Tag Archives: bruce langford

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.

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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.

How to use respect activities to change your school climate

How can we truly change the climate in our school? Can we actually re-form opinions that students and staff possess? Is there a way we can change a negative or mean-spirited school climate into one where cooperation, kindness and consideration abound? Can respect activities actually make a positive difference?

St. Sofia offers Respect Activities

Many Respect Activities at St. Sofia School

The short answer is yes; these kinds of changes can be made. In fact there are schools in our own jurisdictions that prove this fact. Attempting to define the actual system or step by step list of procedures to achieve these goals could be a challenge, but it is safe to say that some basic respect activities can go a long way toward making a difference. Here are some tips to get started.

First of all we must define what we are actually trying to achieve. Many people would agree that we are trying to achieve a climate of respect within the walls of the school. In my opinion respect must start from the top and sift its way down. If the administration, including all the teachers, all support staff and even custodial staff live respect in their day-to-day work at the school, then others will begin to take notice. By others I mean students and even any parents that may be in the school. Many teachers use model respect to their students daily and many teachers use specific respect activities in their classrooms in their day-to-day teaching  and have done it for years.

If your older students in the school show respect to each other, younger students will definitely begin to take notice. As younger kids began to learn from their older role models, they will begin to see respect as the norm. Situations and incidences which do not show respect will begin to be seen as highly unusual and unacceptable. All of these steps, of course, take time to initiate. In some schools it may take months, others may take years, while still others could possibly take decades in order to make these kinds of profound changes.

There are a number of tools which can help speed up this change so the transition can begin to take place sooner. The following activities will help to grow respect and to compound the effects:

1/ Form a student group which focuses completely on posters, announcement reminders, and other methods of awareness to help remind students and staff about the goal of achieving respect.

2/ Run special spirit days throughout the year which will help you get people on board in a fun way. Examples are: pink shirt stand up for respect day, be kind to someone day, pass on a smile day or respect activities workshop day.

3/ Special assemblies can also be a great way to help lift the spirits of the student body, and get everyone working in the same direction.

The above ideas for respect activities are only starters, but once you begin, I believe you will be moving toward a most worthwhile destination — achieving a climate of true respect in your school.

Bruce Langford presents anti-bullying and respect workshops internationally. www.StandUpForRespect.com 

 

Can You Name 5 Reasons For Being Honest?

When dealing with bullying, you will find that the issue of honesty often comes to the surface. It is important to be honest, and I emphasize this with students in presentations everywhere. But what is an actual, real-life reason for being honest?

Here are five specific reasons for honesty:

1/ ReputationHonesty is one of the most important ways to build a solid reputation. It is a key element in almost everyone’s mind as to whether a person is desirable. If you are choosing a friend, would your first choice be someone you knew was completely honest, or someone whose honesty was questionable? The answer is obvious. Protect your reputation by being honest. That reputation will be with you for a very long time.

2/  Peace Of Mind — there is and gnawing feeling inside you when you say something that is not true. That feeling can remain for a very long time, and it can be more uncomfortable than many people realize. When you tell an untruth you may think that you can simply move on, but the fact is that your subconscious mind remembers you have told something which is untrue. Have you ever heard the expression, ‘that is something that really eats away at me?’ That’s what dishonesty can do. Subconsciously it can do harm over time. If you take a vow of honesty, you will be rewarded in your life. You will have an inner peace which will give you great comfort.

 

3/ Relationships — honesty can solidify a friendship or family connection and build the feeling of confidence that you have with the other person or people in your relationships. Whether we are talking about relationships of family, marriage, business, education, or religion, honesty is a vital part of those relationships. Honesty can create an environment where a relationship of any kind will flourish.

 

4/ Health And Well-Being — honesty can free us from guilt, worry, and other forms of psychological stresses. Dishonesty can cause many psychological problems, therefore it only makes sense that honesty can result in excellent mental health. There is a feeling of peace and calm that results from saying the right things, being honest, and living a life of integrity. We simply feel better when we are honest.

