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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Broad Prize Interview

 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."

 First 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. 


 Here's 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. 

 We all know that if done really, REALLY, right....the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program transforms entire school districts.  

 And we all know that if we get that right--yeah, get that "spot-on" RIGHT--we can transform communities.  

 If 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 indignation. 

 I am not sorry for either.
1:34 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boat Rocking
I often tell others that I am not a "boat rocker."  Here, though, is what I/we face:  not only a reluctance to allow participation of "outside the district titled folk," but an active resistance and blockage to true change.  

 I am sad to tell you that it seems Miami-Dade County Public Schools' (MDCPS) new bosses of its bullying and harassment policy are "cut of the same cloth" as past leadership.  The past director of the bullying and harassment policy of MDCPS  was fired for being an outrageously abusive person.  I did not directly work for her, but because I had become an Olweus trainer through means outside of the district (God at work......God at work), she had to "deal with me."  Instead of saying something like; "Great!  We have an OLWEUS TRAINER!  What a blessing!", she instead came to my office and pretty much told me to "back off."  So, frankly, I was excited that we were going to have new leadership on the pernicious issue of bullying in schools.  I mean, I'd been interviewed by the Broad Prize folk and I spoke of Olweus.  I'd sent  student created surveys and Olweus evaluations to the MDCPS executive team that was putting our "Broad Prize " package together, so I thought to myself, "Hallelujah!  Finally they get it!  Finally they see I am not a threat!  Finally we are going to do what it takes to keep children safe from bullying!"

I am sad to tell you that doesn't seem to be the case.  The following is cut from a recent communications I received from a district "big whig;" someone in my district in charge of keeping children safe from bullying. Seems I am, once again, being told to "back off"....

 "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."

If speaking truth; wanting to help; bringing fresh ideas to a stagnate group; saying "no" to demands to lie by a school leader; soliciting assistance from organizations of influence that simply want to "get in...", well if that is boat rocking, then let's rock the damn thing!

6:18 am edt          Comments

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cinco Lecciones. and email....and beyond....

Union Emails continued....

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: ki@
To: M@
Sent: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 09:37:28 -0000 (UTC)
Subject: Fwd: Important/More/Again/2010


Although I briefly write here, I fully documented this incident from yesterday. A girl was tripped. Last year I mediated a conflict with her and 2 friends. This year the same child came to me. I found out from her that last year she had been called to the principal's office without knowing what it was about. She stated she thought she would receive an award. There she found one of the two girls with whom she was having conflict--and her parents. She states that Mr. O made her apologize and stated if she ever called () a "bitch" again-he would expell her. I told Ms. C. She later told me that Mr. O does not recall the incident.

I believe Mr. O remembers the incident. I also believe he was informed of a website (of which I was not told) last year called something like "People Who Hate (this student)." I have no proof other than Ms. B stating she remembers hearing of it last year. Perhaps Ms. C and Dr. R knew as well. It was inappropriate to bring the child into such an intimidating environment. I worked hard on this issue yesterday. I believe I will be pressured to put bullying codes into the computer.


The tide is turning. I think people are sick of being asked to participate in school districts' "farce dances." I think we are all asking ourselves--I know I am--why are children in ever greater peril from bullying: both perpetrators and targets? Why aren't policies working?

Miami-Dade County Public Schools' "farce dance" is danced with a latin beat. "Uno! Dos! Tres!", 'la prevencion de abuso escolar (bullying) rueda (wheel)' participants/employees cry out as we practice our farce dance steps. We spin and dip. Female dancing employees are passed from male dancing employee to male dancing employee in a fast flurry of quick, exhilarating movements. Our administrative "rueda leader" calls out the steps. He gets irritated when one of us screws up. La rueda must continue...no matter what. Doesn't matter that we are exhausted. Doesn't matter that we just keep going 'round and 'round in ever more complicated movements. It only matters that we keep dancing and that our "prevencion de abuso escolar rueda" looks good.

Here's one of the dance steps with which we are having some difficulty: the "Cinco Lecciones" step. The "Cinco Lecciones" step is causing us some stress. It's really complicated and because many of us are just plain worn out from learning the "La Respuesta a Intervencion (RtI) step, we want to stop. Regroup. Maybe consider a simple line dance step. . "Que sigan!", cries our rueda leader. "Uno! Dos! Tres!" And so we dizzily dip and heartily stomp so that those who have faltered; those who have maybe said, "Cinco lecciones! Por favor! I can't even get one done!", get the message that getting the "cinco lecciones" done is NOT IMPORTANT! The important thing is that WE KEEP DANCING! Even more important is having the dueño, of the studio SEE US DANCING!

"Si, Si!" we exclaim, "We love to dance! Cinco Lecciones is a particular favorite!"

"UNA BRULLA!", we holler in unison. "Uno! Dos! Tres!"

"Uno. Dos. Tres."

"uno, dos, tres......"

We all fall down.

8:03 pm edt          Comments

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Click here for my district's bullying and harassment policy. You will see I have made comments....