Friday, July 29, 2011

Gangs & School Safety

National School Safety and Security Services has extensive experience with school gang issues.  Our president, Kenneth Trump, created and supervised one of the most successful school district youth gang units in the early 1990s which reduced school-related gang crimes and discipline incidents in the Cleveland City School District by 39% over three years. Ken later served three years as assistant director of a federal-funded suburban anti-gang initiative to deal with emerging gangs in suburban schools and communities. 
In mid-2006, Ken was appointed by the United States Attorney of the Northern District of Ohio to serve as a Steering Committee member for the Cleveland Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative, one of six model projects in the nation awarded by U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.  Ken served as Chairman of the Prevention Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee for the initiative.

Defining Gangs
There is no universally accepted definition of a gang.  Definitions continue to be debated by the nation's most experienced and knowledgeable academicians who study gangs.
A youth gang can be considered as a collectivity of primarily adolescents and young adults who:
  • interact frequently
  • are frequently and deliberately involved in illegal activities
  • share a common collective identity
  • and typically adopt certain methods of identification and/or claim control over certain

The key factor rests with their collective frequent and deliberate involvement in illegal activities and/or violations of school policies and procedures. The focus by school and law enforcement should be on the behavior (misconduct and/or criminal) associated with gang-behavior in schools.
Why Do Kids Join Gangs?

Factors motivating kids to join gangs vary individual to individual. A multitude of social and economic reasons can be involved. Power, status, security, friendship, family substitute, economic profit, substance abuse influences, and numerous other factors can influence kids to join gangs.  Gang members also cross all socio-economic backgrounds and boundaries regardless of age, sex, race, economic status, and academic achievement.  
Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis, thus the importance of knowing what to look for and how to intervene early before the problem becomes entrenched!
Gang versus Non-Gang Activity
Gang violence is different from non-gang violence in several ways:
  • Gang violence typically involves a larger number of individuals
  • Gang-related violence tends to be more retaliatory and escalates much more quickly than non-gang violence
  • Gang activity is usually more violent in nature and often involves a greater use of weapons.
School and public safety officials must look at gang activity differently and not as one-on-one, isolated incidents.  Otherwise, the problem can escalate so quickly that a school lunchroom fight between rival gang members will escalate into a potential drive-by shooting just hours later at school dismissal. 
School officials must still discipline individual students involved in gang offenses on a case-by-case basis based upon their individual actions in violating school rules, but educators must see the forest with the trees and recognize that these offenses are interrelated and part of a broader pattern of gang-related misconduct and violence.
Recognizing Gangs
Typically, people look for graffiti or bandannas as the main indicators of a gang presence.  However, gang indicators can be quite subtle, particularly as awareness increases among school officials, law enforcement, parents, and other adults.
Depending upon the specific gang activity in a specific given school or community, gang identifiers may include:
  • Graffiti:  Unusual signs, symbols, or writing on walls, notebooks, etc.
  • "Colors":  Obvious or subtle colors of clothing, a particular clothing brand, jewelry, or haircuts (But not necessarily the traditional perception of colors as only bandannas)
  • Tattoos:   Symbols on arms, chest, or elsewhere on the body
  • "Lit" (gang literature):  Gang signs, symbols, poems, prayers, procedures, etc. in notebooks or other documents
  • Initiations:  Suspicious bruises, wounds, or injuries resulting from a "jumping in" type initiation
  • Handsigns:  Unusual hand signals or handshakes
  • Behavior:  Sudden changes in behavior or secret meetings
and many other methods. One or several of these identifiers may indicate gang affiliation. It is important to remember, however, that identifiers help recognize gang affiliation, but a focus on behavior is especially important.
Educators, law enforcement, parents, and other youth-service providers need regular training and updates to monitor the changing nature of gang identifiers and, most importantly, gang behavior in their schools and communities.  Due to the ever-evolving nature of gang identifiers, and the increasingly common trend of gang members going "lower profile" with fewer visible signs of gang membership to avoid detection by authorities, the best training on gang identifiers is often provided by local law enforcement and other gang specialists who are familiar with the latest local trends.

Denial Versus Acknowledging Gangs
Gangs thrive on anonymity, denial, and lack of awareness by school personnel. The gang member whose notebook graffiti goes unaddressed today may be involved in initiations, assaults, and drug sales in school in the near future.
The condition that makes the school environment most ripe for gang activity is denial.  The most common initial response to gangs in almost all communities and schools is denial because public officials are more focused on image concerns for their organizations while they should be focusing on dealing with the problem.  The longer they deny, the more entrenched the problem becomes and in the end, the worse their image will be.

