Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teasing, Bullying and Harassment

"If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

Questions for Student and Teacher Reflection

1. a) What is bullying? b) What is harassment? c) What is teasing?
2. a) What kind of people bully? Why? b) What kind of people harass? Why? c) What kind of people tease? Why?
3. a) I have been a victim of bullying when....
b) I have been a victim of harassment when...
c) I have been a victim of teasing when....
4. I have bullied, harasses, teased somebody when....
5. What are the consequences of a) bullying, b) harassment and c) teasing?
6. What should you do if you are a victim of bullying, harassment and teasing?
7. Where could you go for help?
8. Draw a picture of bullying, harassment and/or teasing.
9. What language can you use when faced with bullying?
Bystanders MUST speak truth to power. Those in power must respond swiftly.
When bullying becomes a mental health issues, and suicidal ideations occur, the response must be strong and sure. Those who are bullied and depressed will sink so low that they may not be able to be reached with normal interventions. One cannot control depression. I've been there in that place. You feel helpless.

When my principal bullied me in my workplace, I took leave, spoke truth to power (my superintendent) and to the safety management team. The school board first offered supports and interventions, then denied the issues. This must stop. They lost a good teacher, had to hire a supply teacher to replace me, and the workplace suffere and learning conditions were diminished.

Integrative Activities: Suggestions for Teachers

  • Awareness raising activities
  • Bullying assignment (above)
  • Data collection (anonymous surveys)
  • Sociograms of behaviour
  • No-blame interventions
  • Role play and empowerment for victims
AntiBullying Video on YouTube.

Identify the Problem and create workable solutions
The research says it must be talked about and it must be dealt with. I deal with it using cross-curricular strategies (Music/Art/Dance/Drama- M.A.D.D.)since it is such an emotional issue. Asking students to identify their perceptions of teasing, bullying, and harassment, i.e. a KWL chart, allows them to frame the problem. Students can reflect on the questions above, through oral discussions, writing activities, or by drawing their feelings, depending upon grade level.
Older students can work together to come up with definitions that mean something to them. They can fine tune their definitions on their own or do research to better understand the differences between a friend teasing and illegal activities, such as luring and harassment. Intermediate students can do research to find resources and create PowerPoint presentations suitable for younger peers. Students who are being harassed or bullied on the internet can get help in identifying the problem.
What I have found, however, is by opening the discussion with a picture book (i.e. Mean Jean the Recess Queen!), no matter the age group, discussion ensues and dialogue is generated. During drama activities by placing bullied students into the role of the bully, the bullies have a better understanding of how it feels. It has been a most successful strategy for me and mine! We take photographs to demonstrate what these three different ideas truly mean. Asking students to create a tableaux or a skit, with resolution of the dilemma, allows for student reflection on an individual basis, followed by group discussions. This will accommodate ESL, Special Needs and all learning styles, as best fits your learners. Students can develop the confidence to use language they have practiced in a safe environment.
Having bullies play the role of victim, and victims play the role of bullies helps generate opportunities for discussion.
They can show what bullying and harassment feels like and looks like. This is an opportunity for student disclose to the teacher and seek help where needed. It opens dialogue. You might find that bullies are victims, too. Many are bullied by older siblings or older students. They learn what they live. They need to unlearn these behaviours and they can.
All of us need to be given the language to deal with those who choose to be a bully. They need role plays, opportunities to practice these skills and ensure that the language is there at their disposal at the right time. The key, of course, are teachers who support them and give them these tools. Stress in the teaching profession is increasing exponentially.
Another strategy some educators use is to have the older bullies visit the primary classes to talk about and listen to the younger students concerns. They can then understand the true consequences of their actions. They discuss being safe on the school yard. What it feels like to be afraid of the big kids all the time. Within a safe environment, the victims can learn to speak up for themselves. They need to understand that physical and emotional abuse will not be tolerated.
There are gender differences in bullying. Girls tend to bully and harass indirectly, boy's bullying is more physical and direct.

Teachers must be vigilant. They must be aware of the issues in the classroom, and on the school yard.
They must talk about this, all the time. Discuss harassment, discuss what bullying looks like, feels like, sounds like, and refuse to allow students to participate in activities that give them opportunities to harass peers. Interventions, role play, discussions about the language students use to bully one another.

They must facilitate mentoring programs, invite students to disclose safely.
They must respond swiftly to student concerns.

Principals must be swift to respond. Suspensions do not solve the problem. Interventions do. Principals must be on the schoolyard, and in the hallways. In-school sanctions can be swift and sure: denying bullies field trips, access to the play yard until they can manage to treat others with respect.

