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Westford Public Schools Systemwide Bullying Prevention March 1, 2010.

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1 Westford Public Schools Systemwide Bullying Prevention March 1, 2010

2 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Bullying has two key components: Repeat Harmful Acts Imbalance of Power Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

3 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Bullying includes: Assault Tripping Intimidation Rumor-spreading and isolation Demands for money Destruction of property Theft of valued possession Destruction of another’s work Name calling Sexual harassment Ostracism based on perceived sexual orientation Hazing Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

4 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Important to remember: Not all taunting, teasing and fighting among school children constitute bullying and bullying entails repeated acts by someone perceived as physically or psychologically more powerful. Most students do not report bullying to adults. As a result, school personnel may underestimate the extent of bullying. Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

5 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Some reasons victims give for not notifying an adult of bullying: Fearing retaliation Fearing shame of not being able to stand up for themselves Fearing they would not be believed Not wanting to worry their parents Having no confidence that anything would change as a result of reporting Thinking their parents’ or teachers’ advice would make the problem worse Fearing their teacher would tell the bully who told on him/her Thinking it was worse to be thought of as a snitch Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

6 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Bullying Behavior: Bullying more often takes place at school. Boy bullies tend to rely on physical aggression more than girl bullies, who often use teasing, rumor-spreading, exclusion and social isolation. Boys are more likely to bully than girls. Bullies often do not operate alone. Bullying by boys tends to decline after age 15. Bullying by girls tends to decline significantly at age 14. Therefore early intervention is important. Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

7 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention There is a strong belief that the degree of the school principal’s involvement helps determine the level of bullying. 25% of students victimized by bulling reported they were belittled about their race or religion. A number of researchers believe that bullying occurs due to a combination of social interaction with parents, peers, and teachers. The history of the parent-child relationship may contribute to cultivating a bully, and low levels of peer and teacher intervention combine to create opportunities for chronic bullies to thrive. Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

8 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Cyber-bullying prevents significant challenges since the ability to publicize harmful content represents the bully’s imbalance of power (as opposed to physical size or strengths). Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

9 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention General Requirements for an Effective Strategy to Counter Bullying in Schools: 1.Enlisting the school principals’ commitment and involvement. 2.Using a multifaceted, comprehensive approach: –Establish a school-wide policy that addresses indirect bullying (rumor- spreading, isolation, social exclusion), as well as direct bullying. –Provide guidelines for teachers and other staff and students on specific actions to take if bullying occurs. –Educating and involving parents so that understand the problems, recognize its signs and intervene appropriately. –Adopting specific strategies to develop with individual bullies and victims, including meeting with their parents. –Encouraging student to report known bullying. –Develop a reporting system to track bullying and the interventions used with specific bullies and victims. –Encouraging students to be helpful to classmates who may be bullied. –Conducting post-intervention surveys to assess the strategies’ impact on school bullying. Source: Sampson, Ran; Bullying in Schools; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policy Services

10 Emerson Hospital Youth Risk Behavior Survey Violence Related Behavior

11 2008 YRBS Data: Grades 6 and % (23.4%- aggregate) of 6th graders and 22.1% (23.4% - aggregate) of 8th graders report having been bullied in school during the past twelve months prior to the survey. Among all respondents - 2.2% (3.0% - aggregate) of 6th graders and 3.8% (4.0% aggregate) of 8th graders report having resisted with physical force.

12 2008 YRBS Data: Grades % of all respondents (15.5% aggregate) 22%- MA YRBS) report having been bullied in school during the twelve months prior to the survey. The incidence of this experience was much higher in grade 9 (26.8%), 10 (14.2%), 11 (14.7%), and 12 (20.2%) and was higher among males. Further, 4.2% of all respondents report that they resisted being bullied in school with physical force.

13 Next Steps… 2010 YRBS The survey will be administered on March 9 at Stony Brook and the Academy and on March 11 at Blanchard Middle School. The wording of two questions concerning bullying was updated to reflect changing technology and the impact of cyber bullying. Behavioral/Experiential Cross-tabulations will be applied for questions from the grades 6 and 8 surveys focusing on “bullying and having an adult that the students can talk to in school”. The above will effect surveys for grades 6, 8 and 9-12.

14 Title IV Safe and Drug Free Schools Grant This federal grant provides funding for the Peer Mediation Program. Both middle schools’ and at the Academy’s programs have been supported by this grant. Through training and education in diversity, tolerance, self-advocacy and conflict resolution students learn to assist their peers in overcoming conflicts and help to create a positive school culture.

15 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades K-2 Laying the Groundwork Build community and trust Foster collective responsibility Responsive Classroom philosophy and strategies Promote core values (morning meeting, routines, assemblies) Share a common language Teaching Strategies/Tools Small and large group classroom/guidance lessons Conflict resolution & problem solving strategies –Solution Wheel –CAPS – conflict resolution strategy Role playing in small and large group settings Social skills groups

16 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades K-2 Providing Resources Literature, videos and games to teach specific concepts and skills Guidance WebPages School Newsletters Training opportunities for all staff Parent workshops Responding to Situations Student self-referral system Social replay Processing sheets for conflict resolution Apology of Action Social contracts Behavioral plans Pre-K/5 Handbook policies on bullying (see pp )

17 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades 3-5 High expectations for student behavior Community building focus (Staff, Students, & Parents) Proactive Guidance Program (Guidance Counselor and Classroom Teachers) All School Assemblies Westford Academy Peer Mediators Next Steps: Expansion of Responsive Classroom training Continued sharing of resources and best practices between schools

18 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades 6-8 Guidance Counselors and Guidance curriculum Rachel's Challenge Peer Mediation Web Site and Friday for resources Cooperation with community (WPD, WPC, WA) February 26 presentation to students about cyber bullying accounts set up to communicate information to school Advisor/Advise programs (PRIDE/BEST)

19 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades 9-12 Articulated- through the Westford Academy Mission Safe environment Foster tolerance Life-long learning Defined Student Manual, Policy page 75 – 76 Procedure Promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying. “Retaliation will not be accepted in any way, shape or form.”

20 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades 9-12 Prevention & Education Peer Counseling Training and Programs –Outreach to elementary & middle school Peer Mediation Counselor intervention –relationship building –parent connection Advisory Programming –Communication skills –Internet harassment –Dating violence Health Class Curriculum Social Worker Support –individual & small group Recognized GSA organization Best Buddies Administration Intervention

21 Westford Public Schools Bullying Prevention Grades 9-12 Challenges Cyber Bullying Texting Parental Education Facebook Other forms of media Activities outside of school


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