Even when school and community officials come out of denial and acknowledge a gang presence, they tend to downplay it and do a "qualified admittance" of the problem.  They acknowledge it when they can't deny it any longer, but even then they tend to downplay it and underestimate the extent of a problem.  They only people those who play this political game fool in the long run is themselves because the longer they deny and downplay the problem, the worse it becomes, and the bigger gang problem --- and image problem --- they will face in the end.
The flip side of the issue is that we also do not want to overstate the problem in a school or community, put people in unnecessary fear, or give the gangs more credit and status than they want to claim for themselves.  The majority of kids in a given school are not in a gang and do not want gang activity in their schools.  The problem, though, is that a small number of gang members, along with their associates outside of the school, can account for a very significant amount of violence in a very short period of time if their activities go unaddressed.
School officials can prevent such occurrences - or at least reduce the risks and impact of those which do occur - by training their staff on gang identification, behavior, prevention and intervention strategies, and related school security and emergency preparedness issues.
Managing and Preventing Gangs in Schools
School and community responses requires a balanced approach of prevention, intervention, and enforcement strategies.  Schools must work very closely with law enforcement to share information on gang activity since what happens in the community spills over into the schools and vice versa.
Practical steps schools can take include:
  • Communicate to staff, students, and parents that schools are neutral grounds and that gang, drug, and weapon activities will receive priority response
  • Apply discipline in a timely, firm, fair, and consistent manner
  • Institute student anti-gang education and prevention programs
  • Establish a mechanism for student conflict mediation
  • Train school personnel and parents in gang identification, intervention, and prevention techniques
  • Obtain input from youth on violence-related concerns and prevention strategies
  • Establish cooperative relationships and communication networks with parents, law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies, social services, and other community members. Set up mechanisms and structures to promote information-sharing and coordination among agencies addressing youth, gangs, and related public safety efforts.
Gangs are a community problem, but schools are a part of that community and cannot operate in isolation while hoping that the gang members will drop their gang alliances and activities once they cross the schoolhouse door.
Gang Trends and Cycles
Gang activity in many (but not all) schools and communities seemed to hit a peak in the mid-90's, leveling off and declining in the late 90's in many areas.  Of course, there are exceptions to this and it is important to say that the specific trends vary community to community.   An upswing in school and community gang activity began appearing in many school communities around the 2003-2004 school year and today we currently see a clear upward trend in gang activity in many communities across the nation.  Unfortunately, many of the gang prevention, intervention, and enforcement efforts in place in communities back in the 1990s have been disbanded, dismantled, and dissolved due to a lack of funding and community support, so many communities are starting fresh in dealing with gang problems.
Gang activity tends to be cyclical.  It goes up, hits a peak, dips, and then eventually comes back up again.  The problem is that when it dips, it always seems to come back up at a higher level of violence and severity than its last peak plateau.
Gang development is a process, not an event.  Schools and communities do not simply wake up one morning and find that gangs suddenly appeared overnight. Schools must work with parents, youth, criminal justice agencies, social service officials, businesses, and the broader community representatives.  The key rests with school and community officials quickly recognizing the presence of gang behaviors and activity in a timely manner to nip it in the bud before it becomes entrenched.
For More Information & School Gang Training
For more information on school gangs and our related school safety training, email Ken Trump.

By The Bully Blog with No comments

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bullying: Tips for Students

This checklist provides suggestions for what kids can do when bullying occurs – written for students being bullied, students who witness bullying and the bullies themselves.

If you are being bullied...
Reach Out

Tell an adult. Sometimes you may have to tell more than one trusted adult.
Ask your friends to help you. There is safety in numbers.
Practice what to say the next time you're bullied with your parents, teachers or friends.

Be Cool in the Moment

Stay calm and confident. Don't show the bully that you're sad or mad.
Ignore the bully and walk away.
Remember: Fighting back can make bullying worse.

Change the School Community

Work with others to stop bully behavior; your whole school will benefit.
Remember: A lot of kids have to cope with bullying. You are not alone. No one deserves to be bullied.

If you witness bullying...
Interrupt It

Stand next to, or speak up for, the person being bullied.
Ask the bully to stop.
Comfort the person being bullied and offer friendship.

Get Help

Walk away and get help.
Find an adult who can intervene.

If you are the bully...
Make a Commitment to Change

Talk to an adult, like a teacher or parent, about how to get along with others.
Ask a friend to help you stop your bully behavior.
Apologize to the kids you have bullied.

Focus on Empathy and Responsibility

Think about what it feels like to be bullied -- would you want to be treated that way?
Before you speak, think about whether your words will help or hurt another student.

Change Your Behavior

Resist peer pressure to bully.
If you start to bully, walk away and find something else to do.
Remember: You don't have to like everyone around you, but you have to treat everyone with respect.

