New Data Show a Decline in School-based Bullying

New data indicate the first significant decrease in school-based bullying since the federal government began collecting that data in 2005, suggesting that efforts at the federal, state and local levels to prevent bullying may be paying off. According to new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the reported prevalence of bullying among students ages 12 to 18 dropped to 22 percent after remaining stubbornly around 28 percent for the past decade.

“As schools become safer, students are better able to thrive academically and socially,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “The Department, along with our federal partners and others, has been deeply involved in the fight against bullying in our nation’s schools. Even though we’ve come a long way over the past few years in educating the public about the health and educational impacts that bullying can have on students, we still have more work to do to ensure the safety of our nation’s children.”

Full story of decline in school bullying at ed.gov

Here’s The Best Way To Beat A Bully

Six out of 10 teenagers say they witness bullying in school once a day, and 160,000 students miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students, according to bullying statistics.

Bullying is a big problem in America’s schools, and for National Bullying Prevention Month, education groups are trying to inform kids and adults about what they can do to stop bullies.

Popular wisdom often portrayed in movies and TV shows would have you believe that kids should fight back against bullies, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ bullying website says that’s not a good idea.

Here’s their advice:

Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard. If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.

Full story of beating the bully at Business Insider

Bullying in the digital age

Bullying in a Digital AgeLast week, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 396, which seeks to stem “cyberbullying” by criminalizing certain behavior and annoyances. The bill, Grace’s Law, honors the tragic death of Grace McComas, a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after being harassed by a neighbor via social media. The passage of this bill is a victory for politicians who are seizing on the omnipresent topic of cyberbullying.

Bullying isn’t new. People have bullied others since time immemorial. It happens in all the usual places: school, college, work, at the coffee shop and everywhere else. What’s changed is that now some are able to use computers to bully others without ever revealing themselves. When one comes across a bully and meets them face-to-face, they know who is instigating said bullying. This isn’t always so online.

Unfortunately, the Internet has provided many the opportunities to bully without understanding the effects of their actions.

Full story of bullying in a digital age at Minnesota Daily

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Teen speaking up about bullying in Airdrie

Teen Speaks about Bullying ExperianceIt’s been a nightmare six months for Airdrie’s Tara and Mackenzie Murphy.

Mackenzie, a 13-year-old former Muriel Clayton student who is now homeschooled, has been a victim of bullying for years.

That bullying culminated in a suicide attempt before Christmas and a month-long hospital stay for the young teen.

“I have been bullied since 2007,” said Mackenzie. “It was like a never-ending battle.”

The abuse, which started in her former northeast Calgary school, prompted Mackenzie’s mom, Tara Murphy, a single mom, to move to Airdrie about 18 months ago.

Hoping for a better reception for her teen, Murphy was devastated when, after a year, the cycle of bullying began again.

“All the things she loved to do, she simply stopped doing,” said Murphy of her daughter.

Full story of teen bullying at Airdrie City View

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Mental health services a defense against school violence

Mental Health and School ViolenceThese days, it seems like our leaders in Washington have trouble finding common ground. However, the State of the Union address and the Republican response offered a welcome moment of agreement. Both President Obama and Senator Marco Rubio called for urgent action to reduce violence in our schools and communities. It’s certainly true that Republicans and Democrats may disagree on the steps we should take, but I was pleased nonetheless that both sides are considering the problem with the seriousness it deserves.

The debate is different this time. December’s unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has focused the nation’s attention on safety—and rightly so. Every morning, some 60 million American parents check homework, stuff backpacks, zip up jackets, and send their beloved children into the care of our nation’s schools. Parents are demanding that our leaders do everything in their power to ensure that those kids return home, every day, safe and healthy.

There are no shortage of ideas on the subject, and the debate has been robust. But I’d argue that our national conversation has been missing one essential element: a physician’s focus on prevention.

Full story of mental health and school violence at Capitol Weekly

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Anti-bully laws may get more punch from legislators; but who will pay for it?

Anti-Bully Laws Gets Punch from LegislatorsAdvocates of stronger anti-bullying measures in Minnesota say they’ll push again for a new bullying law during the upcoming legislative session.

