Monthly Archives: January 2017

The bully myth

(Editor’s Note:  This opinion piece, written by bullying/cyberbullying prevention pioneer Nancy Willard, is important reading for anybody interested in identifying, addressing, and preventing bullying and cyberbullying in schools.  Nancy has long been known to speak  truth to power, regardless of the consequences.  As a result, she is sometimes vilified for her candor, as many of the comments appended to her article demonstrate.  But she is totally correct in observing that bullying prevention programs have proven largely ineffective, not necessarily because their methodology is flawed, but because implementation is impeded by lack of resources and lack of public and political support.  The focus is on “fixing” the kids when it’s the adults who are broken. — Mike Tully

P.S.  Full disclosure:   Nancy Willard is a close friend and valued colleague for many years.)

Prevention programs based on major misconceptions

Last November, the top administrators of Lane County’s three largest school districts made public statements related to bullying. In part, they stated: “Regardless of the uncertainty associated with the election, schools still are safe places.”

In December, 2016, the Oregon Department of Education issued a statement that read in part: “It is especially important now for all students, families and other members of the greater community to know and be reassured that our schools remain safe and respectful places of learning for all students.”

Unfortunately, data on bullying in Oregon and Lane County show that these statements are not accurate.

On the 2015 Oregon Healthy Teen survey, conducted by the Oregon Public Health Division, students are asked about their experiences being bullied in the last 30 days. Bullying is defined for them as someone being repeatedly hurtful. In Oregon, 29.9 percent of eighth-graders report being bullied. This rate appears to be significantly higher than on two national surveys.

In Lane County, the student-reported rate of being bullied in eighth grade was much higher — 34.2 percent of reported someone was repeatedly hurtful to them at school in the last month!

In a recent well-publicized incident, two Creswell High School administrators texted messages disparaging former students. There are three concerns associated with this incident: First, that they would do such a thing. Second, that both students left Creswell schools because of concerns related to bullying — indicating a lack of attention to the concerns at the school.

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Family of 13-year-old boy who hanged himself sues his private Brooklyn Catholic school for ignoring ‘months of relentless bullying from classmates and teachers’

The family of a 13-year-old boy who took his own life after months of bullying is now suing the Brooklyn Catholic school they said did nothing to save him.
Daniel Fitzpatrick committed suicide at his Staten Island home on August 11, 2016, after writing a heartbreaking letter, suggesting he was relentlessly tormented by his classmates and teachers.

His family have been outspoken about their pain since losing their son, and on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Holy Angels Catholic Academy.

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Boy, 9, afraid to go to school due to bullying (Canada)

In a heartbreaking video posted online Thursday morning, a nine-year-old boy is seen holding up cue cards, each one detailing how bullying has made him afraid to go back to school.

In that video, Zach (CityNews is not publishing his last name, and has blurred his face) claims he’s been called names and pushed around. After he complained, he said, his teachers told him to “man up” and “grow up.”

Zach said he decided to make his story public, partly, he said, to protect kids just like him.

“I just wanted to get it out there and I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Zach said.

Zach and his family, who are from Mississauga, moved to a community north of the city this past September. In less than four months, his mother Alexandra says she had to take drastic action and remove all of her children from the school, after faculty failed to address Zach’s bullying.

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Creswell school administrators sent texts mocking students (OR)

Creswell High School Principal Andy Bracco and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Jordan Osborn are being scrutinized by community members after text messages in which they made fun of several students were made public last week.

One text poked fun at one former student’s weight. Another insinuated that a former student was snorting cocaine.

Rachel Stauffer, 17, a student at Pleasant Hill High School, was the target of the administrators’ text message regarding her weight. In the text, Bracco wrote to Osborn, “Looking fit and healthy I’m sure,” to which Osborn texted, “She’s 5’2 and 257 pounds.”

The text message conversation happened during a Jan. 13 Creswell varsity boys’ basketball game at Pleasant Hill High School, where Stauffer was cheering with the ­Pleasant Hill varsity cheerleading team.

A person in the stands at the game took a ­photograph over Osborn’s shoulder of the texts on Osborn’s phone.

District Superintendent Todd Hamilton confirmed that copies of the text obtained by The Register-Guard were between Osborn, 31, and Bracco, 45. Hamilton also confirmed the comments were referring to Stauffer.

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Democrats unveil legislative proposals, including anti-workplace bullying effort (KS)

Democrats unveiled a slew of proposals on Wednesday, offering a legislative agenda to counter Gov. Sam Brownback and Republicans.

The bills range from restoring teacher due process, allowing cities to use prevailing wage and reducing workplace bullying at state agencies. Several of the proposals have been around, but Democrats hope the new, more cooperative Legislature will boost the chance of passage.

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