Today I decided to feature some quotes about bullying prevention that I think are inspiring.
Here are the lyrics to a song by Simple Plan:
“No, you don’t know what it’s like / When nothing feels all right
You don’t know what it’s like / To be like me
To be hurt / To feel lost / To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you’re down / To feel like you’ve been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down / And no one’s there to save you
No, you don’t know what it’s like / Welcome to my life”
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk who now lives in France. He is a teacher, author and poet. The following quote by Thich Nhat Hanh helps you empathize with the person responsible for the meanness of bullying:
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
(Submitted by guest blogger, a current high school student – Thanks tons, A.R.)
When bullying comes to mind, thoughts surrounding fighting, comments or pictures circulating the internet and schools come along with it. What we fail to recognize, due to privacy, is that bullying also occurs within relationships whether it’s getting a punch in the face, being objectified or constantly getting yelled at for not being the ideal girlfriend or boyfriend.
Everyone wants to know how it feels to be loved and will do anything to get it, whether that means dressing up like Lady Gaga or wearing their pants low like Lil’ Wayne. Changing yourself to please others is highly common in high schools; teenagers will do everything in their willpower to jump into a relationship for that ideal feeling of being loved. But is it really the love that is sucking everyone in or is it the idea of being loved by someone?
Do students show more respect and less tendency toward bullying when they start learning, practicing and performing music together?
As a music teacher with lots of hands on experience, I believe the answer to the above question is a resounding ‘YES’. I have personally seen many children benefit from being part of a musical group of some kind.
Let me tell you about ‘el Sistema’. El Sistema was started in 1975 in Venezuela by José Antonio Abreu. At the very start, Jose met with eleven children in a garage to share his love of music with these children.
El Sistema has now grown to be a huge organization with a worthy mission and over 350,000 participants in Venezuela alone. These children all receive free choral and/or orchestral training. The mission of el Sistema is: “to help children and young people in achieving their full potential and acquiring values that favor their growth and have a positive impact on their lives in society” (http://fesnojiv.gob.ve/en/mision-y-vision.html).
El Sistema has now spread to other countries including Canada and the United States.
The five fundamentals of el Sistema are:
1/ Social Change (Main objective is positive social change through musical excellence)
2/ Ensembles (Choral or orchestral)
3/ Frequency (Multiple rehearsals a week)
4/ Accessibility (Programs are free and non-selective)
5/ Connectivity (There are urban, regional and national levels which form a network of services)
I believe children benefit from belonging to a group of some kind where they achieve a positive outcome. El Sistema is one example of such an experience. Children can become surprisingly passionate and devoted to groups of this kind, and they seem to become more respectful, happier and subsequently develop into well rounded individuals. In my opinion, el Sistema is a powerful, positive experience that can increase respect and reduce frequency of bullying occurrences.
Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate located in Ontario, Canada. www.standupnow.ca
Student role-plays and drama skits are a great way to help students learn social skills related to bullying. Here are some tips to get you started whether you are a parent, teacher, babysitter, caregiver, step parent, grandfather, daycare provider, grandmother, aunt, uncle or other interested adult.
1/ Next time a child reports an incident, whether it is bullying, teasing or other type of situation, take a minute to have them act out the scenario with one or two other people. The others could be children or adults or you could even pretend your pets are participants.
2/ As an alternative to #1 above, have the child act out the scenario with dolls, puppets or even paper cut-outs of characters.
3/ You be the narrator and set up the scene as described by the child. If you are not sure what comes next, let the child fill in the details.
4/ If the acted-out scenario starts to go in a mean direction or there is a nasty slant to the drama, just listen and then say: “now we’re going to do TAKE TWO which will be a bit different.” Explain to the child that it will start the same, but this time things get better when one character starts being a great role-model. Continue by giving the child a specific line to say which will change the direction of the drama.
5/ After the role-play has been acted out, let the child continue to focus on what has just happened by having them draw and colour a picture to go with the action.
6/ Use your iphone, android smart phone, flip cam or video camera to capture the drama and then plug it into the TV to show your child the action. Use this opportunity to discuss different directions the same situation could have taken. Give your child choices as to what they think would have been the best resolution to the situation. Take a still picture of the drama post a print-out on the fridge with a title such as “Great Role-Model”.
7/ Two or three days later, refer to the video role-play your child did and begin to discuss it again. Have your child re-visit the scenario by having them write a story about it. Tell them you’d like them to write a story to help a five-year who might be having some trouble getting along with others. This project can have meaning and value for a child who might otherwise not see themselves as a role-model or leader. Tell them that they are likely being watched everyday by children younger than themselves who learn from what they see.
Yesterday, we visited Ventura Park Public School in Thornhill (greater Toronto region) and presented assemblies which used role-play as a teaching tool.
