Arizona Education Association

Fall 2016

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FALL 2016 | ADVOCATE 25 Bullying Prevention S tudent bullying occurs once every seven minutes. In schools across America, one in three students report being bullied weekly. But while an overwhelming majority of school staff believe that it's their job to intervene when they see bullying of a student occurring, bullying behavior is still pervasive and isn't always handled properly. October is National Bullying Prevention month, but you can do more all year- round. The more educators know about identifying bullying, intervening in a bullying incident, and advocating for bullied students the more likely it is that they will be empowered to contribute to a safe school environment. One caring adult can make all the difference. NEA's Bully Free: It Starts With Me campaign has toolkits and materials to promote a safe school environment and asks you to take the pledge to Stand Up for Bullied Students. Take the pledge at nea. org/home/Bullyfree-Take-the-Pledge.html. Take the Pledge: Stand Up for Bullied Students How to Intervene in a Bullying Incident "Students know I will listen to them, accept what they have to say, and try to help them when they are in need," he says. "Everyone deserves to feel safe at school, and when kids feel safe and know they are accepted for who they are, they will thrive academically and socially." – Dave Seaburg, Teacher NEA Bully Free: It Starts With Me Pledge Taker HOW DO I INTERVENE? It is important for educators to respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior in order to send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows that consistent intervention procedures can stop bullying behavior over time. Whereas doing nothing at all will make the bullying infinitely worse. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep students safe. According to NEA's survey, 98% of school staff believed it's their job to intervene in a bullying incident, ` ` Know Your Rights And Responsibilities ` ` Consistency is the Key ` ` Be Prepared Continued on backside B E F O R E ` ` Stop the Incident Immediately Separate the student doing the bullying and their target. Stand between them in order to block eye contact, ensuring you can observe both. ` ` Make Sure Everyone is Safe Address any health needs or injuries. Get assistance from other school staff members if necessary. Make sure to ask the bullied student, "Are you okay?" Seek police or medical assistance immediately per your school policies, if: ` A weapon is involved ` There are threats of serious physical injury ` There are threats of hate-motivated violence (e.g., racism, homophobia) ` There is serious bodily harm ` There is sexual abuse ` There is robbery or extortion ` ` Give a Clear Message Bullying is unacceptable. Remain calm as you address the students. Label the behavior as bullying. Cite relevant school or classroom rules (e.g., "Name calling is bullying. Bullying and not respecting others are both against the rules in our school."). If anti-bullying rules or posters are on nearby walls, point them out. Students who bully must hear the message that their behavior is wrong and harms others. Bullied students must hear the message that caring adults will protect them. D U R I N G Steps to Take for Immediate Intervention How to be an Advocate for Bullied Students "I was bullied badly when I was a student, starting all the way back in elementary school. It started in my fifth grade Physical Education class. I didn't throw a ball in the most masculine ways. One of the boys yelled, "You throw like a girl!" Then others joined in. "You're a queer," they said, laughing. By high school, the constant bullying led me to extreme depression. My grades dropped, and so did my aspirations. I attempted suicide twice. When I recovered and finally came to terms with who I was, I knew I was going to dedicate my life to making sure that no other kids would endure what I endured." Vincent Pompei, Teacher Val Verde High School, Perris, California NEA Bully Free: It Starts With Me Pledge Taker An advocate is one that pleads the cause of another, or one who supports or promotes the interests of another. The question is how can we, as educators, support students who have been bullied? How can we plead the cause of all bullied students and stop bullying? We have to be their champions. We must create a culture in our schools, which will hopefully spread to society, where everyone is treated respectfully and bullying is correctly understood and addressed. This tool kit is intended to help educators know how to identify bullying, intervene in a bullying incident, and advocate for bullied students. Pledge to be a Caring Adult Who Helps Bullied Students When you take NEA's Bully Free pledge, you are promising students that they can talk to you and you will listen, that you will stand up for them, and that they are not alone. Take the following actions to carry out your promise to advocate for bullied students. Be Present and Available to Observe and Listen We know that bullying commonly takes place in areas on school grounds with little or no supervision (such as in the hallways between classes). Make an effort to move to the areas where students are during transition times. Just your