School Innovations to Fight Bullying: Resources and Stories

“Bullying is nothing new, but attitudes about it have changed. Some of those things that were accepted as part of the norm aren’t as accepted as part of the norm any longer…Now, our hope is to teach children not only the academic skills in school but also those social skills: How do we get along together? How do we build a more successful community? How do we work together? These are skills kids can use throughout their lifetime.” – Cindy Skala, the school social worker

“How to UnMake a Bully”

 There are many approaches schools can take to combat bullying within their walls, but the better ones are the innovative ones. For example, Glendaal Elementary School in Scotia’s new video project. With the help of Skala and Mike Feurstein, a filmmaker who serves as a teacher’s aide, students at Glendaal created a 30-minute video about how three students stood up to their school bully Russell. The video portrays many of the strategies schools everywhere try to teach their students. One of the most successful strategies is letting the students participate in teaching. “It’s important to do this in kids’ voices and to listen to what kids have to say. Simply telling kids these behaviors are bad and here’s what you should do about them is not a real effective strategy for getting things to change. Adults can’t really know the reality the kids are dealing with,” says Stan Davis, a school counselor and author of “Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies for Reducing Bullying.” Glendall and Feurstein have already begun a sequel about bullying and bystanders and hope to continue producing videos about other issues students face.

To watch this movie go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_430612&v=N0f6qQrvD8k&src_vid=8c2AR62HRlc&feature=iv

For further information about the project and the sequel, go to http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Unmaking-a-bully-2195325.php#page-1.

Other schools are getting creative as well. For instance, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation is using the 2011 National School Bus Safety Week to highlight issues of bullying both at school and on the bus. (http://readme.readmedia.com/Bullying-Not-on-Our-School-Buses/3064207). Also, New Jersey school districts have declared the first week of Bully Prevention Month as “Week of Respect” and “pull out all stops with daily doses of anti-bullying reinforcement.” (http://www.app.com/article/BZ/20111005/NEWS01/310050025/Schools-turn-peer-mediation-battle-bullying)

Here are some resources for schools, teachers, and parents to work together to create innovative programs of their own:

General overview of the problem, action steps, and links for schools.

http://palmharbor.patch.com/articles/caregivers-tackle-bullying-in-schools-community-8f50701d

Connect for Respect – The national PTA provides resources and trainings for parents, caregivers, and teachers on how to work together to reduce bullying and its effects on students.

http://www.pta.org/bullying.asp

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program provides resources, training, webinars, and other information about what bullying is and how to deal with it. It also provides specific resources for administrators, teachers, school staff, and parents.

http://www.olweus.org/public/index.page

Free Casey and Bella books, DVD, and curriculum created by Jan Lavascio to help children learn about bullying and how to deal with it.

http://www.caseyandbella.com/

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Creative Way to Save and Expand Domestic Violence Services!

Sound Mental Health takes over Kent’s Safe Havens domestic violence visitation center http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_king/ken/news/125645778.html

This article provides an interesting look at how a domestic violence services center, after losing Federal funding, was able to achieve sustainability for their program by merging with a local private non-profit behavioral health services provider.

It also provides an overview of how the combination of these two organizations will not only sustain the center but increase the opportunities and availability of services from both organizations to address the complex needs of the children and families exposed to or recovering from domestic violence.

Overall, the new pairing of Sound Mental Health and Safe Havens offers a clear example of how organizations can sustain themselves beyond Federal funding, implement and share their programs, and fully integrate themselves into their communities to increase prevention and expand services.

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