Drawn from Stop Bullying Now, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

By The Bully Blog with No comments

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips on stopping a Mean Girl Bully

  1. Ignore her as often as possible. Bullies crave attention, and females aren't much different. If she bothers you, she'll expect a response, so if you decide not to give her one, she'll eventually grow bored with you. 
  2. Tell a trusting adult. Make sure you tell them not to mention your name so you aren’t labeled a snitch. By doing so, not only will you get your problem out, but you'll also be getting it off your chest, and sharing it with someone who cares.
  3. Make eye contact with her. It shows confidence, that you could care less what she does. If she can sense your 'weak' or scared, she'll go after that.
  4. Use your words, not your fists. However, if you are being physically threatened, (with guns, knives, etc.) do whatever you can. Do NOT start a fight or a riot, it will only create tension, and an audience, which may lead to a principal or boss pulling you down to their office for a talk.
  5. Find her weakness before she finds yours. This is the key to making her stop. Make her feel bad about bullying and try to shut her up so that she can't bother you. In other words, say something that she can't answer. Nevertheless, make sure it's not something that she can later make a comeback from.
  6. Giving her assertive energy, can also help, in some cases; it doesn't need to be confronted, you already "had".
  7. Remember, it's only a phase and it can make you feel like it's the worst thing in the world; but you won't spend the rest of your life with her.
  8. If she feels the need to say "we" or "us" and you know it's only her that's bullying you. It shows that's she's a coward, and she is trying to intimidate you.
  9. Is it you she's only bullying? Maybe she has other victims too. Talk to them about it; see if she is doing the exact same thing to others.
  10. Hard kidding, making you the butt of the joke all the time, put-downs, and harsh criticism for no reason can't slide, if it's been going on for months or longer, it's a red flag. If it's a friend that's doing this, your friend is slowly wearing you down and that's indirect aggression.
  11. Make a confrontation direct and brief, DON'T KISS UP TO HER! That’s weakness in her eyes and DON'T provoke anything. (Your talents provoke her already)

By The Bully Blog with No comments

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How can we help our child avoid being bullied?

How can we help our child avoid being bullied? 

Whether on the school playground or in the neighborhood park, children sometimes find themselves the target of bullies. When that happens, these bullies can not only frighten a youngster, shaking his confidence and spoiling his play, but they can also cause bodily injury.  
Avoiding a bully is one reason your child may be reluctant to go to school. Perhaps he is being forced to relinquish his lunch money to this bully. Or he might be fearful of physical harm. If you suspect a problem like this, you need to take action to ensure your child's safety and well-being. Here are some strategies he can adopt with your help, and which will help make him safer:  
  • Tell your child not to react to the bully, particularly by giving in to demands. A bully relishes intimidating others and likes nothing better than to see his victim cry or become visibly upset in other ways. Getting that response reinforces the bullying behavior. Your child should try to keep his composure and simply walk away.  
  • If your child's attempts at disregarding a bully's taunts aren't effective, he should become assertive with his harasser. While standing tall and looking his tormentor in the eyes, he should clearly and loudly make a statement like, "Stop doing that now. If you keep on, I'm going to report you to the principal." Or, "I'll talk to you, but I'm not going to fight. So put your fists down now." Sometimes, a strong statement will defuse the situation, and the bully will try to find another, weaker target. Drawing the attention of peers to the bullying situation can embarrass the bully. If your child isn't used to reacting assertively, help him rehearse what he will say if he is confronted.  
  • Encourage your child to form strong friendships. A youngster who has loyal friends is less likely to be singled out by a bully, or at least he'll have some allies if he does become a target of harassment.  
  • Talk to your son's teacher or to the principal of his school if the situation with the bully persists. You might be reluctant to intervene, perhaps because your child is embarrassed to have you do so, or because you believe he needs to learn to deal with these situations on his own. On the other hand, you don't want your child's self-confidence to weaken, or his physical well-being to be jeopardized. Your youngster deserves to attend school in a safe environment, even if it means both you and the school staff need to become involved.  
Let the principal or teacher talk to the bully when he or she sees the inappropriate behavior taking place on the school grounds. This is generally a more effective approach than having you speak with the child or his parents.  

By The Bully Blog with No comments

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bullying Prevention Tips for Kids

If You Are Being Harassed

  • Talk to your parents or an adult you can trust, such as a teacher, school counselor, or principal. If the first adult you approach is not receptive, find another adult who will support and help you. There is someone who you can trust.
  • It's not useful to blame yourself for a bully's actions. If bullies know they are getting to you, they are likely to torment you more. If at all possible, stay calm, say nothing and walk away. Act confident. Hold your head up, stand up straight, make eye contact, and walk confidently. A bully will be less likely to single you out if your project self-confidence.
  • Try to make friends with other students. A bully is more likely to leave you alone if you are with your friends. This is especially true if you and your friends stick up for each other.
  • Avoid situations where bullying can happen. If at all possible, avoid being alone with bullies. Be with someone when you walk home or use the restroom.
  • Do not resort to violence or carry a gun or other weapon. Carrying a gun will not make you safer.

If Someone Else is Being Harassed

  • Refuse to join in if you see someone being bullied.
  • If you can do so without risk to your own safety, get a teacher, parent, or other responsible adult to come help immediately.
  • Speak up and/or offer support to bullied teens when you witness bullying. If you feel you cannot do this at the time, privately support those being hurt with words of kindness or condolence later. Encourage them to tell someone.
  • Always report harassment, even if it is anonymously.