 5/ Being Genuine — after presenting hundreds of shows to children, one commonality that comes to mind is the answer to the question I often ask; “how do you make good friends and keep them“. The answer that comes from students time after time is simply two words; “be yourself”. If children see ‘being yourself’ as such an important aspect of relationships and friendships then it is obviously very important to be genuine. How do you be a genuine person without being honest? Of course the answer is… it would be impossible. To be genuine, you absolutely must be honest. So remember, be yourself, be genuine and most of all be honest.

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate and school speaker & presenter on all topics related to bullying.  www.standupnow.ca

 

Learn How Self-Regulation and Bullying are Directly Related

Mississauga Living Arts CentreI am returning from an excellent conference on self-regulation by Stuart Shankar and Jane Bertrand of York University in Toronto, held at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre and sponsored by the Peel Region District School Board. This was the twenty-fourth annual school psychology conference which the PSB has sponsored.
Self-regulation is closely related to the topic of bullying. Self-regulation is about stress and about identifying stressors so you can do something about them. Replace them or change something so that you are no longer stressed. Dr. Shankar emphasized that self-regulation is NOT self-control; it is what makes self-control possible.

Question: How does a child get self-regulated?
Answer: A child gets self-regulated by being regulated.

As teachers, we want our children to be calm so they will be focused and alert. Dr. Shankar really helped me to understand how stressors can affect children and youth negatively and as a result they can have a tough time learning or even functioning in a classroom.
Shankar and Bertrand presented the Five Domains of Self-Regulation. They are: 1/ Arousal Regulation (Physiological)
2/ Emotion
3/ Cognitive
4/ Social
5/ Pro-social

The above five self-regulation domains are all related. One level affects another. People are hyper or hypo sensitive to many things such as bright lighting, visual stimulation or auditory distractions. Auditory distractions are the single greatest stressor so it is important to consider ambient noise, chair clatter and bells or buzzers. These can all have a negative effect on students and their ability to cope in the classroom or their ability to learn effectively.

One segment of the presentation dealt with the teen brain. In teenage years, the brain is driven into cycles of restlessness and exhaustion and in most cases teens are not able to identify their own state of arousal. In other words, they may not realize they are tired or be able to recognize some of their other body states.
Here are the 6 Stages of Arousal as described by Dr. Shankar:
1/ Asleep 2/ Drowsy 3/ Hypo-alert 4/ Calmly focused & alert 5/ Hyper-alert 6/ Flooded
If a teen is constantly being stimulated (for example with TV or video games or skateboarding etc.), then they may be headed for difficulties unless they have a good level of awareness of their own bodies. Teens are natural risk-takers because of the state of the teenage brain, but we need to understand that planful risk-taking is much less likely to get a teen into trouble. Shankar says we need to teach teens their six levels of awareness so they can learn self-regulation.

Jane Bertrand taught us seven keys to a self-regulated classroom. They are:
1/ Classroom makeover (pastel walls with little clutter)
2/ Alert programme
3/ Exercise breaks
4/ Fidgit toys
5/ Playing with clay or modeling medium
6/ Womb room (Snoezelen room)
7/ Yoga

So much fascinating information on the brain and self-regulation. Thanks to you both, Stuart Shanker and Jane Bertrand and to the Peel School Board for sponsoring the event.

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate who presents bullying prevention workshops in Toronto, Mississauga, North York, Kitchener and London Ontario. www.standupnow.ca telephone: 905-233-2102

Are You Immune to Bullying? Learn about Someone who Is.

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 
905-233-2102

Earth Day reminds us to consider what matters around us

Be willing to speak up in support of maintaining nature’s systems that make our earth so magnificent.  Treat the earth with consideration.
Do your part every day to make the earth a better place.

EARTH DAY is a day to consider the gift our earth gives us
including clean air to breathe and fresh water to enjoy.

We must preserve these gifts by all working together to maintain the natural resources the earth provides.

We must also work together to keep our relationships on track and
to maintain feelings of appreciation and thoughtfulness. Speak up when
something needs to be said. See a little of yourself in others and you will be
more understanding and sensitive to their needs. Doing these things will help to
keep your relationships filled with respect. Bit by bit the concept of bullying will become even more abhorrent than it already is. Beat bullying by building respect and living it everyday just as we celebrate Earth Day by showing respect to our planet.

Bruce Langford, bullying prevention advocate www.brucelangford.ca