We were so impressed with Principal, Ms. Kim Wagner and Vice-Principal, Ms. Sonia Kadela, who emphasize respect on a daily basis at their school.
Here is a quick video of Ms. Kadela commenting on the Stand Up Assemblies featuring Benny DL as DJ of radio station ATFM.
(Learn more about Benny DL at www.standupnow.ca)
So your 10-year old son, Hammoud, comes home from school with a devastated look on his face. You ask what is going on, but he won’t tell you anything. Finally that night, just before he falls asleep he tells you that something happened at school today. Another boy in his class said some things that really sunk his confidence. He had been getting along great with the others boys in the class, and now one kid is making life miserable for him. Then it comes out. This isn’t the first time. Jason has been bullying Hammoud ever since September.
As a parent you start asking yourself questions.
* Why didn’t I know about this?
* Why didn’t I see it coming?
* Doesn’t Hammoud care enough about me to share something like this with me?
* Are my parenting skills lacking?
Then my thoughts turn to the school. “What is being done to prevent bullying? Do they have policies in place?” Based on the amount of media coverage of bullying, I think to myself, “the school must have an anti-bullying program which is on-going.”
I try to encourage Hammoud the best I can and the next day I set up an appointment with the school vice-principal. After explaining the situation and discussing what is happening to Hammoud, I find out that actually the administration appears to be overwhelmed and the vice-principal is using excuses about the bullying that is taking place. She finally admits that the school really doesn’t have an actual anti-bullying policy and they have no anti-bullying program at the school.
You leave the meeting feeling rather deflated and disappointed. Your thoughts are racing. You want the best for Hammoud, but why hasn’t someone stepped forward and demanded that an anti-bullying program be implemented? After a few hours your perspective changes. You remember a lecture you attended recently where the emphasis was on taking responsibility. You realize this is definitely one of those instances.
You do some research and find out that an anti-bullying program needs to have certain elements:
1/ a well thought-out plan
2/ a centered goal
3/ parent, teacher and administrative involvement
4/ a strong leader/organizer to coordinate the effort
The next day you make some phone calls and send some e-mails to some of the
This school has an excellent anti-bullying program
other parents you know from the school explaining your plan to set up an anti-bullying program. You google a woman you heard on the radio who is responsible for bullying prevention in her area of the province. Before long, you have another parent to co-chair the committee with you and you’ve mustered up a team of seven parent volunteers to help out. The school is on-board and they have volunteered to have two teachers and the Principal sit on the committee as well. The school has even found a budget of $500.00 to contribute.
Two months later, you think back to that day when Hammoud came home from school with the devastated look on his face. You can’t believe how much has happened since then. Hammoud is now much happier in school. He’s not having problems with Jason any more, and his self-esteem has returned. You have a binder containing records of more than 45 calls and e-mails from inquiries and people offering to lend support. You are now in a position to help others start anti-bullying programs at their schools.
Although the above story is ficticious, you can learn from the example of the parents’ situation. Practically anyone can set up an anti-bullying program. It takes courage, determination and most of all, action. Plenty of action is what makes anything happen, but you can definitely make a difference in your school community by stepping out and organizing an effective school anti-bullying program.
School anti bullying programs can make a profound impact on their audience. An antibullying program can be a one day initiative in the form of a theme-based assembly. Anti bullying programs can also be a series of events to raise awareness of bullying prevention in your school. An anti-bullying program is an initiative of some type that raises awareness of the topic. By the time you have finished reading this blog post, you will know exactly why your school will benefit from having anti bullying programs. 1/ Liability
Can you imagine how a parent of a child would feel if their child ends their life as a result of a bullying situation at your school? Any one of us would be devastated. One of the first questions asked is, “What anti-bullying initiatives had the school undertaken in the past few months or so?” Make sure the answer to that question is, “Yes, within the past year we have been active with this specific anti bullying program.” Did we do the program just because of liability issues? No, of course not, but the fact is that liability is a real issue in today’s society. 2/ Momentum
Energy packed school anti bullying programs encourage student participation and will help the student population gain momentum toward action. They will identify the need within their student body for bullying prevention efforts. They will be motivated to act on that need so that they can make a difference with their classmates and in their school community. 3/ Perception
Perception is reality. Have you ever heard this phrase? Students, staff and parents must believe that your school cares about bullying prevention within its walls. Your school may have great initiatives in place to deal with bullying, but if the general perception is that bullying is not a priority, then as a teacher or administrator, you are going to have a difficult time changing that perception without having anti bullying programs in place. 4/ Focus
Do you sometimes feel like your school is lacking focus or direction? Many times students, teachers and parents can have this same feeling. Bullying prevention must be a central initiative. After all, bullying is conveyed by the press as being a major issue, and as an educator or student, you know that it is a major issue. Students, staff, administrators and parents must all be focused on the topic of bullying in order to make a change to the culture. They are many ways to create focus, but one powerful way is to have meaningful anti bullying programs in place which will bring to the forefront the importance of this major issue. 5/ Cooperation You will be amazed at the effect of one single powerful anti bullying program. If done properly, students will begin to see a need for cooperation and they will start to work together to create a sense of community. Cooperation is a goal schools are constantly striving for, and the best way to achieve it is to motive students and staff by helping them understand that they can make a difference.