About Cyber-Harassment

Victims of cyber-harassment can be reached anytime and anyplace and often they do not know the perpetrator. Damage done by cyberbullies is equal to other forms of harassment. Some protective tips are:

  • Make your user name and online profile anonymous.
  • Don't open or read mail by cyberbullies.
  • Don't erase messages and show them to an adult you trust.
  • If you are threatened with harm, ask and adult to help you call the police.

By The Bully Blog with 1 comment

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do Mean Girls Rule Your School?

Do Mean Girls Rule Your School?

Backstabbing and cruel jokes are all too common among middle-school girls and boys, say the experts behind The Ophelia Project, dedicated to stopping “relational aggression” in schools. Here’s their advice for reforming Heathers-esque tweens and teens.

“Bullying? Doesn’t that mean pushing people around?”
Why it's Bad News: The kind of aggression that’s most dangerous, says Trudy Ludwig, author of My Secret Bully, is between friends, not enemies. Mean comments followed by “just kidding,” or laughing with a friend one day, ignoring her the next, are just as harmful as a hallway shoving match—but many middle schoolers don’t see it as bullying.
What You Can Do: Share scenes from novels (see sidebar) in which this kind of relational aggression is demonstrated. Afterward, challenge students to write their own definitions of bullying as it appears in the book and discuss.
“This character assembly is silly. Teachers just don’t get it.”
Why it's Bad News
: While character assemblies are well-intentioned, kids often scoff. Then they’re left stranded when confronted with an actual bully.
What You Can Do: “Role play, role play, role play,” says Ludwig. But keep it real. Don’t oversimplify social situations by asking kids what they would do if someone made fun of them. It won’t compute. Instead, try reading a book that portrays realistic bullying, such as Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher. Have students write skits that demonstrate how they would respond if they were the character being bullied—and then connect it to kids’ own lives.
“It’s not cool to talk to teacher.”
Why it's Bad News: Cliques in charge often come down on “snitching.” And while you can’t help but notice a schoolyard skirmish, a hurtful text message can go undetected.
What You Can Do: Patty Kelley Criswell, clinical social worker and author of A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles, recommends setting up a “communication box” in your classroom where students can drop short, anonymous notes. Want a 2007 approach? Create an e-mail account for your students and let them know that they can contact you at any time.
“But we were just standing there. We didn’t do anything.”
Why it's Bad News: Middle schoolers often have the idea that as long as they’re not the ones writing the nasty note, they’re not to blame—even if they’re the ones snickering at it.
What You Can Do: Watch a movie that illustrates all the players in the bullying game—the perpetrator, the victim, and the bystanders. Odd Girl Out is a good choice. Then dissect the dynamic with your students. Why do the perps bully the victim? How could the victim have defended herself? How could the bystanders have helped? Finally, apply the movie to what’s going on in your school. Challenge kids to speak up when they see “relational aggression” at work.

By The Bully Blog with No comments

Monday, July 18, 2011

How can the bullies be caught? What can happen to them? How can the perpetrators be caught and dealt with, and what exactly can happen to them if they are caught?

How can the bullies be caught? What can happen to them?

How can the perpetrators be caught and dealt with, and what exactly can happen to them if they are caught? Schools take bullying seriously. The first place you should go in search of justice is your school as cyber bullying is often an extension or escalation of bullying that is already happening at school. The police are unlikely to become involved if the bullying is limited to a few isolated incidents or a couple of mean emails or text messages. However, if you get even one communication that includes a threat of bodily harm or a death threat the police should be alerted. Be aware that urging suicide is considered a death threat and the police will treat it accordingly. Obviously, repeated or excessive harassment via email, forums or chat is harassment and should involve the police. As discussed earlier, posting a false profile with a target’s real email address is fraud, some jurisdictions even consider it identity theft, and a police report should be filed. As for harassing text messages, save them and contact the sender’s cellular service provider. Text messages cannot be sent anonymously, the phone number always shows up even if you don’t know whom it belongs to. Once you have the phone number you can easily find out who the cellular service provider is and ask that the number be suspended or that at least the text messaging function be disabled on the account. You may have to go to the police with a harassment complaint before the cellular service provider will respond but you will find that no company wants to be labeled as cyber bully friendly.
What can happen to cyber bullies depends on the extent of the harassment, the evidence at hand and the laws in your area. Taunting and teasing is not always criminal but it is always against school policy. If a school email account or school bulletin board is used to bully then the school is your first line of defense. They will be able to trace who the bully or bullies are and take appropriate punitive action. The school may even decide to go to the police if the harassment is excessive or if threats of harm are made. At the school’s discretion they may give detention, suspend the students, suspend or rescind the student’s computer privileges, expel the student or students, go to the police, or any combination of these. If the acts are clearly criminal you should save the evidence to the best of your ability, alert your parents and go to the police. The harassment is definitely criminal and should be brought to the attention of the police if it involves any of the following:
  • Repeated or excessive harassment with or without threats of harm.
  • Encouraging or suggesting that a person kill themselves.
  • Threatening to harm to a person, a person’s property, a person’s pet or anybody else.
  • Threatening to kill a person, a person’s pet or anybody else.
  • Threatening to commit a crime.
  • Fraudulently posting private information in a public forum.
  • Posting private information such as names, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses in a public forum, chat room or on a web site when a reasonable person would know that doing so will put the target at risk or open them up to new harassment.
If it is determined that a crime has been committed it will be up to the courts to decide punishment. You will likely be expected to participate in any prosecution. It is important that cyber bullies not be allowed to go unchallenged. While it may be tempting to keep the bullying to yourself this is not wise. Bullying has been proven to stop when exposed and dealt with by people in a position of authority, be they parents, teachers or police. Incidents in which exposure leads to an escalation of harassment are sensationalized in the media but they are the exception NOT the rule. Never let fear of retaliation stop you from protecting yourself, while it is always a risk it is not the norm. Cyber bullies are just bullies with a new weapon in their arsenal of harassment; treat them like you would any bully and they lose their power.

