K&J Show Encore – A Focus on Bullying

In a recent K&J show during The Morning News we spoke with teachers and advisers in the Tupper Lake Central School District. The Link Below will take you to the audio of the program..  Bullying is, “a repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group of persons.” Bullying is different from aggression between people of equal power. However, someone can have less power than others for many reasons – being shy, being different, lacking confidence, having problems at home, or lacking physical strength.

<<<< K&J – 100512 – Re-Air – Bullying – Tupper Lake Schools >>>>

Tupper Lake’s School Board adopts Dignity For All Students Act!

The Board of Education recognizes that learning environments that are safe and supportive can increase student attendance and improve academic achievement. A student’s ability to learn and achieve high academic standards, and a school’s ability to educate students, is compromised by incidents of discrimination or harassment, including but not limited to bullying, taunting and intimidation. Therefore, in accordance with the Dignity for All Students Act, Education Law,

Article 2, the District will strive to create an environment free of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment and will foster civility in the schools to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the District’s educational mission. Since cyberbullying is a form of bullying, the term “bullying” as used in this policy will implicitly include cyberbullying even if it is not explicitly stated. The District condemns and prohibits all forms of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property and at school-sponsored activities and events that take place at locations off school property. In addition, any act of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment, outside of school sponsored events, which can reasonably be expected to materially and substantially disrupt the education process may be subject to discipline.

Dignity Act Coordinator
At least one (1) employee at every school shall be designated as the Dignity Act Coordinator(s). The Dignity Act Coordinator(s) will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression) and sex. The Board of Education shall appoint the Dignity Act Coordinator(s) and share the name(s) and contact information with all school personnel, students, and parents/persons in parental relation, which shall include, but is not limited to, providing the name, designated school and contact information by:

a) Listing such information in the Code of Conduct and updates posted on the Internet website, if available;
b) Including such information in the plain language summary of the Code of Conduct provided to all persons in parental relation to students before the beginning of each school year;
c) Providing such information to parents and persons of parental relation in at least one district or school mailing or other method of distribution including, but not limited to, sending such information home with each student and, if such information changes, in at least one subsequent district or school mailing or other such method of distribution as soon as practicable thereafter;
d) Posting such information in highly visible areas of school buildings;
e) Making such information available at the district and school-level administrative offices. If a Dignity Act Coordinator vacates his/her position, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending approval from the Board of Education, within thirty (30) days of the date the position was vacated. In the event a Coordinator is unable to perform the duties of the position for an extended period of time, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending return of the previous Coordinator to the position.

Training and Awareness
Each District and Charter School shall establish guidelines for training which shall be approved by the Board of Education. Training will be provided each school year for all District employees in conjunction with existing professional development training to raise staff awareness and sensitivity of harassment and bullying, discrimination and/or harassment directed at students that are committed by students or school employees on school property or at a school function. Training will include ways to promote a supportive school environment that is free from bullying, discrimination and/or harassment, emphasize positive relationships, and demonstrate prevention and intervention techniques to assist employees in recognizing and responding to bullying, discrimination and/or harassment and discrimination, as well as ensuring the safety of the victims.

Instruction in grades Kindergarten through 12 shall include a component on civility, citizenship and character education. Such component shall instruct students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which will enhance the quality of their experiences in, and contributions to, the community. For the purposes of this policy, “tolerance,” “respect for others” and “dignity” shall include awareness and sensitivity to bullying, discrimination and/or harassment and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious
practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders and sexes.

Rules against bullying, discrimination and/or harassment will be included in the Code of Conduct, publicized District-wide and disseminated to all staff and parents. An age-appropriate summary shall be distributed to all students at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year. Reports and Investigations of Bullying, Discrimination and/or Harassment.  The District will investigate all complaints of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment, either formal or informal, and take prompt corrective measures, as necessary. Complaints will be investigated in accordance with applicable policies and regulations. If, after an appropriate. investigation, the District finds that this policy has been violated, corrective action will be taken in accordance with District policies and regulations, the Code of Conduct, and all appropriate federal or
state laws.

An excerpt from kidpower.org

Bullying takes many different forms including physical threats or violence; name-calling and teasing; ostracism; and social attacks on someone’s reputation. People can bully others directly, in person; indirectly, such as by gossiping or ‘badmouthing’ by voice to others; or through any form of communication technology including talking on the phone, writing, texting, emailing, and recording.  Bullying behavior occurs in schools, sports, youth groups, work places, social groups, senior centers, and online activities. It can occur anywhere people gather, either in the real world or the virtual world. Bullying takes place between people of all ages and walks of life. Young people who are being bullied are especially likely to feel trapped and alone because they usually don’t have a choice about where they live, go to school, or play.