These are only five reasons why your school needs to have anti bullying programs in place.
Contact ‘Stand Up Now Productions’ at www.standupnow.ca to find out more about our school anti bullying programs.
Anger can often lead to problems which may include violence, bullying or even just frustration. Learn to harness your anger with these 5 basic tips:
Try to figure out why you’re angry. Did somebody say something that really ticked you off? Did someone tease you? Did someone take their anger out on you? If you can answer these questions you may realize you don’t even have a reason to be angry.
Release your anger gradually. Get in touch with your own feelings so you know how you can release your own anger. Go out for a jog. Go for a swim. Workout at the gym. Do something creative. Shoot some hoops. Play the piano. You get the idea. Do something that will help you unwind.
Ask for help. Talk with a friend about your frustrations until you feel better. Spend time with your counselor unloading your frustrations. Sit down and look your web cam in the lens and make a video, talking about how you feel. Watch that video and experience your mood begin to change.
Think about someone you can help. The world is full of people who need a hand. Think of someone who is having a rough time right now. Are they experiencing cyber-bullying or workplace bullying? You can do something to help them. Think of what it is and get to work. This is one of the best ways to beat anger and frustration.
Get totally relaxed. Slow down your thought process and start thinking the most peaceful thoughts you possibly can imagine. Put on a relaxing CD. Close your eyes take deep breaths. Imagine the most relaxing place you could possibly be. Maybe it’s the beach with the sound of gentle waves in the background. It could be a grassy meadow with the breeze blowing through your hair. Feel the tension leave your body. Simply allow your body to completely unwind.
I just talked to a 10-year-old boy who told me he is immune to mean comments, teasing and also bullying.
I asked him to explain.
He told me that he just doesn’t let the comment or teasing register in his brain. He just ignores it. He said it is just a natural thing and it isn’t even hard to do.
I asked him, “how long have you had this ability?”
Him: “About one and a half or two years.”
Me: Do you realize that this might mean that you will never be bullied because you will never think of meanness as bullying?
Him: “Yes, I realize that. I think that’s a really good thing.”
Me: “How does this make you feel now that you know that you have this ability?”
Him: “I think it is kind of a super-hero-like power really.”
Me: Yes, I can see that it might be.
Him: Just the other day some kids were saying some mean stuff to me and I didn’t even care.
Me: Do you think they were trying to bully you?
Him: Maybe, but I’m not sure. They just stopped because I didn’t give them a reaction.
Me: Do you think there are very many other people with this power you are describing?
Him: I don’t know anyone else.
Me: Do you think other people could develop this power, or is it only reserved for certain people?
Him: I think there are a few people that could do it, but I think most people can’t.
Me: What do you think a bully would do if they knew you had this super-power?
Him: Leave me alone.
Me: Do you think you have any other super powers?
Him: (Thoughtfully) I’m not sure, maybe.
I have never talked to someone who described themselves as being immune to mean remarks and bullying before. I think this is quite interesting. If you have any comments, I would be pleased if you would share them in the comment box. Thanks.
Bruce Langford, Anti-bullying advocate and school presenter www.standupnow.ca
The bullying prevention advice we learned at Cardinal Newman is: Be yourself, let your energy spill out. Celebrate life, be kind and fill your life with respect.
You see, the students at Cardinal Newman live the advice you read above. They are filled with energy, they celebrate day-to-day life and they understand the concept of respect.
We will remember the Cardinal Newman spirit and energy we experienced today for a very long time.
It is our hope that the students of Cardinal Newman will remember the bullying prevention strategies we taught today for as long as we remember their energy.
Daytime presentations were ‘Stand Up Against Bullying’ and ‘Stand Up For Respect’. The evening parent student bullying prevention presentation was called ‘Stand Up – Keep Your Kids’. Seventy one families attended and enjoyed outstanding pre-show entertainment by the Cardinal Newman Iron Joan group mentored by students from the Sheridan College Police Foundations program. We were dazzled by the confidence shown by the Iron Joan team. The Sheridan College Police Foundations students who mentored the children at Cardinal Newman were extremely proud of the confidence and skill exhibited by their students.
Cardinal Newman student council also did an amazing anti-bullying presentation. This anti-bullying parent/student program presented by Bruce Langford was made possible by the Ontario Government’s Parent Reaching Out Grant (PRO) available to school parent groups across Ontario.