By The Bully Blog with No comments

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Avoid School Fights

Identify common altercation triggers. According to a Harvard-MetLife survey, you are more likely to be involved in a physical altercation as a student when you have anger issues, are challenged or are involved in negative social issues such as gossip. These are all hot-button issues that you should avoid participating in to reduce your chances of a fight at school. Being bullied or bullying others, for instance, increases the chance that a situation will turn violent.

  • 2
    Weigh your options before fighting. Taking time to think about what you can do to avoid a fight will help give you and all parties involved time to calm down and think more logically. Become aware of school programs for conflict resolution. Available are many mediating programs that allow a neutral party to oversee a meeting between you and other parties. Mediators can be other trained students or adults who can help you resolve conflict.

  • 3
    Avoid making a current situation worse. Taunting, bullying, gossiping or challenging the other student can cause a situation to quickly balloon out of control. Try to avoid a person you may be at odds with until you have a plan on how you are going to deal with the situation. This may mean being driven to school instead of riding the bus, changing your schedule or even changing your route to classes. Actions such as putting an opposing student on the spot in front of others can make things worse.

  • 4
    Involve an adult to help resolve conflict. Most students have a hard time going to adults for help because they may be regarded by peers as a snitch or receive other negative reaction. As an adult, being there for a student is highly important in avoiding school fights. As a student, go to an adult you can trust and feel comfortable with when soliciting help. This can help diffuse a situation before it becomes violent as well as help you avoid the trip to the office after a fight has already occurred.

  • 5
    Know when to walk away. It can be embarrassing to walk away when you are confronted by someone who wants to fight you, but thinking about what is at stake may help you to have a cool head. Fights can end in suspension, detention, hospitalization or even death. Using humor to diffuse a situation or talking with disagreeing parties in private can help remove some of the hype that a crowd can bring.

  • By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Ten Tips on How Your Child Can Avoid Getting Beat Up at School!

    Ten Tips on How Your Child Can Avoid Getting Beat Up at School!

    Parents may not realize it but there are numerous types of school violence that we have to warn our children about. Once particular thing that many parents have forgotten about in recent years is how your child can protect themselves from getting beat up at school. There are several things that you child can do in order to stay safe at school. Following are ten suggestions that you can share with your child.

    1. Avoid putting yourself in a vulnerable location. These locations are what many students like to call danger spots. These are usually isolated areas, such as dark hallways, or the locker room. These areas are the main places where a child can end up getting jumped by a group of children. The key is to avoid being in these areas alone.
    2. Avoid using the restroom at school. It may seem like an unusual thing to do, but if you can at all help it, try to use the bathroom before you leave for school in the morning, and then wait until you go home. You will be surprised how dangerous it can be for a teenager to try and use the bathroom in school without having to worry about running into some type of danger. Of course younger children would not be able to do this, but the threat of getting beat up in the bathroom with younger elementary children is not as dangerous as when you get to the middle and high schools.
    3. Don't be afraid to walk away. If someone calls your child a name or makes fun of them it is important that they understand it's ok to just walk away. The only time your teen should fight is if they are physically touched by another person. Once someone puts their hands on them they have to protect themselves, but only if the other person touches them. Remember words can not hurt a person.
    4. Choose your friends wisely. In many cases teens have said that it is their own friends who end up turning on them and wanting to hurt them and beat them up. This is why it is so important to choose your friends wisely.
    5. Communicate with your children. If you take the time to communicate with your children, then you will be able to advise them on how to protect themselves if they are constantly being confronted. Especially nowadays since kids no longer have fist fights, they just stab another student or in some cases shoot to kill.
    6. Teach your child how to get out of a difficult situation. Some kids try everything to avoid getting caught up in dangerous situation, but some times no matter what you do it happens anyone. You should teach your child what to do if this occurs. Some students have said that this is where cell phones come in handy. It is very easy to push a button without anyone seeing, or if they are scared about something happening after school then can very quickly send you a text message to alert you to what is going on. This is why it is so important to discuss these issues in advance.
    7. Travel with a large group of friends at all times. Some parents wonder why so many children tend to always walk around in groups; well believe it or not it is a safety precaution. The kids who usually end up getting jumped or beat up are those who are alone. Unfortunately these children tend to become targets for bullies.
    8. If they suspect that someone has a weapon they should immediately speak to the schools principal and contact their parents. In some cases the principal may not believe them, but you should inform your child not to leave the principals office until you are contacted. Most principals will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to protect your child and the school.
    9. It may also be necessary to make arrangements for your child to be picked up and dropped off at school. This is what many parents have done when they learn that their child is being targeted by bullies. Before and after school are usually the times when bullies look to start something. This is because the teachers are heading home for the day, and they can usually find more children walking home by themselves.
    10. There is no shame in running away. There is also nothing wrong with telling your child to run to a safe location where there is an adult that can help them. If your child walks home from school map out different locations that your child can run to if they are being chased by bullies. You can even take the time to walk the route with them on weekends so that they know exactly what to do.

