Bullying Presentation for the parents of Saint Mary’s Academy By Kit Dennis
Introduction This presentation has been designed to help the parents at Saint Mary’s Academy better understand the Anti-Bullying/Harassment Laws as well as present some of the evidence based best practice in preventing and reducing bullying and harassment.
Purpose all students The state of Massachusetts, the diocese of Springfield and Saint Mary’s Academy are committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect.
In recent years many people have realized that the significant prevalence of bullying and harassment is having a negative impact on the safety and achievement of our students.
Findings seriously disrupt Harassing and bullying behavior can seriously disrupt the ability of school employees to maintain a safe and civil school environment. It can also interfere with the ability of students to learn and succeed.
What is a significant prevalence of bullying and harassment? If we look at the research, this is what we know about the prevalence of bullying in Massachusetts and the United States Let’s start with a quote and a few sample stories …
Bullying “We have this thing about finding some simple explanation which gives us the illusion that there are simple solutions…..When you look at school violence what elevates risk is a whole bunch of things - violence in the family, violent television, bullying and being bullied, a culture that promotes violence as a successful way of getting what you want. It is most likely that the situation we’re in now is an accumulation of all these factors as opposed to any one of them.” Dr Howard Spivak Professor of Community Health and Pediatrics at Tufts University
The Stories Kelli, a 9 th grade girl has just moved to Massachusetts and starts school in the middle of the year. She is cute and the boys initially give her a lot of attention. The girls start rumors about her and make fun of the way she talks, the clothes she wears, and even her naturally curly hair. The boys join in and begin making crude and unwanted sexual advances. This previously straight-A and active student drops out of extra- curricular activities and fails classes. Her parents ask the school for help but receive none. She ended up dropping out of school.
Stories Charlie is an 8th grade boy who is studious, small for his age, and uninvolved in sports. Charlie has been teased by the popular group since first grade. By middle school the teasing escalates to shoves in the hallway, boys calling him gay, and threats of violence. The principal suggested that Charlie get involved in sports to discourage the perpetrators. Nothing changed and the boy’s parents enrolled him in a new private school.
Stories Jenni is a special needs student. She has Aspergers Syndrome and has unusual interests and skills. She is a skilled artist and knows everything you could know about the history of ballet, but she lacks understanding of the unwritten code of conduct for teens and is not up on the last fashion trends. Jenni makes attempts to connect with peers, but is teased and excluded. After high school she developed her artistic talents and became successful in her career and her social life, but stated that “a lifetime is not long enough to move past the hurt and self-doubt that exclusion instilled in her.”
Prevalence of bullying and harassment Verbal harassment is the most common form of bullying behavior in middle school and high school Verbal harassment includes name calling, teasing, and threats. It is the most prevalent form of bullying - 34% of students overall report that it has happened to them
Prevalence of Bullying in the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior survey over 50% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported being bullied in some way one or more times in the past 30 days
% of Students Bullied in Some Way in the Last 30 Days
This graph is based on eight questions that asked about different types of bullying. The percentage represents the students who reported being bullied in some way one or more times during the last 30 days. Overall more than half of all students A greater percentage of girls than boys reported being bullied this percentage (50%) could represent 26.5 students in Saint Mary’s 6 th and 8th grades
Prevalence of Bullying/Harassment According to the first 2001 nationally representative U.S. study of bullying… 17% percent of students reported being bullied “sometimes” or “more often” during the school term 19% percent of students reported that they bullied others “sometimes” or “more often” during the school term
Policy It is the policy of the state of Massachusetts that school employees, volunteers, and students shall not engage in bullying or harassing behavior on school property, at school functions or during school-sponsored activities. School employees, volunteers and students shall not engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, witness, or an individual who has reliable information about such an act of bullying or harassment.
Definitions A student is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students.. A student is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students. Bullying implies an imbalance in power or strength. The student who is bullied has difficulty defending himself/herself. Dan Olweus Dan Olweus (1993)
Indirect Bullying Behavior Getting another person to assault someone Spreading rumors Deliberate exclusion from a group or activity Cyber-bullying
Direct Bullying Behavior Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting… Taunting, teasing, degrading racial or sexual comments Threatening, obscene gestures
Relational Bullying It can combine direct and indirect bullying strategies. Relational bullying targets relationships and social status to cause harm to peers European and US studies have shown that relational bullying is equally common among both boys and girls, although their techniques tend to vary by gender.
