From a recent email to me from my district's Director
of the Bullying and Harassment Policy:
"As we discussed, while I applaud your passion and commitment to creating a safe
learning environment for students through Miami-Dade County Public Schools, I appreciate you understanding that you are not
the spokesperson for the programs and policies related to bullying in our District. My office has this responsibility."
I must note that, in addition to some indignation at my district's continued....what? disrespect? bullying? lying?....I am
also mirthful inside. That mirth saves me. That mirth--and the knowledge that I do this work and "press these
buttons", not to annoy "people in charge", but to simply point out that what we are doing is NOT WORKING. It's
not working because we do not have real and true and committed leadership on the issue of bullying PREVENTION. We do,
indeed, (and this is where the mirth comes in) have real and true and committed leadership on the issue of BULLYING (as stated
in the email I recently received from my district's director of the bullying and harassment policy).
Even this email high-lights
the perceptual problem of bullying and its prevention. Our policies are focused on acts of bullying and harassment and
what we do-not to prevent them from happening-- but what to do once they happen.
That's ineffective. That doesn't work.
what works: The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. It works. We all know that. We all know that it is evidence
based. We all know that it meets the nation's highest standards as a violence prevention initiative. We all know
that, if done right, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program transforms schools from places of disrespect into places of respect.
all know that if done really, REALLY, right....the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program transforms entire school districts.
we all know that if we get that right--yeah, get that "spot-on" RIGHT--we can transform communities.
ever there were a time to get this "spot-on" really, REALLY right, it's NOW.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention
Program holds adults in school districts as primarily responsible for being the foundation from which successful programs
launch. Adults in schools who work directly with children,have to demonstrate respect and inclusiveness and openness
and warmth. Adults must smile and greet and make eye contact with each other and with kids and with parents. When they
don't; when they roll their eyes or say something "slick"--and not one of us is perfect--adults have to have the
courage to say to a child, or to a colleague, "Hey, I'm sorry."
Adults in offices "far, far away"--superintendents
and directors of "thises and thats"-- must acknowledge all emails from adults working for them. Let
me write that again. All emails must be answered.
Those superintendents and directors also must have the
courage to say to those of us working in schools, "Hey, We're sorry."
So, I am not "THE spokesperson for programs and policies
related to bullying in our District [sic]." But I certainly was THE spokesperson for Olweus and A spokesperson
for bullying PREVENTION when I spoke with the Broad Prize interviewers.
Thank God for the mirth. Thank God, too, for the
am not sorry for either.