Conflict is a normal part of most relationships because people have different perspectives and priorities. While kids need adult supervision so that they learn how to deal with conflict constructively, most upsetting behavior between people is NOT bullying. People can also be hurtful to each other because of thoughtlessness, annoyance, poor boundaries, and experimenting with negative uses of their power without realizing the impact.

The good news is that the social-emotional skills that can prevent and stop most bullying and harassment are also important in building healthy relationships. Learning how to take charge of their own emotional and physical safety, how to act safely and respectfully towards others even if they feel frustrated or upset, how to set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others, and how to advocate effectively to help others empowers most people and gives them tools to better manage future conflicts and relationship issues. The bottom line is that people have the right to be treated with respect and the responsibility to act respectfully towards others.

Children and teens need consistent, repeated messages from their parents, teachers, principals, and other caring adults that, “We want you to be safe. Being safe means not being afraid that someone will try to harm you. Your job is to speak up if someone is saying or doing something that is harmful to you – and to get help from the adults in charge if that doesn’t work. We also expect you to behave safely and respectfully towards others. This means staying in charge of what you say and do so that you are not being harmful or scary, even if someone really annoys or upsets you. If you have trouble at school or anywhere else, I want you to tell me.”

Build understanding by asking young people to tell you what bullying is and if, when, and how they have seen it happen. Discuss characters in books or movies who bully, witness bullying or are bullied.  Periodically ask, ”Is there anything you’ve been wondering or worrying about that you haven’t told me?

If young people witness bullying, their wisest choices are going to depend on the situation - they can speak up, reach out, and/or leave to get help. Suppose the person doing the bullying is being unkind by leaving another kid out or by calling names. Give kids practice speaking up while staying polite and confident with statements like: “Stop! That seems like a hurtful thing to say.” “Wait! The rule here is that everybody gets to play!” “Hi! What’s going on?” “Hey! That’s not cool!” Show how to persist respectfully if someone reacts negatively.

If kids don’t feel safe or able to speak up, their wisest choice is usually to leave and get help. Suppose someone is being threatening or physically unsafe by hitting, kicking, tripping, or shoving. Give kids practice in how to leave right away and interrupt a busy adult to get help. Encourage kids to reach out to someone who has been bullied by offering support, giving an invitation to join an activity, or sitting together.

A child who is being bullied is likely to be struggling with loneliness, misery, and despair.

Make SURE your child knows that you care and want to help, no matter how busy you are, no matter what mistakes your child might have made, no matter who might be offended, no matter WHAT.  If bullying happens in front of you, intervene even if your child says that he or she doesn’t mind.  If the bullying is happening in places when you are not there such as school, insist that the adults in charge take effective action. Most schools are doing a tremendous job with limited resources and truly care about their students. Your job is to advocate for your child in a way that seeks solutions rather than blame.

If the problem does not get better, consider changing schools or activities. Find positive social groups for your child to be part of. Coach your child to practice the safety skills mentioned above and to apply them to the specific problem. If your child continues to struggle, get professional help.

First, take a breath! Stay calm no matter how you feel inside.  You will be more successful in dealing with the problem and your child will be more likely to give you accurate information if you sound caring rather than upset or anxious. If your child tells you, thank your child for letting you know. If you’ve noticed something that your child has not mentioned, bring up the subject in a matter-of-fact way.

Pushing boundaries and experimenting with negative uses of their power is normal for some young people. With adult guidance, they can learn to redirect this behavior and become positive leaders. Kids who bully need to know that unkind, hurtful behavior is against the rules and to face consistent, age-appropriate consequences. Rather than lecturing, use practice as a management tool to address unsafe, disrespectful behavior.

Look for the reasons underneath the bullying behavior and practice skills that can help young people deal with these issues in a safer way. Remember that in a stressful moment, people of any age are more likely to do what they’ve practiced than what they’ve been told. Dealing with the disappointment of not getting what you want, having to wait your turn, feeling upset by what someone else said or did, understanding the other person’s point of view, and calming down instead of exploding in anger are all skills that can be learned and practiced until they become habits.

Bullying can cause big problems and can also create a tremendous opportunity to grow. With better skills and strong support, everyone involved can learn what to do, as well as what to not do.

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