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PTO Presentation: Bullying Update

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1 PTO Presentation: Bullying Update
Cathy Rein, LICSW School Adjustment Counselor Hingham Public Schools

2 Your Text Here What’s the history?
Hingham is ahead of the curve. We’ve had multiple programs to encourage positive school community. Second Step curriculum – Grades K -3 and 6- 8 Steps to Respect – Grades 3, 4, 5 Responsive Classroom School and Grade Level Presentations to Support Positive Community Feeling Bee Assemblies: Buzzing with Character programs New Student Luncheons and Welcome Boards Your Text Here

3 Definitions Bullying – Not all conflict is bullying: Key elements:
Repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or physical act or gesture...directed at a victi Causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to victim’s property; Creates a hostile environment at school for the victim;

4 Definitions continued
Bullying Infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school…includes cyber bullying

5 Concept #1 Bullying is different from a conflict or quarrel
CONFLICT -When kids quarrel, they usually blame each other. BULLYING – Kids who are victims are afraid of bullies. They’re afraid to blame or fight the bully.

6 Characteristics to look for
Power differential Targets = perceived low power Bullies = perceived high power Repetition More than a one-time mean event

7 Concept #2 Bullying today is different behavior from a generation or two ago What’s changed? Who is a bully Who they target What they actually do

8 In the past… Bullies often weren’t popular
Victims were usually easy prey

9 NOW Bullies are often popular
Victims may be pretty, popular, etc. – They just perceive themselves to be vulnerable to bully. Bullying is mainstream – happens everywhere, not hidden Data supports dominance of psychological bullying in school as primary source.

10 What can parents do to help
Listen to your child: Affirm their feelings. Ask questions. (e.g. Tell me what happened, who was around, where did it happen, how did you respond, what would help) Assess – Try to determine what your child is looking for when telling you. What do they need from you to feel better. Act – Consult with school. You can report anonymously or preferably directly.

11 Concept # 3 Gender differences in bullying and cyber bullying
Boys more often target non-friends, either boys or girls Girls more often target friends, primarily other girls Boys motive = joke/ being cool Girls motive = joke/ anger

12 Concept #4 What’s happening online? Big topic – separate presentation
We are just beginning to get data, but even elementary school students are going online and can be cyber bullying Technology teachers are implementing lessons at each grade regarding safe use of computers/ technology. Elementary school children should not be texting or have access to internet on phones.

13 Concept #5 What are the frequencies, types and motives of cyber bullying in Massachusetts? - Cyber bullies like anonymity and not seeing the face of their victims. Boys primary reason – joke/ cool Girls primary reason – joke/cool or angry Cyber bullies are likely to also be in-school bullies

14 Concept #6 Why do we need a whole town approach?
Kids experience many settings and feelings spread from one to another – home, school, sports, community…

15 What to do If it’s clearly bullying – gather information from child and report to school If your child won’t talk – encourage them, show by your actions how to handle, stay calm Child supports the “bully” – Don’t try to sit the two down – target may be afraid to confront.

16 Gray Zone Behaviors Step 1: Always notice. Most important
Step 2: “Separate, don’t mediate” Step 3: Speak to the bully (if you have access) Step 4: Follow up with victim later. Step 5: If it might be bullying – report to school

17 What to say when you suspect bullying
“I don’t like what I saw you do.” – set acceptable standards for your family. “I don’t’ care if Ryan like it. I don’t like it and I don’t want to see it again.” – don’t be persuaded that mean behavior is acceptable because ‘everyone’ is doing it, or they are just kidding.

18 Problem # 2: Getting Past the Snitching Rule
There is strong social pressure NOT to talk to adults You can report anonymously, as long as you understand that no disciplinary action can be taken solely on an anonymous report We need to keep goal in mind : A climate where kids feel safe to talk to adults and are helped to cope with complex interactions.

19 Problem #3 How do you prevent problems before they start?
A child under your supervision has been known to have problems with bullying: Technique: The “Check –in” – briefly discuss how things are going – show that you are paying attention, even while you are staying positive.

20 Summary Bullying isn’t the same thing as a quarrel.
Bullying victims may not report to you or ask for help. They may appear to support the bully. Trust what you see and respond. Teach kids to talk about problems, problem-solve. Check in frequently when kids visiting.

21 Resources: MARC – Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center
Committee for Children – Sponsor of Second Step and Steps to Respect curriculum

22 Parents and Schools Together
Important for kids to know that we work collaboratively. We are not afraid of bullies. We can help them. Focus on helping each child. Schools may not be able to share what disciplinary action is taken, but can talk about how to help your child.

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