Thursday, June 28, 2012

Teacher Goes Too Far in Bullying Incident

Bullying has become one of the most talked about subjects in and about schools throughout the US, and it should be. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve read the statistics and stories and you know what a problem bullying has become.

According to Kidpower:

·      160,000 kids stay home from school each day because they are bullied;
·      83% of bullying incidents receive no intervention and continue to happen;
·      Only half of educators have received training on how to handle bullying situations.

Consider the consequences of those statistics in schools. Millions of students each year are victimized, yet educators are not being taught how to deal with such behavior and the outcomes are often tragic.

In San Antonio, a kindergarten teacher unprepared to handle such situations dealt with a child that she labeled a bully in a most egregious way. She had every other student in the class hit the child she considered the bully (some more than once, and many against their wishes) to teach him a lesson. Worse still, the event went unreported by the children – and another teacher who witnessed the incident – for two weeks. You can read the entire story and the district’s response here.

It is likely that education and awareness could have prevented this incident from ever happening; and, had it not, it is probable based on recent research that someone would have then told a safe adult what had happened that same day.  A 2010 Campbell Systematic Review of School-Based Bullying Prevention Programs showed that many school prevention programs are effective at both reducing bullying and changing the overall school climate.

The Monique Burr Foundation for Children’s program, Speak Up Be Safe™, is a national bullying and child abuse prevention program currently available to all Florida elementary schools in an effort to help 1st through 5th grade students learn to prevent and better manage bullying and to help school administrators and personnel learn to manage and minimize the consequences of bullying. Although Speak Up Be Safe™ (SUBS) was too new to be included in this evaluation, it includes many of the same components that led to the favorable review of other programs. Thus, when used in schools, SUBS will also educate both students and school personnel on more effective ways to deal with bullying behavior – and it is available to all Florida schools, at no cost, NOW.

For more information on SUBS and how to receive training or implement the program, please visit our website.

Written by Guest Blogger Stacy Pendarvis, MSW, MA of Pendarvis Consulting & Training and former Program Manager for MBF with over 16 years in the child safety and child abuse prevention field.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Florida Schools Have the Opportunity to Help Keep Kids Safe with Speak Up Be Safe™ Program!

Internet sex sting operations are nothing new. Yet again, there was another news story recently and sadly one of the arrests was a 5th grade teacher at Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Orlando.  While there is no report that this teacher ever harmed a child at that school, this type of report always raises a concern about sexually abusive behavior for parents and school personnel.

So the question then becomes what do we do to make sure our kids are safe at school? All Florida elementary schools, including Orange County Schools, have a prevention program available to them at no cost that may help prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Speak Up Be Safe™ (SUBS) is a national bullying and child abuse prevention program that teaches kids what is safe and unsafe behavior.  The program also teaches kids to use the 5 SUBS Safety Rules which include:

1)    It’s my body
2)    Ask an adult if I’m safe
3)    I have choices
4)    Tell Someone
5)    It’s never my fault.

Additionally, facilitators (generally guidance counselors) are trained in topics such as:

·      Child abuse indicators
·      Recognizing signs of sexual abuse, exploitation and grooming behaviors
·      Mandatory reporting
·      Bullying, Cyberbullying and digital abuse

and they are given tools and resources to further educate their school peers and personnel as well as parents.  Using the knowledge gained in their training and the resources they are given, school personnel are informed and empowered and would hopefully recognize any attempt by a teacher or other adult to sexually exploit or abuse a child. Children, armed with the information provided in the curriculum, would also hopefully recognize unsafe behaviors by an adult and would rely on the 5 SUBS safety rules to have the adults in their lives help them be safe!

For additional training or for middle and high schools where SUBS is not available, another safety program exists. You can find more information here.  Together, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc., and Florida’s schools, can protect Florida’s children now! Visit our website to learn more or to get SUBS into your school district.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bullying is Happening All Around

13 million students will be bullied in the US this year. Given those numbers it’s hard to imagine that some people don’t see bullying as a real problem, but it is happening all around. Many parents don’t think bullying exists in their child’s school. Some teachers as well often believe bullying isn’t a behavior worthy of their intervention. For example, in one study, 25% of teachers saw nothing wrong with bullying, and consequently intervened in only 4% of bullying incidents.

But bullying is a real problem, with real consequences. Even to those not being bullied, they see it and they feel the consequences.

Here is a poem written by Emily, a 15 year-old High School Student:

It’s time we all realize bullying is a real problem in every school and we must do more to stop it.  But we must do more than just react to bullying after the fact. We must speak up and prevent bullying from happening in the first place. As Emily says, “we need to stand up and get this message spread.” What will you do to spread the message of bullying prevention? If you need some ideas, check out the MBF – Speak Up Be Safe Resources page.

Written by: Stacy Pendarvis