Effective Bullying Prevention – What Works?

By Paul Langhorst                           October 24, 2012

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month is coming to a close.  While it has not gained quite the status as Thanksgiving, or our other major holidays, the designation of October as National Bullying Prevention Awareness month has brought increased focus on the problem of bullying and building an effective bullying prevention program.

With all the added attention, it begs the question – what is an effective anti-bullying program?  I can tell you what its not:

  • It is not an annual “stop bullying day” where students get T-shirts and wristbands – if that is the only thing your school or district does all year.
  •  It is not having a speaker come in once, not to be supported by other ongoing efforts.
  • It is not signs or posters in the hall, or a pledge on the wall, if that is the only thing happening all year.
  • It is not a policy in your school handbook, if it is not supported with other proactive measures.
  • It is not a reactive “zero tolerance” policy, if not supported by proactive measures.

Effective bullying prevention is a continuous effort consisting of policy, education, training, reporting, motivation, dialogue, intervention, investigation, action, counseling and discipline/consequences that happen across the entire school year.

Recently I attended the Missouri School  Board Association’s Bullying Summit and during one session the speaker asked the audience members to raise their hand if they did not have a comprehensive bullying prevention program that consisted of ongoing multidimensional efforts as outlined above. The entire room raised their hand, save for a few individuals…well, there’s your problem right there!  Bullying will never be fully addressed if a comprehensive program is not put in place to address it.

As we work with districts across the country, here at the CyberBully Hotline, we encounter schools/districts that fall into two broad categories –  those that have comprehensive bullying prevention plans in place, or are under development, and those that have disjointed efforts, host sporadic events and do not appear to be heading toward a comprehensive program.  The difference?  School leadership. If the school leadership, be it the school board, the superintendent of an entire district or the principal of a single private school, does not see bullying prevention as a priority, little gets done. Those that make it a priority move heaven and earth to put an effective program into place.

The benefits of an effective, comprehensive bullying prevention program are significant. Not only are students spared the humiliation and torture of bullying, but the overall school climate and its cohesiveness as a team will grow. Absenteeism decreases and student performance increases, which can have a huge impact on district funding. There are also cost savings to be hand, and potentially the avoidance of legal bills and financial settlements which are on the rise.

We would like to offer our congratulations to those school leaders who see bullying prevention as a priority and encourage others to see it in the same light. Your students, school and community will benefit greatly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effective Bullying Prevention Strategies Sponsored by CyberBully Hotline at MO-CES Bullying Summit

By Paul Langhorst                                         October 19, 2012

School administrators, teachers and counselors in Missouri were offered a fantastic opportunity to learn effective bullying prevention strategies first-hand during the Missouri Center for Education Safety’s first-annual Bullying Summit. The event was held on October 18th and consisted of multiple breakout sessions and keynote speakers who offered information and insight into today’s bullying prevention problems.

As a Missouri-based program, the CyberBully Hotline was honored to take part in the event through our sponsorship of Scott Poland, Ed. D, who gave the keynote address: “Bullying Victimization and School Safety.”  Scott Poland, is a psychologist and mental health expert and gave a riveting presentation on the links between bullying, harassment and suicide.

Dr. Scott Poland is a nationally recognized expert on school crisis, youth violence, suicide intervention, self injury, school safety, threat assessment, parenting and the delivery of psychological services in schools.  He has lectured andBullycide as Explained by Dr. Scott Poland written extensively on these subjects, appeared on all major television network news programs, and has presented over 1,000 workshops in every state and numerous foreign countries. He served on the President’s Roundtable on Youth Violence and has testified about the needs of children before the U. S. Congress on four occasions Dr. Poland is a founding member of the National Emergency Assistance Team for the National Association of School Psychologists and serves as the Prevention Director for the American Association of Suicidology.

The event also showcased many bullying prevention programs including, the CyberBully Hotline, Olweus, CharacterPlus, GreenDot, and featured other presentations, including Lynn Lang from the Archdiocese of St. Louis who spoke on Virtue-Based Restorative Justice ™, and Scott Sommers, an attorney with the Missouri School Boards Association who covered Missouri bullying statutes and case law.