Must be involved with any technology that their child uses. They must have a Facebook account and insist that their child friends them. Go on as the family pet, and you child's friends will keep you informed, even if they block you!
They must begin to understand the applications their child uses. I learned Facebook to understand what my students were doing.
You must understand that many parents are afraid of being involved and do not want to appear ignorant. In this case encouraging a young person to tell the other child's parents can save a life. Encouraging a child to tell a teacher, or someone in authority. It is crucial.

Tips for Parents with Children on the Internet

1. Place the computer in the family room or other visible area, not in child’s bedroom.
2. Use gender-neutral screen names.
3. Talk to children about Internet safety and participate with them online. If they know more than you, let them teach you.Start when they are young. 
4. Children shouldn’t believe anything said to them over the Net from an unknown source.
5. Tell children they do not have to respond to messages sent to them, whether by e-mail or instant message.
6. Children should never give out personal information, screen names, passwords or credit card information online.
7. Use a good virus detection program.
8. Supervise children’s computer usage. Don’t rely on filtering software to do the work. 
9. Check the history function of your browser to see which websites your children have visited.
10. Know who your children are communicating with online. Get to know their online friends just as you would their other friends. 
11. Promote an environment where your children can talk openly with you.

They must first listen, and parent their child. Then get onto the ISP sites, all have abuse intolerance policies. They must be reported.

Direct Bullying

Indirect Bullying
  • shoving and poking
  • throwing things
  • taking things
  • slapping and hitting
  • choking
  • punching and kicking
  • beatings
  • stabbings
  • name-calling
  • taunting
  • rumour
  • gossiping
  • arguing others into submission
  • threats of withdrawing friendship
  • the silent treatment
  • exclusion from the group
Craig and Peplar at York University (1995) employed naturalistic observation rather than self-reports to study bullying. They taped (video and audio) children in two Toronto schools, and analyzed the results. These included:

  • 404 bullying episodes occurred during 52 hours of taping;
  • one incident occurred every 7 minutes on average;
  • a typical incident lasted 37 seconds, a remarkably short time;
  • 79% of the episodes were direct bullying, 18 indirect, and 3 both;
  • 90% of the incidents involved one bully and 92% one victim;
  • 72% of the attacks were by boys and 28% by girls;
  • in 4% of the episodes a weapon was visible;
  • between 26% and 33% of the children in a school bullied between 18% and 22% of the other children;
  • school staff were visible in 17% of the incidents; yet they intervened in 4% only;
  • peers intervened in 11% of the episodes; and 2% of the incidents appeared to be motivated by race.


The Criminal Code as amended in 1993 to specifically include the offense of criminal harassment. Before this time people who harassed others were charged under various offenses :
  • trespass
  • uttering threats
  • making indecent or harassing phone calls
  • intimidation or assault by threats.
Unfortunately there had to be physical harm or a threat of physical harm before the authorities could charge offenders with any of the above offenses. Also, these offenses did not cover harassing behaviour that was not violent, such as constantly following someone. The Criminal Code section on criminal harassment now makes it easier for the authorities to deal with conduct commonly referred to as stalking. (03.23.98) See Canada's SchoolNet for more information.
Harassing behaviour can include:
  • repeatedly following you
  • repeatedly visiting, calling, or writing to you, either directly or through someone else.
  • watching you, your home or your workplace
  • doing something that threatens you or someone in your family.
Behaviour which involves following you or communicating with you must happen more than once for it to be considered an offense, hence "repeatedly".
However, behaviour that involves watching you or behaving in a threatening way only once can be criminal harassment. The behaviour must be serious enough to give rise to a reasonable fear on the part of the victim.

Child Porn Spam
Child-porn spam is becoming more aggressive. Many children have e-mail addresses unknown to their parents. Their first exposure to sexuality often happens when they stumble on something in email or on the Web.
If you get child porn spam:
  • Don't click on links or images in the body of a spammed e-mail.
  • Don't forward it to others.
  • Make note of the e-mail, including its date, time, sender and subject head. If you have the technical know-how, copy down any "expanded header" information (refers to extra data attached to the e-mail that's usually hidden).
  • Delete the e-mail.
  • Send a report to Cybertip.ca, Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. The non-profit agency runs a web portal for public reports on child pornography, luring, child sex tourism and children who are exploited through prostitution.
To report:
  • Visit cybertip.ca and fill out an online reporting form.
  • Call toll free 1-866-658-9022, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Fax report to 1-204-948-2177.

