Friday, April 18th, 2014
A flyer sent home to the families of fifth-graders at a Lincoln, Nebraska elementary school has angered parents and prompted an embarrassed retraction by the school because it offered anti-bullying advice that is questionable at best, dangerous at worst. Jezebel reports on some of the bullying coping strategies the flyer suggests to students at Zemen Elementary School:
- Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?
- Rule #8: Don’t be a sore loser.
- Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: “If you think I’m ugly, you should see my sister!”
The Lincoln Journal Star has more on the school’s response:
LPS Communications Director Mary Kay Roth said the flier was not approved to be sent home and was inadvertently included in fifth-graders’ Tuesday folders that went home to parents. Such folders typically contain student work and other information for parents.
“It’s a staff issue, so we’re taking care of the staffing error,” Roth said. “It wasn’t supposed to be sent home.”
She declined to elaborate on exactly how it happened, but said Zeman teachers will talk to all fifth-graders Thursday to clarify how the district believes students should handle bullying.
“Our educators at Zeman Elementary School work hard to provide accurate and appropriate lessons and education for our students in how to handle bullying situations,” Williams, the principal, said in the message to parents. “The flier was sent home with good intentions, unfortunately it contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents.”
Student Services Director Russ Uhing said the district has ongoing lessons about bullying, and fifth-graders at Zeman had been talking about how to handle the situation if they become targets of a bully. That message, he said, was “very different” from the one that was sent home.
The information shared with students in class, Uhing said, included LPS’s philosophy: asking the bully to stop, then walking away; and if it continues, telling a parent or teacher.
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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
A Pennsylvania teenager is appealing a court ruling that required him to pay a fine for allegedly violating wiretapping laws when he recorded incidents in which he felt bullied by classmates during school classes. More from Newser:
The 15-year-old boy, who has learning disabilities, recorded his tormenters in class after enduring regular bullying, his parents tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. South Fayette High School reacted by slapping the teen with detention and dragging him before a judge for violating wiretap laws.
“The whole thing has been a horrible nightmare,” said the boy’s father, Shea Love. “This whole ordeal has made my son miserable.” School officials said nothing to the press, but according to a transcript of a legal hearing, the teen said he recorded his tormenters “because I always felt like it wasn’t me being heard.”
Love says that on the recording, one boy tells another to yank his son’s pants down, and the teacher tells them to get back to work. “What?” says one of the boys. “I was just trying to scare him.”
Ultimately, a judge found the teen guilty and his parents paid a fine. Now the boy is seeking an appeal and his parents are pursuing a civil suit against the district, WPXI reports.
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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
A 9-year-old North Carolina boy who carried a “My Little Pony” lunch bag to school and was bullied has been prohibited from bringing the lunchbox back to school, calling it a “trigger for bullying.” The move has enraged the boy’s mother and other parents who feel the school is being too permissive to the bullying and punishing the boy for his personal style preferences.
WLOS.com reports on the case:
Grayson Bruce, the My Little Pony fan, said, “They’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”
Grayson picked a Rainbow Dash bag out this year, which he says has intensified the attacks against him. Grayson, “most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie, and surprisingly I found stuff like this.” Grayson has developed a following on Facebook after a friend made a support page for him.
Grayson stands by his favorite cartoon and the message he says it sends.
His mother says, why not?
Noreen Bruce, Grayson’s mom, “it’s promoting friendship, there’s no bad words, there’s no violence, it’s hard to find that, even in cartoons now.” But Noreen says Thursday the school asked him to leave the bag at home because it had become a distraction and was a “trigger for bullying.”
Noreen continued, “saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying, is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. It’s flawed logic, it doesn’t make any sense.” Noreen wants punishment for the students involved.
Buncombe County Schools declined an interview, but sent us this statement, “an initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom. Buncombe County Schools takes bullying very seriously, and we will continue to take steps to resolve this issue.”
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Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Both physical and emotional effects of being bullied–including issues with walking or lifting heavy objects, plus anger, sadness, and fear–may accumulate over a period of years, leading to lower quality of life for people who suffer from bullies’ negative behavior. These are the findings of a new study by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital. Reuters reports:
In the past, when researchers have surveyed students at one point in time, children and teens who were being bullied tended to score lower on measures of physical and mental health.
But few studies have examined whether the possible effects of bullying accumulate over the years, the researchers write in the journal Pediatrics.
They analyzed data from the Healthy Passages study, which surveyed students in Alabama, California and Texas about how much bullying they experienced and evaluated their physical and mental health.
Overall, 4,297 students completed the surveys in fifth, seventh and 10th grades.
The researchers found that about a third of the students had been regularly bullied at some point during the course of the study.
Generally, those who had been bullied in the past scored better on measures of physical and mental health, compared to those who were currently being bullied. Teens who were bullied throughout their school career scored the worst.
For example, about seven percent of 10th grade students who had never been bullied scored low on mental health measures. That compared to 12 percent who had been bullied in the past, 31 percent who were currently being bullied and almost 45 percent of those who underwent persistent bullying.
About eight percent of 10th grade students who were never bullied had poor physical health, compared to 12 percent of those who were bullied in the past, 26 percent who were currently being bullied and 22 percent who were continuously bullied.
Poor mental health included traits such as being sad, afraid and angry, according to Bogart. Poor physical health included limitations like not being able to walk far and not being able to pick up heavy objects.
“I think one key thing to take from this is that any adult that has any contact with children . . . (should) know what the signs of bullying might be,” Bogart said. “This study tells us some of them, but not all of them.”
“There are physical signs, but they’re not always physical,” she said.
For example, one non-physical sign that a young person is being bullied is that the child doesn’t want to go to school.
Bogart also said it’s important for parents to know if their child falls into one of the groups at high risk for bullying. Those groups include children with physical disabilities, those who are overweight and obese and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning.
“I think this says – especially for parents – to be really attuned to what’s going on in their kids’ lives by paying attention, knowing what’s going on during the school day and being aware so they’ll notice changes like these,” she said.
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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Kids with serious food allergies live with the fear they may come into contact with a triggering food. But a new study out this week suggests that they may also face a social challenge because of their allergy: bullies could wield allergens in attempts to intimidate and terrorize allergic kids. More from CNN.com:
A study released last week suggests that almost half of children who have food allergies have been bullied — sometimes by having food thrown at them.
“Clearly, it’s an issue for these school-aged children in terms of how they interact with their peers,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett, director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. “Immediately, when there’s a diagnosis of food allergy, there’s a little bit of a stigma.”
The new study furthers the mounting evidence that many kids with food allergies may endure social ostracism while also trying to eat safely.
A 2010 study in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said that 35% of kids over age 5 with food allergies have endured bullying, teasing or harassment. Parents of children with food allergies reported in the study that these incidents — both physical and verbal — happened because of food allergies.
Food allergy is a growing problem in young people. As many as 8% of children in the United States have at least one food allergy, according to research data.
There is no cure for food allergies. The only way to stop a life-threatening reaction, called anaphylaxis, is an epinephrine auto-injector, which allergists recommend that everyone with severe food allergies should carry.
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