 

 

 

“Parents May be Teaching Teens to be Bullies” – CyberBully Hotline Contributor Featured in Article

By Paul Langhorst                     October 15, 2012

US News Education featured a prominent article “Parents May be Teaching Teens to be Bullies” in their October 10th issue. This article echos a post made here in which I used the trashing of Braves stadium during Cards-Braves wild card game playoff to show how bad behavior by adults is transmitted to young people.

This article also featured comments by Dr. Nicole Yetter, who is a consultant and adviser to the CyberBully Hotline. We are pleased to see Dr. Yetter being sought out and recognized for her bullying insights.

Key points from the the article: Parent Fighting Can Teach Teens Bullying

  • Students pick up on how parents talk about others, but they are also tuned into how their parents treat one another.
  • Bullying between parents can take the form of overt verbal abuse, but it can also be a more subtle over-extension of power.
  • Fostering a sense of entitlement in teens who excel academically or athletically is another way well-intentioned parents may inadvertently breed bullies.
  • Kids that never hear no, or have few rules and guidelines can contribute to bullying behavior.

Great article and support of the concept that bullying behavior is learned by kids through their parents, peers and environment.

 

Suicide is NEVER the Answer. Tragedy in Luzeren County, PA

By Dr. Nicole Yetter,   Bullying and Education Consultant           October 11, 2012

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I write this month’s blog. Tragedy has struck a small town in Northeastern, PA. In one week, the lives of four Luzerne County schoolchildren had ended from suicide. This senseless act reinforces the need for a call to action by everyone, not only in the Luzerne County region, but all across America. Sadly, many of the students claim that bullying and harassment may have played a role in the suicides of their classmates.

Suicide is never the answer! Suicide is preventable and talking about it can help save lives. In a recent Youth Risk Survey, 25% of teens have thought about suicide and 90% of those that did commit suicide have severe mental health or substance abuse issues. Children and adults need to know there is an outlet and someone will be there to listen.

If ever a student threatens to harm themselves in some way, offer these words of encouragement:

  • “I want you to live.”
  • “I’m on your side and care about you.”
  • “We’ll get through this together.”
  • “I am here to help.”

These words can help cut through the isolation and desolation they are feeling. Caring May Save A Life And Hope Begins With You!

On behalf of the CyberBully Hotline and myself, we send our sincere condolences to all those affected by this tragedy in Luzerne County and to all of those that may be struggling across America. Help is available, please don’t give up!

Join the CyberBully Hotline webinar: Suicide in School Community: Response and Recovery.

More suicide resources:

 

Restorative Justice – Challenges and Opportunities

By Paul Langhorst                  October 5, 2012

“Restorative justice” is a big buzz word in bullying response and solutions these days and is garnering a lot of attention as a bullying response solution that produces significant results. However, restorative justice is not without its detriments and detractors as CyberBully Hotline contributor Janet M. Irvine points out in her latest submission: “The Opportunities and Challenges of Restorative Justice.

Janet M. Irvine, is a 20+ year former educator and lives in Canada, so not only does she bring extensive experience to the discussion, but also an international viewpoint. Janet is also an accomplished author, and her fictional book, When Push Comes to Shove Back, would make for a fantastic book report project that would also double as a lesson on how bullies, victims and bystanders can join forces for positive change.

You will enjoy reading Janet’s article, which can be found here.

 

 

 

Blue Shirt Day Supported by CyberBully Hotline Team

October 1st is being promoted as World Day of Bullying Prevention by the Love Our  Children organization.  In recognition of their efforts and this very worthwhile cause, all employees at SchoolReach wore blue shirts to work and we made a corporate contribution to Love Our Children.  Our company colors are blue and yellow so this was very easy to accomplish!  What a good looking group!