    These are just a few suggestions on how you can help your child to avoid getting beat up by bullies at schools. Some of the suggestions may seem a little odd but if you take the time to talk to your kids about what goes on at school you will see that these steps are a necessity if you want to keep your child safe through the school year. Remember you can not just leave your child's safety up to the school officials. They have a lot of children that they are responsible for, so take the extra time to talk over these points with your child. You never know it may save their life.

    By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    To stay safe online try these techniques:

    To stay safe online try these techniques:

  • Never give out passwords, PINs etc: even to your best friend.

  • Keep personal information to yourself.

  • Never send messages or comments to others when you are angry, even if it's not at them.

  • Don't stay online all the time. There is a difference between virtual reality and the actual reality.

  • Don't reply to cyber-bullies.

  • If you've been bullied don't keep it to yourself, inform someone you trust, even if it's not a parent, tell a teacher.

  • Don't delete the messages from a cyber bully, if you delete it, you can't track it. So your bully cannot be punished.

  • Don't meet people you've met online in person.

  • By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    School Bullying: What You Haven’t Heard By Rosalind Wiseman

    During the recent White House Bullying Summit, the President challenged the people who work in bullying prevention to look at their current work and see where we could improve. His request came at a time when I’d actually been thinking about the same thing. Why? Because about a month ago I was asked to review a commonly used bullying prevention guideline often given to parents and children.  As I read it, I realized that I had never taken the time to read these guidelines and I should have because they weren’t as good as they need to be.

    Among the advice I thought was most counterproductive?
    “Ignore the bully.”  By the time a child reaches out to an adult, the vast majority of kids have been dealing with the bullying and trying to ignore it for a long time. The only thing that happens when you tell a kid to ignore the bully, is that they no longer think you care or are capable of helping them.
    “Explain to your child that bullies are weak and insecure.”  Who cares?  Even if that were true, the bullies themselves don’t believe it, and that fact doesn’t help the target respond effectively to the problem.
    “To avoid being bullied develop friendships and remember there is safety in numbers.”  This is an example of a tip that is  simply not reflective of the reality of people’s lives. Sometimes bullies are your friends and very rarely do bullying prevention tips acknowledge this fact or what to do about it. Equally unhelpful and inadequate is “safety in numbers” because you can’t depend on that being the case.  In truth there’s sometimes danger in numbers because people are often encouraged by the group to fight or at the least not back down from a situation.

    This information is regularly given out at schools all over the country and specifically when people are in great distress. In such a situation, advice has to be good.  As educators on this issue, we owe it to the families we work with to give them our best.  We have to look at our standard protocols and advice and ask ourselves a very simple question: Do we give people effective information?

    So I’ve done a little revising to these tips. I don’t have all the answers and it’s likely I overlooked something so I encourage you to make suggestions to what you see here. I will start off here with guidelines for the target. I’ll follow later with guidelines for the by-stander and the bully. I look forward to seeing what you think.

    If you are being bullied:
    Many kids who are bullied feel helpless. Sometimes, they think the only thing they can do is hope the problem will go away. But there are things you can do to get some control in the situation and it starts with developing a strategy and a support system.
    The moment it’s happening:
    • Breathe. Observe who is around. Breathe again.
    • Ask yourself what the bully is doing that you want stopped and what you want them to do instead.
    • If you can, find the courage to say those feelings. For example, “Stop pushing me into the lockers, I want to walk down the hallway in peace. I know you can do whatever you want, but I want you to stop.” Or, “Stop sending texts to everyone in the grade that no one should talk to me.”
    • If you can walk away, think about walking towards safety not away from the bully. For example, walk towards a classroom where you can see a teacher you trust. If you are in a park, walk towards a group of adults or a coach.