Differences in Behaviors & Intent Rough Play Real Fighting Bullying Usually friends – often repeated Usually not friends – typically not repeated Typically not friends - repeated Balance of Power Power relatively equal Unequal power No Intent to harm Intent to harm Affect is mutual, positive Affect is aggressive, hostile, tense, negative Affect is aggressive, negative ( differs for victim and aggressor) Rough PlayReal FightingBullying Usually friends – often repeated Usually not friends – typically not repeated Typically not friends - repeated Balance of PowerPower relatively equalUnequal power No Intent to harmIntent to harm Affect is mutual, positiveAffect is aggressive, hostile, tense, negative Affect is aggressive, negative ( differs for victim and aggressor)
The Differences in Behaviors It is important to note that while none of these behaviors are acceptable at school because of safety and disruption to the learning environment, bullying is more harmful and causes a long-term impact on achievement and the emotional and mental health of students.
Different Behaviors Different Consequences Rough Play An elementary student spits on a friend’s soccer ball & kicks it away. Two middle school students wrestle during down time in PE. A high school student pushes a friend as he walks down the hall. Real Fighting Two 4 th grade students come to blows during recess. Two 8 th grade students start a fight with each other during athletic practice. Two varsity players throw punches during a Friday night game.
Different Behaviors – Different Consequences Bullying = Two 4 th grade students continually spit on the new 4 th grade student Bullying = An 8 th grade student continually pushes a 6 th grade student and calls the student gay Bullying = A group of high school students continually post unflattering pictures of students who are perceived to be of a different sexual orientation Rough play and real fighting are not appropriate behaviors in school or at athletic events; however, the difference is that rough play behavior is usually not intended to harm and happens among friends and peers.
Conditions Resulting from Bullying/Harassment Harms student’s person or property. Affects student’s physical/mental health. Affects student’s academic performance. Affects student’s ability to participate -benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided to a student.
Conditions Resulting from Bullying/Harassment Most cases of rough play and real fighting can have immediate and short –term impact on a student’s person or property, physical/mental health….. but not the same long-term impact as does bullying.
Students Who are Bullied Can have lower Academic achievement than their peers Suffer from anxiety and depression Have suicidal ideation much more often than their peers internalize their feelings instead of acting out against others. For example, the first story about the girl with the naturally curly hair. There are not always obvious signs that someone is being bullied
Includes but not limited to: 17 Classes Protected by Law Includes but not limited to: Age Color Creed National Origin Race Marital Status Sex Family Status Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Physical Attribution Physical or Mental Ability Disability Ancestry Political Party Preference Socio-economic Status
Characteristics of Students Who are Bullied Cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn, & shy Anxious, insecure, unhappy, & low self-esteem Depressed & engage in suicidal ideation Often do not have a single good friend Relate better to adults Physically weaker than their peers, if they are boys
Characteristics of Students Who Engage in Bullying Behavior Positive attitude toward violence & use of violent means Strong need to dominate and subdue others Impulsive and easily angered Show little empathy Defiant and aggressive toward adults Involved in other anti-social or rule-breaking activities (vandalism, delinquency, substance abuse) If boys, physically stronge r
What Doesn’t Work… Zero Tolerance Policies Group Treatment for Students Who Bully Conflict Resolution Peer Mediation One Shot Assemblies Ignoring the Problem
Components of a Quality Bully Prevention Program School Anti-Bullying Policy Increase adult supervision Intervene consistently & appropriately Focus classroom time on bullying prevention Continue the effort over time
Parent School Safety Survey How is your child’s experience at school? Do you ever worry about your child’s experience at school? Who would you/have you talked to if you had concerns? Why did you choose this person? Why do you think they would be a helpful choice? In terms of any of the concerns you described above how will you know if things are better in the future? Please complete this survey and return to school by Dec 22, 2010 Thank you for your help and cooperation