Blue Shirt Day Recognition at CyberBully Hotline

CyberBully Hotline Wins TAM Award for Bullying Prevention Materials

By Paul Langhorst            Sept. 27, 2012

SchoolReach, the providers of the CyberBully Holtine, was honored with several Targeted Marketing and Advertising (TAM) awards at the St. Louis Business Marketing Association’s annual award ceremony on Tuesday.

The main award for the night, like “Best Motion Picture” at the Oscars, was the Best-in-Class award for Total Campaign, which covered all aspects of a go-to-market strategy – website, direct marketing, newsletter, blog, brochure, and supporting collateral.  We are pleased to announce that the CyberBully Hotline took the top TAM award for Total Campaign – winning the coveted Best-in-Class award. In addition, as a single item, our 8-page CyberBully Hotline brochure took the Silver TAM for Best Brochure.

Cyberbullying prevention resource materials

Our winning materials and awards!

Our entire company was involved in the creation of the CyberBully Hotline campaign – from logo design to copy to image selection.  The marketing department would post concepts on a long wall near our reception area and employees were asked to vote on various concepts until the final product was produced. We were greatly aided by our creative agency, Bloodlines Creative, on the overall creative strategy and its development.

We wish to thank all our employees, Bloodlines, and the St. Louis BMA for making the Best-in-Class TAM award possible.

Thank you St. Louis BMA and TAM!!!!

 

Suicide in the School Community – Response and Recovery: Webinar Event

In recognition of National Bullying Awareness Month (Oct 2012), please plan on joining us for a Professional Development webinar: Suicide in the School Community: Response & Recovery.

Expert in Teen Suicide - Tina MeierOur special guest speakers are Tina Meier of the Megan Meier Foundation and suicide/ mental health expert, Scott Poland.

The webinar is set for Monday, Oct. 15th, 2012 from 10:30-11:30 AM CDT  Register for this powerful webinar here.

Since her daughter Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier has committed her life to battling bullying and cyberbullying. Tina Meier is helping school administrators across the country expand their knowledge of the impact of bullying on kids and their families.

Dr. Scott Poland is a nationally recognized expert on school crisis, youth violence, suicide intervention, self injury, school safety, threat assessment, parenting and the delivery of psychological services in schools. From Dr. Poland learn about the link between bullying and suicide; learn warning signs of suicidal behavior and thoughts; learn tips on how to speak to students and your communities about suicide; and learn best practices for dealing with the aftermath of a suicide in your school community.

Female Aggression Expert, Joyce L. Davis, Joins CyberBully Hotline as Contributor

By Paul Langhorst        Sept. 25, 2012

We would like to recognize and welcome Joyce L. Davis, M.A. to the CyberBully Hotline Female Agression Expertteam. Joyce will be providing articles and insight into the unique challenges associated with female on female bullying and aggression.  Joyce has been a dedicated teacher and counselor for more than 13 years having taught in middle schools in both Maryland and Florida. She has served on several boards of education at the secondary and tertiary levels and has participated in numerous advocacy programs that promote excellence and self-development among adolescents.

As the founder and Executive Director of Pearl Girlz, LLC., Joyce has a clearly defined goal to “celebrate the unique pearl in every girl” by providing female bullying prevention workshops and pro-social training programs that offer teen girls the necessary tools to be successful in life, to appreciate their total beauty and to be proud of their unique identity.

Bullying Prevention Partner Page Added to CyberBully Hotline Website

By Paul Langhorst                 September 1, 2012

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

It’s Saturday morning, 7:46 AM, and I am laboring away on the CyberBully Hotline website launching a new partner page which can be found here: http://www.cyberbullyhotline.com/partners.html.

This page currently features two of our partners, Web Wise Kids and the Megan Meier Foundation. More are in development and their logos and brief description will be added shortly. Our partners help guide and refine the services offered by the CyberBully Hotline or may offers services which can be used to augment overall bully prevention efforts. We encourage you to check them out, and check back often to see who has been added.

Don’t work too hard over the Labor Day Weekend!