    • Don’t retaliate or threaten to retaliate.  This often leads to an escalation of the bullying.
    If you are being bullied online:

    Any time someone is bullied through social networking, a cell phone, or any type of social media, it can be really hard not to want to defend yourself by retaliating or finding out why this person is attacking you.  Sleeping with your phone in your bedroom is never a good idea, but it’s even worse when you’re bullied online because it’s too tempting to stay up all night trying to “fix” the situation—which isn’t possible anyway.  Same thing goes with a computer.  Sleep is hard anyway when you know people are saying mean things about you, but it’s impossible if you’re checking Facebook, Twitter, and your texts all night.
    After the bullying has occurred:
    Remember that reporting a bully is not snitching.  People snitch when all they want to do is get the person in trouble.  People report when they have a problem that is too big for them to solve on their own.  People who report bullying are doing the right thing.  And the reality is adults can’t address the problem if they don’t know about it.
    Report the bullying to an ally:  An ally is an adult that you trust to help you think through your problems.  An ally can be a parent or guardian, a teacher or counselor.  Avoid describing the bullying in generalities like, “He is being mean.”  Be specific about the bullying behavior, where you are when it occurs, and what you need to feel safe.
    If you are scared to go to school, show up for practice, or any other activity, tell your ally or the adult who is in charge.  It is not your fault that you are being bullied, and you have the right to be in school and participate in after-school activities, just like everyone else.

    What do you do if the bully is a friend?
    It’s always important to have strong friendships that you can depend on, but sometimes the bully can be a friend.  If that happens ask yourself the following questions about your friendship.
    • What are the three most important things I need in a friendship? (Most people say, trust, respect, and honesty)
    • Are my friends treating me according to what I need in a friendship?
    • If my friends aren’t treating me according to my standards, why am I in this friendship? Is it worth it?
    • If my friends were nice to me tomorrow, do I believe the bullying will stop or am I hoping for the best and putting all the power in their hands?
    If you’re the adult who is helping the child or teen think through these questions, it’s ok for them to think about their answers. They need to come up with the answers for themselves so they can internalize the realization that the cost is too high to maintain these relationships.

    By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Bullying Survival Tips

    Here are some things you can do to combat psychological and verbal bullying. They're also good tips to share with a friend as a way to show your support:
    • Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a coward's response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.
    • Hold the anger. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).
    • Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe that bullying is a part of growing up (even that it is character building) and that hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.
    • Practice confidence. Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).
    • Take charge of your life. You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think about ways to feel your best — and your strongest — so that other kids may give up the teasing. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like yoga. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers, or writing. Joining a class, club, or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel great about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the mean kids.
    • Talk about it. It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend — anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.
    • Find your (true) friends. If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of the above tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor's not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is — petty, rude, and immature.

    By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Summer Bullying Prevention Tips For Your Family

    Camp Might Be Different Than You Remember...

    With the arrival of summer, camp season has officially begun! Across the country, parents have begun to pack bags, fill out forms and sew on name tags in preparation for this beloved rite of passage for their kids.
    But the question remains: Although summer camp is typically a time in which boys and girls learn to step out from under the watchful gaze of their parents and celebrate a new kind of independence, how do parents protect their children from being bullied when they are so far away from home?

    That's the question I asked Dr. Joel Haber, an anti-bully coach and consultant for the American Camp Association. Dr. Haber has more than 20 years of experience in lending a hand to kids, families, schools, camps and other organizations; and when it comes to bullying, he recommends five crucial safeguards:
    Become informed: Be proactive in learning about the camp's bully-prevention policy. Request to see any literature the camp may have produced, and then go beyond that. Ask about staff training -- in detail. Do counselors know how to spot vulnerable kids? Do they know how to identify the bullies? Are they trained to recognize exclusive and abusive behavior (whether physical, verbal or indirect)? Has the camp trained its counselors to build "inclusive bunks" and to model positive behavior? And most important, does the staff know how to stop a bullying problem immediately, before it gets any worse? Get all the facts!

    Is your child a likely target?: Has your child been bullied before? If so, call the camp and tell them that. Let them know -- confidentially -- that your son or daughter is vulnerable to being targeted; and ask them to watch for signs that your child is being excluded or teased. Pick a point-person on the camp staff to discus this with, and always do follow-up!

    Talk to your child: Kids get picked on for a variety of reasons (maybe he or she is the "new kid in the bunk"; or short, or shy, or not into sports, or even of a different race); and your child needs to know that if any of this leads to bullying, getting angry or showing emotion (crying, for example) only fuels the bullies, and can increase the degree and frequency of the abuse. Role-play with your child. Teach him the skills to maintain his composure and self-esteem. Make sure she feels confident about being assertive before she leaves for camp. A little bit of self-assurance goes a long way.

    Make a plan together: Tell your child that if he or she feels unsafe at any time during the summer, to tell a counselor about it immediately. And if that doesn't get results, the child must go to another adult, team leader or even the camp director -- and keep going back until the problem is addressed. Explain to your child that it's okay to be persistent until the problem is resolved.

    Cyberbullying: Most camps have a no-cell phone policy (blocking the Internet in their computer areas for example), but many parents want to keep in contact with their kids over the summer -- so sometimes, a handheld device slips through. But this sends all the wrong messages. Parents should understand that, in many instances, a cell phone opens the door for cyberbullying, and that they must adhere to the camp's no-cell policy. Just like during the off-seasons, parents and kids need to forge an ongoing partnership to prevent cyberbullying.

