Monthly Archives: May 2016

Survey shows principals’ frustrations with bullying in schools

Parents who confuse school bullying and normal conflict between classmates is the No. 1 bullying-related frustration reported by Kentucky’s principals and assistant principals, according to recent results of a Kentucky Center for School Safety survey.

Although much has been said about what it’s like to be a victim of bullying, there hasn’t been much data collected about the experience principals have in dealing with it. That’s what Jon Akers, the center’s director, said motivated the survey.

“I thought there was a need to at least give the principals a voice on this matter and let’s add it to the dialogue,” he said.

In the survey of 625 respondents, 72.5 percent expressed frustration about parents misunderstanding bullying. Other issues included cyber-bulling – which seems most prevalent at the middle and high school levels – as well as bullying that goes unreported and parents not realizing bullying also exists outside school.

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The PTSD Stigma: Why PTSD Doesn’t Just Affect Veterans

(Editor’s Note:  It is correct that PTSD is not limited to combat veterans.  Stressors that can trigger PTSD can include accidents and acts of violence.  Witnesses to extreme accidents and acts of violence also sometimes suffer from the symptoms.  Whether cyberbullying constitutes the kind of stressor that logically leads to PTSD is a subject that requires more study.  Cyberbullying certainly can cause depression and anxiety, but PTSD strikes me as a bit of a reach.  As noted, more research is needed.  One item of note for those of us living in the west:  the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has all but eliminated PTSD as a disabling condition protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  While I strongly disagree with the Court’s decision, it casts a cloud over potentially eligible individuals who would need to articulate a recognized impairment, such as depression, to qualify for ADA or Section 504 accommodations in the Ninth Circuit.  Even the courts seem to have difficulty addressing PTSD. — Mike Tully)

New research shows that while our awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) increased substantially in the past few decades, our understanding of PTSD has remained fairly low. According to researchers, this has a lot to do with how we portray the illness in the media.

The PTSD study looked at articles published by the New York Times and found that while only 2 articles were published in 1980 — the year PTSD was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — by the time 2014 rolled around, 70 articles mentioned or described the illness. Yet half of those articles focused entirely on PTSD cases in the military. A heavy military bias involving crimes committed by those with PTSD and substance abuse related to the illness was also discovered.

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Eleven states sue Obama administration over bathroom guidance for transgender students

Transgender_symbol_2(Editor’s Note:  We’ve seen this circus before:  blatant discrimination masquerading as “states’ rights.”  This action is shameful and I’m embarrassed that my state, Arizona, recently joined it.  I predict this action will likely fail because the transgender protection is not founded on an exclusively executive edict.  The genesis of the law giving rise to the protection is congressional action.  Transgender protection is a logical consequence of both Title VII and Title IX.  All the EEOC and DOJ are doing is articulating a totally reasonable interpretation of the law.  The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc:  “As some courts have observed, male-on-male sexual harassment in the workplace was assuredly not the principal evil Congress was concerned with when it enacted Title VII. But statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.”  While Oncale was a Title VII employment case, the logic of Oncale informs the determination that transgender individuals are protected by Title VII and Title IX.  — Mike Tully)

Eleven states and state officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Obama administration over federal guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, states that the guidance “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”

State officials have hinted they might file a legal challenge since the Obama administration released a letter earlier this month from the Justice Department and the Education Department that the federal agencies said was in response to questions from schools around the country.

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Do social media foster or curtail adolescents’ empathy? A longitudinal study

Abstract

Recently, concerns have been raised that adolescents’ prolific social media use may cause them to become less empathic. However, direct empirical evidence is missing and research suggests that social media use can also be beneficial for adolescents’ psychosocial development. The present study aims to investigate whether and how social media use influences empathy. We surveyed 942 Dutch adolescents (10–14 years) twice, with a one-year interval. The results showed that social media use is related to an increase in cognitive and affective empathy over time. Specifically, adolescents’ social media use improved both their ability to understand (cognitive empathy) and share the feelings of their peers (affective empathy).

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