Bullying in Schools: The Cause and The Cure
Bullying in Schools: The Cause and The Cure. What every parent and educator needs to know about this epidemic today.
Almost everyday when you turn on the news, read a newspaper, or surf the internet you hear about another incident of bullying or cyber-bullying in schools. It is happening at every grade level and is having an impact not only on the person being bullied, but on families and entire communities. The severity and speed of this epidemic has new weapons with the misuse of popular social media sites such as myspace and Facebook. Texting among teenagers is rampant and can include gossip, lies, and hurtful rumors. Some students are now being charged with crimes because of sexting from sending sexually explicit photos and messages in the form of text messages.
- 9 charged with bullying Mass. teen who killed self - Associated Press
- Bullying rampant in U.S. middle schools - CNN
- School Bullying Affects Majority Of Elementary Students- U.S News & World Report
- Bullying in Schools: Pervasive, Disruptive, and Serious, UCLA Study Finds
- A 13 year old boy from Virginia committed suicide stemming from harassment from several girls…mostly harassment sent via instant message -People Magazine
- Cyber-bullying on the rise- The Reno Gazette
There is more that parents, educators, and communities need to know and do to stop this epidemic.
While everybody else is focused on the problem and addressing the symptoms of bullying in schools what we really need to be focusing on is the cause and put programs into place to prevent and stop bullying. It’s like the analogy of moping water up off the floor as addressing the symptoms, I’m talking about fixing the leaking hole in the wall and addressing the cause.
In this interview I share what I believe is the missing link in stopping and preventing bullying in schools. There is a three step process and for the most part many schools are succeeding in the first two steps. However, many are missing the third and most important step for long term success.
For over 18 years I have traveled all over the country speaking at hundreds of middle schools and high schools presenting school-wide assemblies and leadership trainings on respect, responsibility and accountability. Over one million students, parents, and educators have heard my message as it relates to teasing and bullying.
At every school that I visit, bullying is always reported as one of the top concerns from teachers, administrators and students. Schools bring me in to talk with their students because I am an expert in addressing these issues and and helping them improve school climate. I have heard the stories from teenagers who feel all alone and are tired of being picked on. Parents share with me that their number one priority is for their child to feel safe when they go to school and not be bullied. The effects of bullying impact academic performance, school pride and the ability to create a strong community.
The Three Steps
Creating awareness around this issue is only the first part in stopping and preventing bullying in schools. There are some people that think that bullying is just a part of life and that all kids do it. The truth is that not all kids do it and that it can be stopped and prevented. Creating awareness around this issue is essential. In the schools where bullying is prevalent there is a lack of support around reporting, speaking up, and making everyone aware of the issue.
Once students are aware that bullying is not okay and that it will not be tolerated the next step is in educating students and parents on how to speak up if they are being bullied or if their child is being threatened. By teaching conflict resolution skills and creating systems and structures within schools incidents of bullying can be reported and addressed immediately.
3. Developing Leaders: The Missing Link
The first two steps are effective in stopping bullying but the third step is the key to preventing bullying and creating a positive school climate.
The missing link is teaching students the principles and skills that are essential to them developing as leaders. It is my belief that every student has the capacity to be a leader in certain areas of their life. It could be in their home, in their peer group, on their team or organization.
Students need to be taught that respect, responsibility, and accountability goes way beyond the classroom and is a key to reaching their full potential. Students must learn the skills to setting and achieving their goals. Many teenagers today lack direction and motivation causing them to often times take their frustration and anger out on others. Show me a student who’s clear and specific on their goals and dreams and I will show you someone who will make positive healthy choices including treating others with respect. When you teach students about the power of kindness and being grateful you will see attitudes change to the positive.
Many of the middle and high schools that I have the privilege to work with are adding the missing link into their bullying prevention programs. They are setting aside time during the school day to focus on leadership development. Some schools even block off an entire day to bring students and parents together to provide awareness, education, and leadership training to face the issues teens encounter today.
Teachers and administrators are under so much pressure over test scores and academic performance that many think teaching leadership is a “nice to have.” The truth is it’s a must! because if students do not feel safe and confident about who they are and believe that they belong then academic performance will be negatively affected and this epidemic will continue.