presence can make a huge difference. And, when something does happen, you are there to see it with your own eyes and intervene right away. Educate Students Involve your students as peer advocates. Get student input when developing a bullying prevention plan. Integrate the topic of bullying and how to deal with it into your curriculum. Role-play with students on diffusing a bullying situation and engaging bystanders. Create opportunities for students to work together, such as assignments that require sharing and collaboration. An anti-bullying curricula should encourage students to report bullying and harassment to an adult. Bullying is a Solvable Problem Expand your advocacy for bullied students, by ensuring that your school has a comprehensive bullying prevention plan in place. A prevention plan enables educators to have a process in place for learning how to recognize bullying behaviors, how to intervene appropriately when it's witnessed, and how to prevent it in the first place. Students Can't Learn in Fear Students must be provided with a safe school climate that is conducive to learning. Bullying is a huge deterrent to a safe learning environment. In education, we sometimes feel that there are many things that impact student learning that are out of our control. Bullying is not one of those things. A student who is being bullied at school is being denied an opportunity to learn. We have the ability to change this, to stop the negative impacts to students' well-being and their ability to learn, and ultimately, in some cases, to save their lives. HOW DO I ADVOCATE? How To Identify Bullying Bullying occurs once every seven minutes. 2 That means that while you read this tip sheet, it is likely that at least one bullying incident will have occurred. In schools across America, one in three students report being bullied weekly. 3 The good news: educators want to do something about it. In 2010, NEA conducted the first nationwide survey to include the opinions of education support professionals as well as teachers on issues relating to bullying in public schools. According to NEA's survey, 98% of school staff believed it's their job to intervene when they see bullying occur. 4 So, we agree that 4 So, we agree that 4 we should do something about bullying. Where do we start? In order to intervene, we must first be able to identify bullying. Once bullying is identified, we can take the necessary actions to stop bullying and prevent it from occurring in the future. This tool kit is intended to help educators know how to identify bullying, intervene in a bullying incident, and advocate for bullied students. Donna West, a food service professional at Brownwood Elementary School in Scottsboro, Alabama, says even the young children in her K-4 school need to be reminded that bullying can hurt. "I have witnessed physical and verbal bullying in the cafeteria, especially when adult presence is low," says Donna. "This usually happens during breakfast when we have a limited staff on duty. Name calling and pushing and shoving are typical things that we deal with." Understand What Bullying Is Not It is important not to misuse the term bullying for every behavior problem. Identifying what a behavior really is (and labeling the behavior not the student) helps us to select the most appropriate intervention strategies. Can you distinguish bullying from normal conflict? There are three basic ways to know the difference. The student doing the bullying: ` ` Picks on their target day after day (repetition). ` ` Wins because their target is smaller, younger or less socially able to cope (power imbalance). ` ` Enjoys seeing their target afraid and upset (intent to harm). Understand What Bullying Is Bullying is systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt and/or psychological distress on another. Bullying can be physical, verbal or social. Bullying is not just child's play, but a frightening experience many students face every day. It can be as direct as teasing, hitting, threatening, destruction of property or forcing someone to do something against their will, or as indirect as in rumors, exclusion, or manipulation. Bullying involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the one who bullies and their target. 5 What About Bullying I Can't See Today's students are faced with bullying that the caring adults in their lives can't always see at school (at least not in the traditional sense). CYBERBULLYING is the term applied to bullying over the Internet, via email, text messaging, and similar technological modes of communication. Cyberbullying includes sending or posting harmful material or engaging in other forms of social aggression. This form of bullying is more intense as it can occur around the clock, and the text or images can be widely disseminated, well beyond the school grounds. SEXTING is the term combining the words sex and texting. It applies to the act of creating, sending, posting and disseminating sexually suggestive text messages, pictures or videos of oneself or others. Sexting generally is done via cell phones, but teens also use computers, web cams, digital cameras and other electronic devices to get to the Internet. WHAT IS BULLYING? All these handouts and more are downloadable from

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