Monthly Archives: August 2016

The “Trump Effect” on Adolescent Bullying Behaviors at School

American presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton recently remarked that: “Parents and teachers are already worrying about what they call the ‘Trump Effect.’ They report that bullying and harassment are on the rise in our schools, especially targeting students of color, Muslims and immigrants.” (August 25th, 2016, Reno, NV)

But is this accurate? It came out of a politician’s mouth, so I think we’re right to be skeptical.

Politifact (the nonpartisan fact-checking website) rated the statement as “mostly true.” They referred to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center which surveyed approximately 2,000 self-identified K-12 educators who visited the Teaching Tolerance website (or who subscribed to its newsletter) between March 23 and April 2, 2016.

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Workplace bullying may be bad, but it’s not illegal, right? Not so fast …

Can bullies in Alaska workplaces hide behind the fact that there’s no state law against bullying? According to contemporary thought, bullying isn’t illegal unless you work in California (which has a Workplace Violence Safety Act), Utah (with a Healthy Workplace Bill) or at a public agency in Tennessee (which has a Healthy Workplace Act protecting those who work in state and municipal agencies).

As a result, many believe bullies have virtual immunity and that those bullied have little protection unless those who bully them cross a line through criminal assault or by attacking their targets in legally protected areas, such as discrimination against age, race or sex or in the exercise of protected rights such as safety.

Perhaps, however, the tide has turned.

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Facebook’s new Lifestage app: What parents and educators need to know

As you may have heard, Facebook is testing a new iOS app called Lifestage, which is designed to enable students to create a visual profile of who they are to share with their school network. It’s unique in that it doesn’t give users the option to post privately, and unlike most services, it’s designed from the ground up for students to interact primarily with their fellow students at their school or nearby schools.

Small test

Before you go on, it’s important to know that, so far, this is a small test. Students at only a handful of schools have been enabled to set-up Lifestage accounts and, in order for a student to use Lifestage, they have to be at a participating school where 20 or more students are already using the app. The best way to find out if your student’s school has been “unlocked” is to ask your student.

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10 Ways Manipulators Use Emotional Intelligence for Evil (and How to Fight Back)

Emotional intelligence is nothing new.

Sure, the term was coined in the 1960s, and popularized by psychologists in recent decades. But the concept of emotional intelligence–which I define as a person’s ability to recognize and understand emotions and use that information to guide decision making–has been around as long as we have.

This skill we refer to as emotional intelligence (also known as EI or EQ) is like any other ability: You can cultivate it, work to enhance it, sharpen it.

And it’s important to know that, just like other skills, emotional intelligence can be used both ethically and unethically.

The dark side of emotional intelligence:

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AFP workplace harassment in the sights of Canberra’s new top cop (AU)

The senior officer selected as the next chief of ACT Policing says a damning report into sexual harassment and bullying in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) will be at the front of her mind when she takes up the role.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Justine Saunders was announced as the replacement for retiring ACT chief police officer Rudi Lammers a week after a report found sexual harassment in the AFP, including ACT Policing, was reported at almost twice the national average.

She said while she had been a victim of such conduct herself, she was shocked by the scale of the allegations.

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Employers liable for workplace bullying (AU)

Law firm Bell Gully is reminding employers that they could be held accountable for workplace bullying after a prosecution case in Australia.

Carpentry business manager Wayne Dennert was prosecuted and fined for bullying an employee and encouraging other employees to join in.

Dennert pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to provide a safe workplace after his 18-year-old apprentice complained to WorkSafe Victoria that he had been bullied.

The allegations included verbal, physical and psychological bullying and harassment.

Examples of some of the abuse included the victim being drenched with water, spat on, having ‘Liquid Nails’ squirted in his hair, a meths-soaked rag held over his mouth, a live mouse put down his shirt, hot drill bits held against his skin, plaster smeared across his face and into his eyes, sandpaper scraped across his face, and being pinned down while a strip of paint was applied to his face.

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New Zealand has world’s second highest rate of workplace bullying

Attitudes towards workplace bullying are what they were towards domestic violence 30 years ago, says Culture Safe New Zealand director Allan Halse.

“When Women’s Refuge started talking about the need to be safe people called them hairy-legged lesbians and said that was a matter between a couple. Now there’s an acceptance that it is a problem.

“In New Zealand [workplace bullying] is something to do with the whole blokey ‘suck it up’ culture. It’s got nothing to do with being weak or strong – if someone’s being undermined that affects their self worth.”

Halse and his colleagues delivered an anti-bullying seminar to about 100 workers in Nelson on Friday as part of the Health Action Trust’s business forum on mental health.

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Gay-Straight Alliances are Associated with Lower Levels of School-Based Victimization of LGBTQ+ Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) are school-based organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth and their allies that often attempt to improve school climate for sexual and gender minority youth. This meta-analysis evaluates the association between school GSA presence and youth’s self-reports of school-based victimization by quantitatively synthesizing 15 primary studies with 62,923 participants. Findings indicate GSA presence is associated with significantly lower levels of youth’s self-reports of homophobic victimization, fear for safety, and hearing homophobic remarks, and these results are robust, controlling for a variety of study-level factors. The findings of this meta-analysis provide evidence to support GSAs as a means of protecting LGTBQ+ youth from school-based victimization.

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Six lessons from the worst bullying cases in Australia

For a nation that prides itself on a right to a ‘fair go’, Australia has an arguably embarrassing record when it comes to bullying in the workplace.

According to research by the University of South Australia, when compared to 31 European countries, Australia ranked sixth highest for workplace bullying, with seven per cent of Australian workers reporting instances of bullying at work in the six months prior to the study’s publication.

Workplace bullying can have a devastating impact on its victims – something that’s now being reflected in the consequences negligent employers can potentially face. In the past year, judgements handed down around the country have resulted in damages in bullying cases being paid in hundreds of thousands of dollars – not to mention a new law in Victoria providing for up to 10 years imprisonment for serious bullying. The incentives for businesses to create firm anti-bullying policies have never been greater.

In safeguarding your own workplace against a potentially expensive bullying claim, what can you learn from some of Australia’s worst bullies?

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