    "The fundamental rule on bullying is the same at camp as it is at home," Dr. Haber told me in a telephone interview. "We need to teach our kids new skills, and help them develop positive attitudes and behavior. And my message to the camps themselves is to teach staff 'inclusiveness,' and to train counselors to create inclusive bunks."

    Dr. Haber told me that when kids don't believe an adult will intervene, bullies will test their power over others, and the kids being bullied won't speak up. That's why it's vital that parents take concrete steps to help protect their kids.

    As I wrote here back in May, our national conversation on bullying is a crucial one, and we'll continue to stay focused on the issue throughout the year, so that kids everywhere -- and their parents -- can put an end to bullying once and for all.

    Because we must.

    Joel Haber, Ph. D. is a clinical psychologist, consultant for the American Camp Association, nationally recognized parenting expert, and the author of the internationally acclaimed, Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good," He is the recipient of five parenting awards for his "Tool Kits for Kids."

    By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Cyberbullying Tips

    Hurting someone with a simple click

    Spreading rumors and bullying is nothing new. Kids have always found ways to be cruel to one another. But today’s kids are dealing with something much more sinister: cyberbullying. Kids are now using their cell phones and computers to hurt, humiliate, and harass each other. And it’s reaching epidemic proportions. They’re not just receiving nasty comments, but also getting demeaning text messages, embarrassing photos, and snide opinion polls. This type of bullying is especially disturbing because it is constant, pervasive, and very, very public.

    What is cyberbullying?

    Whether it’s creating a fake Facebook or MySpace page to impersonate a fellow student, repeatedly sending hurtful text messages and images, or posting cruel comments on the Internet, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect. Nasty comments, lies, embarrassing photos and videos, and snide polls can be spread widely through instant messaging (IM) or phone texting, and by posts on social networking sites. It can happen anytime — at school or home — and can involve large groups of kids. The combination of the boldness created by being anonymous and the desire to be seen as “cool” can cause a kid who normally wouldn’t say anything mean face-to-face to show off for other kids. Because it’s happening in cyberspace, it can be completely undetectable by parents and teachers.

    Why it matters

    Nothing crushes kids’ self-confidence faster than humiliation. And just imagine a public humiliation sent instantly to everyone they know. Sadly, hurtful information posted on the Internet is extremely difficult to prevent or remove, and millions of people can see it. Most cyberbullying happens when adults aren’t around, so parents and teachers often see only the depression or anxiety that results from being hurt or bullied. This emotional damage can last a lifetime.

    Parent tips for all kids

    • Give them a code of conduct. Tell them that if they wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, they shouldn’t text it, IM it, or post it.
    • Ask your kids if they know someone who has been cyberbullied. Sometimes they will open up about others’ pain before admitting their own.
    • Establish consequences for bullying behavior. If your children contribute to degrading and humiliating people, tell them their phone and computer privileges will be taken away.

    Parent tips for elementary school kids

    • Keep online socializing to a minimum. Let your kids use sites like Webkinz or Club Penguin where chat is pre-scripted or pre-screened.
    • Explain the basics of correct cyber behavior. Tell your kids that things like lying, telling secrets, and being mean still hurt in cyberspace.
    • Tell your kids not to share passwords with their friends. A common form of cyberbullying is when kids log in to another child’s email or social networking account and send fake messages or post embarrassing comments. Kids can protect themselves from this by learning early on that passwords are private and should only be shared with their parents.

    Parent tips for middle school kids

    • Monitor their use. See what they’re posting, check their mobile messages, and let them know you’re keeping an eye on their activities.
    • Tell your kids what to do if they’re harassed. They shouldn’t respond or retaliate, they should block bullies immediately, and they should tell you or an adult they trust. They shouldn’t delete the messages because in persistent cases, the content should be reported to a cell or Internet Service Provider.
    • If your kid is doing the bullying, establish strict consequences and stick to them. That goes for cruel or sexual comments about teachers, friends, and relatives.
    • Remind them that all private information can be made public. Posts on friends’ walls, private IMs, intimate photos, little in-jokes can all be cut, pasted, and sent around. If they don’t want the world to see it, they’d better not post or send it.
    • Don’t start what you don’t want to finish. Chat in online games and virtual worlds can get ugly fast. Make sure your kids are respectful because hurtful retaliation happens all the time.

    Parent tips for high school kids

    • Tell kids to think before they reveal. At this age, kids experiment with all sorts of activities, many of which should not be made public. Remind your teens that anything they post can be misused by someone else.
    • Remind them they aren’t too old to ask for your help. There are things some kids can handle on their own, but sometimes, they just need help. Coming to their parents isn’t baby-ish; it’s safe.

    By The Bully Blog with 1 comment

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Anti-Bullying PSA: The Price of Silence

    By The Bully Blog with No comments

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Fighting Cyber-Bullying

    By The Bully Blog with No comments

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