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Ending Bullying: Its Our Call

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1 Ending Bullying: Its Our Call
It is the call of our baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being, so in preventing and intervening in bullying we are fulfilling our sacramental promise to God and to each other.  

2 Voices “Kids get harassed for all kinds of reasons.
They’re too fat. They’re too thin. They’re too tall. They are too smart. They’re too dumb. Gays and lesbians are picked on.” —home economics teacher at ashland high “Mrs. Podlesny said that ‘boys will be boys,’ and that if Jamie was going to act so openly gay he had to expect this stuff to happen to him.” —mother of a bullied child

3 What Is Bullying? Bullying happens when someone is subjected to negative actions from one or more people and has a hard time defending himself or herself. Bullying takes various forms, including: Teasing, taunting or verbal abuse Punching, shoving and physical acts Spreading rumors Excluding someone from a group Ganging up on others In your own words, how would you define bullying?

4 Cyberbullying Cyberbullying is when bullies use the Internet, mobile phones or other electronic devices. It can include: • Sending mean text, or instant messages • Posting damaging pictures or hurtful messages in blogs or on Web sites • Spreading rumors or lies about someone, sometimes using a fake identity Adapted from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services ( and Psychology Today

5 Bystanders “I’ve often wondered about the kids who watched [the bullying] happen—why they didn’t say anything, how they felt about what was going on?” —t. c. largaespada social worker at a youth shelter A bystander is a person who sees unacceptable behavior but does nothing to stop it. What do you think prevents bystanders from taking action?

6 Research has led to a very different understanding
A Rite of Passage ? Bullying used to be considered a rite of passage by many, something harmless that may even serve to toughen young people and prepare them for life after school. Research has led to a very different understanding Bullying can negatively affect children's performance at school, harm their mental well-being, and have a lasting impact on their education and life. Recent media coverage has helped raise awareness about the need to do more to address bullying, and the tragic consequences of bullying left unchecked.

7 Bullying: True or False?
1. Nearly one-third of American teens are involved in bullying. 2. Less than 10% of American teens admit to bullying others. 3. Students who are bullied in school are usually attentive students with good attendance. 4. Most students who bully are insecure. 5. Contrary to stereotypes, male bullies are not usually bigger and physically stronger than their peers 6. Students who witness bullying often refuse to remain friends with the victim and feel guilty for not reporting the incident. 7. Bullies have trouble making friends. 8. Bullies do poorly in school compared to others who do not bully. 9. Most bullies discontinue violent or aggressive behavior in adulthood. 10. If you are being bullied it’s best to handle it alone.

8 Bullying By the Numbers
160,000—Estimated number of U.S. students who skip school daily to avoid being bullied 32%—Students who report being bullied at school during the school year 86%—Gay or lesbian students who report being bullied 70%—Teachers surveyed who say that educators “almost always” intervene when bullying occurs 35%—9th graders who believe their teachers are interested in trying to stop bullying 66%—Bullying victims who believe school professionals responded poorly to the bullying they observed 10–20%—Bystanders who provide any real help

9 What Can be Done? While addressing bullying may seem like a daunting task, there are simple steps we can all take to help end name-calling and bullying , making a safer environment for our children.

10 Naming the problem is crucial in creating an effective
Name the Problem Naming the problem is crucial in creating an effective anti-bullying policy. The most effective policies define bullying and specifically enumerate characteristics most often targeted, such as a student's perceived or actual appearance, gender, sexual orientation, gender expressions, race/ethnicity, economic status, ability, religion, or any other distinguishing characteristic. Policies should also require reporting of bullying, and staff should be trained on how to intervene, particularly with bias-based bullying, and support students who are being bullied or who are bullying others.

11 The Role of the School or Church
Bullying in schools (or any organization entrusted with the care of children) must be handled head-on, directly, and without hesitation from staff. We all hear the remarks made by students, we see the shoving, pushing, and tripping, and we know why the students sitting by themselves are crying. But how many times do these things lead us to action? What we all can do

12 The Role of Parents and Guardians
Some possible warning signs that a child is being bullied: Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches Has few, if any, friends with whom he or she spends time Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs) Takes a long, "illogical" route when walking to or from school or another destination.

13 What to do if you think a child is being bullied
Never tell the child to ignore the bullying. Don't blame the child. Listen carefully to what the child is telling you. Learn as much as you can about the bullying tactics being used. Sympathize with the child. Do NOT encourage physical retaliation. Check your own emotions.

14 When you report bullying
Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child's experiences, including who, what, when, where, and how. Emphasize that you want to work with the organization to find a solution. Do not contact the parents of the other child. Expect the bullying to stop. Be persistent - talk with your child and the organization to see if the bullying has stopped. Keep a record of your conversations.

15 The Role of Youth – Be Your Own Advocate
If you are being called names or bullied, remember the four ways to stay SAFE: Say what you feel Ask for help Find a friend Exit the area

16 One Case: Jamie Nabozny
In 1995, 19-year-old Jamie Nabozny sued the school district and administrators from his middle school and high school. Nabozny based his suit on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for equal protection. October 1995 A district court dismisses Jamie’s case. Jamie appeals. July 1996 The Seventh Circuit reverses the lower court’s dismissal. The court held that Jamie presented a viable claim that the defendants had violated his right to equal protection “by discriminating against him based on his gender or sexual orientation.” The idea behind this holding was that the defendants would have protected Jamie from harassment from other boys had he been a girl or had he not been gay. The court also held that the defendants were not immune from liability because a reasonable person in their position “would have concluded that discrimination against Nabozny based on his sexual orientation was unconstitutional.” November 1996 Based on this appeal, Nabozny and his lawyers return to a lower court and present their case to a jury. The jury returned a verdict against school officials. The school district settled the lawsuit for $900,000. This landmark case was the first successful legal challenge to anti-gay violence in public schools.

17 Anti-Bullying Resources:
US Department of Justice and Department of Education websites, Teaching Tolerance has a number of other resources available as free down-loads from its website, All materials are grade-level specific and appropriate for church use. The Pacer Center, and Lutherans Concerned, curricula offer a step-by-step process for addressing bullying. Each one encourages appropriate preparation for the teaching team and offers excellent activities and discussion points for moving through the facts of bullying.

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