Category Archives: Anti Bullying Programs

Attend an amazing bullying prevention conference by PREVnet

Prevnet Bullying Prevention ConferenceYesterday I attended the annual anti-bullying conference in Toronto sponsored by PREVnet. The theme of this years’ conference was “creating healthy relationships to prevent bullying: get the tools to take action”. This years’ conference was the sixth annual anti-bullying conference put on by PREVnet. Dr. Wendy Craig (Queen’s University) and Dr. Deborah Pepler (York University) offered the welcoming address followed by a performance of “You Bullying Prevention Conference Toronto 2012know what I wanted next order to Have the Power” by Disney performer Jasmine Richards. Her performance included an excellent video to support the lyrics of the song.

The keynote address was called “Sex, Gender and Schools Oh My!” Presented by Ken Jeffers, co-ordinator, gender-based violence prevention, Toronto District School Board.
Ken Jeffers talked about changing school climates using rules and consequences to change individual actions. He talked about the umbrella of oppression which includes sexism and homophobia. One of Ken Jeffers points was that gender and biological sex is often assumed to be the same, even though this is sometimes far from the truth. He talked about Bill 13 and the media frenzy which has gone along with it as well as Bill 157, the education amendment act from 2009. What do you Ken concluded his presentation with the statement that “the number one key to success is our students”.

Bonnie Leadbeater, of Victoria British Columbia, spoke about making a WITS Bullying Prevention Conferencedifference in your community by becoming a WITS community leader.

Wits stands for :
Walk Away
Ignore
Talk It Out
Seek Help

These four pieces of advice are recommended for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.

Children in grades 4-8 are encouraged to solve problems by using the LEADS acronym:
Look and Listen
Explore Points of View
Act
Did It Work?
Seek Help

Dr. Shelley Hymel, from the university of British Columbia spoke about Social and Emotional Learning in Schools. Traditionally, schools have focused on cognitive development and academic achievement yet recent students are indicating that social and emotional growth have a more important role than previously believed.
Her talk was detailed and informative and we learned specific ways to nurture Social Emotional Learning (SEL) such as using books as discussion starters and encouraging cooperative learning in the classroom.
Dr. Hymel also pointed out that punitive discipline is often much less effective than restorative discipline. She told us about an excellent system of discipline called Restitution Self-Discipline, developed by Diane Gossen of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I will definitely be checking out Diane’s material.

Justin W. Patchin, PH. D. from the University of Wisconsin’s Cyberbullying Research Center was also an excellent speaker I had the opportunity to hear.
His presentation covered how young people use and misuse technology to sometimes cause harm to their peers. He discussed the role of teens and adults in preventing and responding to inappropriate online behaviours as well as strategies to use to make sure technology is used safely and responsibly.  He talked about Toronto area student, David Knight and how difficult it was for his family to have an inappropriate website taken down. Dr. Patchin told us that lack of supervision of youth on-line causes many problems, as well as parents allowing children to have internet enabled computers in their bedrooms.
He said many schools treat cell phones like underwear: we know it’s there, but we just don’t want to see it.
Dr. Patchin’s talk was informative, easy to follow and included a large amount of up-to-date information about young people use of the internet and cell phones.

The 2012 PREVnet conference was once again an excellent opportunity to learn about recent research which has taken place on the topic of bullying prevention.

Thanks PREVnet!

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate from Ontario, Canada.
www.brucelangford.ca

My school has no anti-bullying program

school bullying programSo 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

Anti-bullying program

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.

PRO Grant Education Subsidies Boost School Bullying Prevention Efforts

Pro Grant Education SubsidiesEducation Subsidies are available to assist with the costs of bullying prevention programs which can be featured in your school. Parent Council groups in Ontario often have education subsidies available to them in the form of parent reaching out grants, otherwise known as PRO Grants. Pro Grants can be used for purposes that benefit the whole school and particularly parents. What could be more beneficial to parents in the school, than events and activities to help them learn how to deal with bullying that may involve their children? Schools today teach children how to deal with bullying and most schools feature programs, activities, and curriculum-based learning all geared toward teaching children bullying reduction strategies. Up to now, one of the missing links has often been the parent piece. Parents need to be on the same page as children when it comes to bullying prevention. What are some of the things parents need to know?

1/ Cyber-bullying guidance

2/ How to be proactive & prevent bullying

3/ How to guide children in case bullying incidents occur

Cyber-bullying guidance:
When we present our parent programs in schools, one of the first things we point out is related to internet safety. Parents need to be aware that the computer at home should be located in a central place where everyone goes like the kitchen or family room. Young children should grow up with the idea that Internet usage should be open, and freely shared with each other. It should not be a secretive activity. Another thing we point out is how to provide guidance to children if they do run into a problem online. We need to help our children remain open and trusting, so that if something happens online which is negative, they will share it with us as parents. Keeping communication as open as possible when he children are young is a great first step to helping them when they are older.

How to be proactive and prevent bullying:
Teach your children to walk with confidence. Help your child build strong self-esteem so that they will be sending the message to others, that they are not available as a bullying target. Teach your children to report bullying. Help your children understand that after school it is important to share what has happened during the days’ events. If children get used to sharing their daily activities with family when they are young, there is a much higher chance that they will continue to feel free to share when they are older. Studies have shown that problems occur in children who try to keep all of their frustrations inside.

How to guide children in case of bullying incidents:
If a bullying incident happens, step in immediately to stop the behavior from continuing. Be clear about the facts and understand the difference being telling and tattling. Consult with the teacher, vice-principal or principal. Remain calm, keep an open mind and be discreet. If things don’t improve, meet with the principal again and make a written plan. Be sure to contact police if a bullying incident involves criminal behavior such as sexual assault or the use of a weapon. Check with your school to see if education subsidies have been used to sponsor parent workshops on bullying prevention.

Pro Grants are worthwhile education subsidies that have made many anti-bullying activities a reality in Ontario schools. Parents have told us on numerous occasions that they have benefited from workshops and bullying prevention seminars such as our ‘Stand Up – Keep Your Kids’ evening session.

Bruce Langford presents anti-bullying sessions in schools and workplaces to counter bullying and increase respect
www.standupnow.ca.

5 Reasons Why Your School Needs Anti Bullying Programs

anti bullying programsSchool 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.