Thanks Steven for your recent article (excerpt below), focused on practical interventions for reducing bullying incidents among kids and teens. Two of the suggested interventions resonated strongly with the work we do at Sprigeo: Empowering teens and reporting instances of bullying. Teens have the ability to change the culture at their schools. Although adults can support change and a bully-free environment, interactions between teens occur moment to moment, and often unnoticed by school staff. The Sprigeo Heroes Project celebrates kids and teens who have changed their school culture through direct action.
Reporting incidents of bullying empowers kids and teens. Anonymous bully boxes and lengthy paper and pencil reporting forms do little to encourage reporting. Reporters fear retaliation resulting from their reports. Providing youth with a safe way to report incidents anonymously has been proven to increase the number of reported incidents. Without the knowledge of who can report a bullying incident, students are held accountable for their behavior. The online reporting form at Sprigeo gives youth a safe way to report bullying incidents. Schools using Sprigeo have reported a lower number of bullying incidents.
by Steven Gerali – Jul. 8, 2012 07:02 PM
The issue of bullying weighs heavily on the public consciousness, having evolved into something much darker and more menacing than bullying of past generations.
The Columbine massacre, when two students who had been bullied for years killed 13 and wounded 24 before taking their own lives, served as a wake-up call. Forty-nine states have introduced anti-bullying laws, and the White House held a conference on bullying last year. The release of the documentary “Bully” has kept the issue front and center.
Consider these interventions:
Empower teens to put an abrupt end to bullying by getting between the bully and the victim. Taking a stand may encourage other students to stand, too.
Teach kids to befriend classmates who seem vulnerable to bullies. Walk with them to and from school. Sit down with students who eat lunch alone. On their own, they live in constant dread of the next attack. With a friend, the real and perceived risks recede dramatically.
Recognize and report instances of bullying. Pay close attention to kids who seem to be alone all the time, who suddenly retreat from the social scene, whose grades and health plummet or who verbalize a desire to retaliate. Be watchful for kids who appear aggressive or attention-seeking, have little regard for rules, and dominate and demean others.