A Piece Full World

Kemp Mill Elementary School

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Kemp Mill ES plaintiffs settle. Read the Washington Post story by clicking here.

The Kemp Mill Elementary School case. Click here to read.

I keep making connections with what I have learned through my Olweus and Workplace Bullying trainings and my and your experiences. Here’s the latest connection from this morning:

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program’s Bullying Circle is used to identify roles bystander children take on in bullying situations. Almost always the bullying student and the bulied student are our focus when the real secret to bullying PREVENTION for children is through the bystanders. We need to empower the bystanders to help targets.

In presentations I say this: there are two pieces to the “magic” of bullying prevention. The first piece of the magic–and the piece that must be in place before the other “magical” piece can work–is that the adults in schools must be seen by children as caring people who really will and can effectively help bullied targeted children. If that piece is in place then more and more of our “bystander children” will DO SOMETHING instead of acting as if they don’t see it. They, the bystanders–at least the ones who inside really don’t like to see someone getting picked on–will begin to report it to one of their many caring adults or simply say “STOP. That’s not nice. STOP. That’s not fair. Stop. That’s not true.”

That “magic” is true for us, adult bystanders, too. If the leaders of our districts were seen by us as caring people who really will help the bullied adult targets in schools, then more and more of the adult bystanders will help out.

Bystanders–children and adults– see the bullying, don’t like it, know it isn’t fair and want to do
SOMETHING…but they don’t because it isn’t safe. It feels safer to hide and worry about who the next target will be. Feels safer to align with the abusive and bullying principal.

Effective bullying prevention in schools is really not magic. It’s hardwork. It’s commitment. It’s true caring.

All we have now from our school districts, it seems, is hollow lip service to its importance.

No wonder we are in such a mess.

Kim Werner