They have tried and failed several times in recent years to rewrite a law that is considered one of the weakest anti-bullying statutes in the nation. But a task force last summer urged action, and backers are putting a new emphasis on robust guidelines to help school districts prevent bullying, as opposed to punishment. So some advocates say there’s reason to believe a new bullying law has a good chance of passing this time around.

Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, are putting together what they call the “2013 Safe Schools for All” bill.

It will have “a greater emphasis on positive school climate overall, and providing schools and school districts with the resources to be able to develop those policies and staff development opportunities.”

The task force was appointed to look into the issue in part because of a series of student suicides around the state. Some of the students had been bullied because they were gay or perceived to be gay.

Full story of anti-bully laws at Winona Daily News

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Health report shows bullying

Health Report on School BullyingA recent survey of Malden High School students indicates that many students cope with bullying, substance usage and other issues.

The report was presented to the Malden School Committee on Nov.19. Of particular concern for some board members were that more than half of all students felt they had no teacher or adult at school to talk with during times of stress.

Vice Chairman Adam Weldai said he found the results regarding the lack of adult support at school “astonishing.” Both he and Jennifer Cabral called for bringing back health education at the middle school level.

Board members were also concerned about student reporting a lack of sleep and healthy eating habits.

“I am surprised by the numbers indicating low vegetable and fruit consumption,” said Stephen Winslow. He suggested having gardens in the lower schools to “catch them young.”

Full story of health and bullying at Wicked Local Malden

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Facebook launches ‘bold’ anti-bullying campaign

Facebook Campaign Against BullyingSocial media giant Facebook is asking users to take a stand against bullying in the Be Bold: Stop Bullying national campaign.

Launched in Toronto on Wednesday, the online campaign asks youth, parents and educators to take a pledge against bullying, share stories about their own experience with bullies and encourages Facebook users to start their own bullying-prevention groups.

Facebook Canada managing director Jordan Banks said the campaign aims to specifically reach out to those who are witnesses to bullying.

“One of the things we know by working with our partners in bullying is the power really exists in the voices of the people watching bullying happening,” Banks told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.

“When the bystander says something to the bully, like stop bullying, 50 per cent of the time that bully will stop right away because what the bully is looking for is some positive reinforcement.”

Full story of Facebook campaign against bullying at CTV News

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month

National Bullying Prevention MonthOfficials at Jacksonville High School are taking a closer look at the issue of bullying this month.
According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 80 percent of school-age children are bullied at some point at school. Roughly 70 percent of middle school and high school students experience bullying.

JHS Principal Mike McGiles says the school deals with the issue on a case-by-case basis. He says officials are making an effort to educate students on the subject.

"First and foremost educate them that number one, it’s wrong, and number two, how to go about reporting it and to talk to any adult, particularly our guidance counselor or a member of the administration- the principal or one of the assistant principals, the dean of students, or any teacher,” says McGiles.

“Any adult that works in the building has got an obligation to come report that to the administration if its reported to them. But the guidance counselor is always the best place to start, because they’re more equipped to deal with those things and can deal with it immediately and swiftly.”

Full story of national bullying prevention at wlds.com

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Anti-bullying programs take on new significance in wake of recent suicides

Anti-Bullying Program RisesThe cry coming from inside the locker sounded muffled.

"Hello?"

But the principal heard. He opened the locker door, and a girl emerged.

"I tripped," she explained. She was new at school and too embarrassed to say that a trio of bullies had wedged her inside the locker.

Later, when classmates spread mayonnaise on her hair and splashed her with water, she went back to the principal for help.

The skit played out in the library of the Hazleton Ninth Grade Center where other anti-bullying programs unfolded at the same time Monday afternoon in the cafeteria and gymnasium. The programs got students to think about what bullying is, why people become bullies and how to stop them.

While the anti-bullying programs had been planned since summer, they took greater significance after four students, including a 13-year-old boy in Hazleton, committed suicide last week in Luzerne County.

Full story of anti-bullying program at Standard Speaker

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