessary resources can be downloaded or ordered from www.racebridgesforschool.com, but I think that this could be a great outline that teachers or administrators could use to create their own program or draw ideas from.

Rachel's Challenge: Rachel's Challenge and Friends of Rachel is a program developed by the family of a girl killed in the Columbine shootings. The program has an anti-bullying focus. We brought the program to Ponderosa Junior HIgh in 2009 and the students responded well to it although it was not very interactive, and it did not seem to have any lasting effect at our school. This program is similar to others that involve a film and speaker at an assembly, but do not offer much that can keep the lessons going at the school. It is however, an inspiring program. Video clips about the program can be viewed at the following website (I was unable to embed them here).


´╗┐Challenge Day: In contrast to a program like Rachel's Challenge, Challenge Day is a highly interactive anti-bullying program. The program has been featured on Oprah and MTV. Up to 100 students and 25 adults (teachers, administrators, family members) work with two highly trained leaders to explore the dynamics and relationships that define their school. The program looks amazing, and although it cost more than some of the less interactive programs, it includes trainings for school leaders. I could not embed the video from the site, but I am posting a youtube video clip from the 90 min documentary "Teen Files:Surviving High School", which featured scenes from a Challenge Day event. Below is the link to additional videos on the Challenge Day website.


Oprah: This is a youtube clip of the video montage at the beginning of an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show that focused on bullying and suicide. This clip focuses on two pre-teens who committed suicide after being harassed and called "gay" at school. I think videos like this could be a very effective (and free) way to inspire all students to stop using hate language. It is not only the bullies and the victims of bullying who need to be inspired. We all have a part in a school environment that encourages bullying and a big part of that is the language that we use or allow to be used in our classrooms and hallways. This clip could help kids see the power that language has, and how deadly it can truly be.

´╗┐I was very interested in finding a resources that gives advice about what we can do as teachers to support/communicate with the parents of both bullies and the bullied. I was unable to find any useful resources. If you have any ideas, please post here.

Anderson Cooper 360: This is a long clip that discusses the suicides of the same young boys from the Oprah clip, but it also elaborates on what the parents in this situation did and what went wrong. Author and educator Barbara Coloroso is a guest who gives great insights into what teachers, bystanders, and parents can do to stop bullying.