Friday, November 16, 2012

What is Cyber Bullying?

The National Crime Prevention Council's definition of cyber-bullying is "when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.”  This is a growing problem on social media websites such as Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, Twitter, or Instagram.  Offenses from student to student, or student to adult committed electronically can have the same consequence as bullying done in person.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What is Bullying and What Do We Do About It?

Bullying is something we hear and read a lot about, but the term is used very loosely.  What exactly is bullying and what steps do we take as a middle school to address the issue once we are made aware?

Bullying Defined

At its essence bullying is when one or more people repeatedly harm, harass, intimidate, or exclude others. Bullying is also one-sided.

 Bullying Accusation Process

1.     Once a report of bullying has been made, the counselors are asked to speak with the students involved to determine if bullying is truly taking place.  In instances where charges of bullying are the result of a two-sided disagreement, mediation is done and conflict management strategies are discussed.

2.     If bullying is happening, the counselors review the consequences of what will happen if the problem continues in an effort to change behavior.  Four out of five times this resolves the situation.  Counselors also periodically check in with the student being bullied to make sure the problem is resolved.  Records are kept to see repeat offenders and patterns of behavior.

3.     If the bully continues, the appropriate grade level administrator is involved.  Administrators determine the appropriate consequence based on the severity of offense, previous behaviors, and actions taken up to this point.

Bullying Consequences
  1. In-School Suspension
  2. Out of School Suspension
  3. Expulsion
Bullying Bystander Strategies

1.     Distract the person who is teasing or bullying someone else.
2.     Support the person who is being teased or bullied privately.
3.     Discourage teasing or bullying behavior by not joining in.
4.     Support the person who is being teased or bullied openly.
5.     Report bullying behavior to an adult for help and support.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers

Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers tells the stories of a number of children at a suburban middle school in Columbia, Maryland.  Washington Post education reporter Linda Perlstein spent a year observing the lives both at home and at school of these eleven- to thirteen-year-olds, and manages to convey their rapidly changing thoughts and feelings.  Some of them come from two-parent families where they receive a great deal of encouragement along with pressure to succeed.  Other children come from homes with divorced parents and less consistent nurturing.  They live in a materialistic culture and they experience a wide variety of temptations and images, often making them want to behave like high school students.  It is common these days to hear of middle school students engaging in sexual activity, drinking, taking drugs, and even getting pregnant, and most adults find such reports disturbing.  So Perlstein's attempt to shed light on what leads these children to act so differently from middle school students of previous generations deserves attention. 

Reprinted from