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.

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