Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Put an End to Bullying in Your School

“While disciplining the perpetrators is likely a necessary step, it often is insufficient. A school’s responsibility is to eliminate the hostile environment . . .”
                                                           - from the new US Department of Education anti-bullying regulations

Dear Friends,
With new federal anti-bullying regulations being put in place across the US, plus the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, which requires all NJ schools to implement anti-bullying programs by September 1, 2011, I am offering a new series of workshops on preventing and addressing bullying:

Workshops: Prevent Bullying In Your School:
- Staff Training: Preventing and Addressing Bullying in Your School
- Administrator Training: Preventing and Addressing Bullying in Your School
- Class-by-Class Workshops: How to Be Bully-Free
- Parent Workshop: Bully-Proofing Your Child
- School Counselor Training: Helping the Bully, Bullied, and Bystander
- Implementing the New Federal Anti-Bullying Regulations
- NJ only: Implementing the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in Your School
- All other States: Creating an Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in Your District

Since the demand is so high, I am booking these workshops on a first come, first served basis. You can e-mail me at, or call 609-397-8432.

School Library Journal has named No Kidding About Bullying “an essential resource for preventing bullying.” It’s also a low-cost way of preventing and addressing bullying school-wide. For more some free downloadable lessons from No Kidding About Bullying, and for more information, click here.

And now, read on to see what’s possible.

In peace,


No educator would ever say, “We’ve covered math this year. Our school had a great assembly, then every teacher did a lesson, so now we're done." Unfortunately that's what happens with the issue of bullying far to often.

To prepare kids for their role as responsible members of our society – and to get them to stop harming each other -- it’s essential that we teach them how to treat others with decency and respect. Brutal incidences of bullying in schools across the U.S. have shown that we have little time to waste.

So what can we do? The first and most important step is to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s not just about punishing kids who bully, it’s about creating school climates that are antithetical to bullying and other cruel behaviors. Kids want this just as much as adults do. A national survey I ran of over 2100 kids revealed that 73% of the kids surveyed believe their peers are somewhat to very mean to each other. A whopping 80% said they want to learn more about managing conflict, anger and bullying.

The only thing that’s going to change schools from places with undercurrents of gratuitous cruelty to places where respect is the norm, is by teaching compassion, kindness, and acceptance as deliberately as we teach reading and math. These values need to be integrated into the very fabric of learning every day of the year.

This has to be done in homes too. Schools can’t do it alone.

Imagine every member of school staffs acknowledging kind acts as soon as they take place, calling kids on mean behaviors the minute they occur, and following up with a consequence -- no exceptions. Imagine weekly lessons taught on compassion and acceptance, and kids becoming upstanders for peers who are picked on after practice through role play.

All of this is possible. Remember the days when smoking was considered cool? Then, after years of anti-smoking campaigns, kids finally got the message that smoking isn’t cool at all –- in fact, it’s downright damaging. The same thing can happen with bullying. Picture kids speaking up rather than joining in when peers are picked on, and  all the social capital going to the upstanders, rather than the kids who are mean.

This is actually happening in schools that have made a building-wide commitment to creating climates where all kids feel safe and respected. By modeling, teaching, expecting, and reinforcing kindness, compassion, and respect -- and settling for nothing less -- a distinct shift starts to take place. Before long kindness is more “in” and “cruelty more “out.”

The academic and interpersonal rewards that follow are beyond measure: “higher grades, engagement, attendance, aspirations, scholastic competence, fewer suspensions, on- time progression through grades, higher self-esteem and self-concept, plus less anxiety, depression and loneliness,”according to a synthesis of national data compiled by the prestigious Search Institute.

Kids want our help. They want to go to school in an atmosphere of peace and respect.  If we make this a priority, we can make it happen, and kids need us to make it a priority now. It’s time to move beyond bullying and cruelty. Let kindness be the new norm.

What Do You Think? To leave a comment, e-mail, or click on the word “comments” below. Write your comment in the box, then click on “Select profile . . .”  If the top group of options doesn’t apply to you, select “Name/URL” to comment with your name (you can leave the URL part blank), or select “Anonymous.”

1 comment:

  1. Boston’s Michael and Marisa Take on Bullying with their new song & video,”The Same” Kids Can Help Kids.
    They hope their song reaches bullies and those unfairly being bullied…”If our song causes even one bystander to take a stand, that one action could be the start of a chain of events that could help to stop bullying