Showing posts with label Bullying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullying. Show all posts

Thursday, February 10, 2011

US Education Department Push For Bullying Initiatives

The Obama administration and the Education Department have set their focus on promoting initiatives aimed at combating bullying in schools. The administration’s efforts were ignited by a 10-page “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights advising school officials they are required under federal law to stop discriminatory behavior.

In the letter, Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, wrote, “Some student misconduct that falls under a school’s anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights.

“Student misconduct could trigger action under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which targets discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans discrimination based on sex,” Ali said.

The Education Department is collecting “best practices” for anti-bullying efforts and the White House is planning to host a conference this year to raise awareness of the issue.

Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We Simply Must Get A Handle On This...

I posted this video for KidsTerrain. It is a remarkable story of courage. Share the message...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bullying Legislation, At Last…*

A comprehensive anti-bullying legislation is, at last, law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is now, however, up to the schools, the parents, and the kids themselves to take all the necessary steps to eliminate bullying from our schools, our streets, and cyberspace.

I’ve written numerous blogs on this topic, beginning with the 2006 suicide of Megan Meier, who hanged herself three weeks before her fourteenth birthday. It took more than a year of prodding and prompting by Meier’s parents to get an investigation into the matter. Megan’s suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website MySpace. Lori Drew, the mother of a classmate of Meier, was later indicted in 2008. But in 2009, Mrs. Drew was acquitted on the basis that there “are no laws making the cyber-bullying, harassment and abusive actions” of Mrs. Drew a felony.

In 2009, 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover was found by his mother hanging by an extension cord on the second floor of their Springfield, MA home. The boy had been bullied and taunted daily at school, yet despite the pleases of his mother, nothing worthwhile was done to prevent this from continuing to happen to the boy.

The last straw seems to have been the suicide of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley, MA. Her death prompted a vociferous call for action. Four months later, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the new legislation (one, I might add, with some teeth), includes anti-bullying initiatives in student handbooks, classroom instruction, and strict new rules for reporting incidents of bullying. The law includes:

  • training adults on how to identify, prevent, and manage incidents of bullying
  • new reporting requirements for all school staff to “fully and swiftly detail any instance of bullying or retaliation to the appropriate school official”
  • directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish statewide academic standards that include instruction in bullying prevention and requires schools to provide age-appropriate instruction on bullying prevention

Each school district is also required to provide targeted professional development to all teachers, administrators, athletic coaches, bus drivers, and custodians on the prevention, identification, and appropriate response to bullying incidents.

Will all this help? While laws will not stamp out bullying altogether (we need only look at the vast majority of laws continuously broken to know this to be true), laws can reduce drastically the number of incidences and give victims of bullying much needed protections.

Have a joyful day everyone. - Rita
Visit my website at

*Written for Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wake Up, America, Our Kids Are Dying...

A couple of nights ago I was awakened at 3:45 a.m. by a torrential rainstorm. After the intense thunder and lightening subsided, and still unable to get back to sleep, I turned on the television and began flipping through the channels. That mindless activity halted when my ears pricked up upon hearing an unfamiliar word: bullycide. Understanding instantly what the word meant — suicide as a result of bullying — I grabbed my eyeglasses so that I could watch the news report.

Later in the day, I spent a few hours researching the Internet for bullycide stories. Actually, when you Google "bullycide stories," the result reads "about 26,100 for bullycide stories." Eventually, I ended up on You Tube. I still get goosebumps thinking about the plethora of videos I discovered there. I’d like to bring two of the videos to your attention.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Workplace Bullying: The Silent Epidemic

Workplace bullying refers to persistent aggressive or unreasonable actions of a person (or group of people) towards an employee (or group of employees). Bullying behavior is that which intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates a worker. The behavior may be inflicted verbally, nonverbally, psychologically, or physically.

The Workplace Bullying Institute* just released its Labor Day 2008 Survey “How Employers & Co-Workers Respond to Workplace Bullying.”

The WBI study surveyed two separate 400-person respondent groups. The participants visited the WBI web site and completed one or both of the surveys, asking about either their employers’ responses to bullying, or asking what co-workers did.

The question posed: At work, have you experienced any or all of the following types of repeated mistreatment: sabotage by others that prevented work from getting done, verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation or humiliation?

I found the results to be astounding.

Question: When the employer was told about the bullying, what did the employer do?

* 1.7% - conducted fair investigation and protected target from further bullying with negative consequences for the bully
* 6.2% - conducted fair investigation with negative consequences for the bully but no safety for the target
* 8.7% - inadequate/unfair investigation; no consequences for bully or target
* 31% - inadequate/unfair investigation; no consequences for bully but target was retaliated against
* 12.8% - employer did nothing, ignored the complaint; no consequences for bully or target
* 15.7%- employer did nothing; target was retaliated against for reporting the bullying but kept job
* 24% - employer did nothing; target was retaliated against and eventually lost job

Bullied workers reported that a majority of employers (53%) did nothing to stop the mistreatment when reported and many (in 71% of cases) retaliated against the person who dared to report it.

In 40% of cases, targets considered the employer’s “investigation” to be inadequate or unfair with less than 2% of investigations described as fair and safe for the bullied person. Filing complaints led to retaliation by employers of bullied targets leading to lost jobs (24%). Alleged bullies were punished in only 6.2% of cases; bullying is done with impunity.

When asked: Bully’s rank relative to the targeted person:
7.6% Bully ranked lower than the targeted individual
18.7% Bully was a co-worker, colleague, a peer of the targeted individual
73.6% Bully ranked above the target by one or more levels in the organization

Additional facts from the Employers’ Response study:

* 95% of respondents were self-described targets of bullying (past or current)
* 59% of the bullies were women; 80% of targets were women
* 74% Bully enlisted others sometimes or always; 26% Bully worked alone

For more information on workplace bullying, visit our resources page “Let’s Talk About…”™ and view our webinar, Bullying In the Workplace.

*© 2008, Workplace Bullying Institute,

(Originally posted to