Jenny Castor, Denver ABC-TV station KMGH-TV, video journalist reports on a program to stop school bullies that is actually effective, “Students Learn Anti-Bullying Skills Starting In Kindergarten.” The accompanying video shows training to help “Young Students Exercise Ways To Defuse Mean Encounter With Potential Bully.” The driving forces behind the program at Most Precious Blood Catholic School are the principal, Colleen McManamon and assistant principal, Roxie Mountain-Weed. While the program is based on standard offerings, they and their teachers and staff are the difference that makes the difference.
Notice these features in what they do:
- The program is fun for the kids.
- The kids learn how to keep their sense of confidence, strength and self-esteem while they practice responses to sarcasm, taunting, teasing, put-downs and harassment.
- Kids learn how to help each other resist and report bullying. Witnesses really witness; they don’t become bystanders.
- Parents must be involved. For example, there are mother daughter evenings to overcome the “Mean Mom; Mean Daughter” syndrome.
The training and participation side of the program decreases bullying by a huge amount. A critical factor, usually not mentioned, is that both Colleen and Roxie and their staff stop bullies in their tracks immediately and get their parents involved. I’ve met Colleen and Roxie; they’re wonderful, joyous and formidable. Unlike what happens at others schools mentioned in the Channel 7 “Stop Bullying” series, in this successful program, targets are not made into victims while the bullies are ignored and enabled.
Don’t waste your time with nit-picky detractors and critics who have nothing better to offer. Some people will say that they can only do this because Most Precious Blood is a private school or that the program takes too much money or that other school principals and staff don’t have the time. Nonsense.
Look at the price to all kids at a school where bullying is tolerated or condoned, or the friends of bullies are allowed to pile on to victims by threatening and abusing them or by cyberbullying. We all know the consequences of not stopping bullies and of allowing them continued contact with their targets, the bullying and violence will increase.
At schools that have a do-nothing principal or in which principals blame the victim; avoid the bully,” kids’ inner strength, courage, determination, perseverance, resilience are threatened. You have to be the one to demand that principals keep your children safe while officials try to ignore you or thwart your attempts.
Principals who avoid the issue make the targeted children feel helpless and that their situation is hopeless. It starts them down the path to being victims for life. It destroys self-confidence and self-esteem. It stimulates anxiety, stress, guilt, negativity and self-mutilation. It starts children toward isolation, depression and suicide.
Of course, even when principals are cowards or are reluctant to protect your children, you can still protect them yourself.
Remember, all tactics depend on the situation – the people and the circumstances. So we must plan tactics that are appropriate to us and to the situation.
If your children are the targets of bullies and school officials who aren’t protecting them, you need to take charge. With expert coaching and consulting, we can become strong and skilled enough to overcome principals and other officials who won’t do what’s right.
“How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids,” have many examples of children and adults commanding themselves and then stopping bullies. For more personalized coaching call me at 877-8Bullies (877-828-5543).