Adults and Bullying

Most teacher resources, as well as student picture books, deal with the who, the how, the what and the why of bullying. Students must be taught to stand up for themselves, as well as others. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Parents have taken to bullying teachers, too. This is an article published on Feb. 2, 2005. In the Toronto Star. Raging parents: The new school yard bullies .
Principals turn around in Ontario has been 60 % in the most recent wave of retirements. New principals may only have the required five years teaching experience. This means they have not had the opportunity to work with a number of diverse principal leaders who can model strength and leadership. Patterson (1993) noticed a pattern in what he calls the "shifting definitions of leadership", and sees some leaders who embody the values of power and control, as they attempt to exercise authority and keep power. Patterson has a vision of the schools of tomorrow. He ideally defines the leadership role: "the process of influencing others to achieve mutually agreed upon purposes for the organization" (1993, p.3). The dynamic organization that is a school is best led by those who do not micromanage, but rather share the power with staff, influence others to find a common vision, determine common goals and help staff make it so. Some leaders will not risk cultivating such a vision. They are more concerned with keeping power, rather than sharing it and risking collaboration.
Principals can share their power and still be in control. Enlightened leaders, before they can institute real change, must find some measure of the organizations strengths and weaknesses. They must have some confidence that their staffs will not over run them if they share the decision making power. Weak organizations, as Patterson (1993) says, are characterized by a top-down approach that requires employees to follow orders and forbids, if not discourages, employee participation. Enlightened leaders can risk dissension when they have the confidence to gather information, values, opinions and ideas from their staffs and, as the final decision is ultimately theirs, exert authority when they have all of the information they need to make a quality decision.


Canada's award-winning Bullying.org one of the world's first Web sites on bullying, now with sister site www.cyberbullying.ca Cyberbullying.ca, both created by educator Bill Belsey. Cyberbully.org from the Eugene, Ore.-based Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use.
"Cybersocializing, cyberbullying," at NetFamilyNews, based on an interview with Nancy Willard of the Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use.
On-line Resources
Beyond Borders (2003) All About the Kids, Toronto Police International Conference on Child Exploitation, As accessed, http://www.beyondborders.org/ Feb., 2005. A web site devoted to the end of child prostitution and child pornography.
Bullying website. http://www.bullying.org (Canadian) Offers products and an on-line, printable bullying survey.
"Bullying Intervention Strategies that Work" at Education-World.com -based on the pioneering work of Norwegian psychologist Dan Olweus.
Canada Safety Council, School Bullies. On-line resources.
Craig, W. (1999). Making a difference in bullying. (Research study in a pdf file). As accessed Feb. 27, 2005.
Green Theatre Productions. The Shape of a Girl A Play by Green Theatre Productions. Web-based Study Guide. It has some good ideas!
Langevin, M. et al. (undated) Teasing and Bullying. Teasing and Bullying: Helping children deal with teasing and bullying: for parents, teachers and other adult University of Alberta. (Some cited on-line resources are expired.) As accessed Feb. 27th, 2005. Excellent resource for student research.
Leblanc, J. C. (2001). Bullying st School. Department of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 2000 Pulsus Group Inc. As accessed Feb. 27, 2005.
Media Awareness Network, (2001).Young Canadians In A Wired World, Environics Research Group. www.media-awareness.ca A accessed Feb., 2005.
National Film Board's Bullying Website.
The New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention.
Net Family News and The Online Safety Project
Suderman, et al. (1996) Bullying: Information for Parents and Teachers. Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System: Canada. As accessed Feb. 27, 2005. They also offer ASAP: A School-based Anti-Violence Prevention Program Kit .
Thames Valley D.S.B. Information on Bullying. As accessed Feb. 27, 2005.
WebWise Kids An interactive, Internet Safety Game.
New York Times article on anti-bullying.
For anti-bullying work in Virginia, see SafeKids 9/23 issue.
Books and Print Resources
Bredeson, P.V., Blase, J. & Blase, J. (2002). Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers. USA: Sage Publications, Inc. --Bullying is not limited to children. I have colleagues at the university who are experiencing it from their grad students.
Coloroso, B. (2002 ) The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander ISBN: 0-00-200648-0.
Craig, W. M. & Peplar, D.J. (1995). Naturalistic observations of bullying and victimization in the school yard.
Craig, W. M. & Peplar, D.J. (1999). Children who bully - Will they just grow out of it? Orbit, 29(4), 16-19.
Middelton-Moz (2004) Bullies: From the Playground to the Boardroom. ISBN: 1558749861. Bullying is becoming prevalent in the workplace, too.
O'Neill, A. (2002) Mean Jean The Recess Queen. Scholastic Press. Pre-K to 3. I have used this picutre book with kids up to gr. 8.
Ross, P.N. (1998) Arresting Violence. A Resource Guide for Schools and Their Communities, Available through ETFO. CD Rom, text and overheads.
Sanders, P.(2004) What Do You Know About Bullying?, with illustrated story/concept formation. Fitzhenry & Whiteside: Canada.
Audio-Visual Resources
CBC Newsworld. Bullying Into Sexy. (2004). An excellent show about sexism and the media. CBC Newsworld broadcast it several times over the past few months. It speaks of female body image, male perceptions of teen-aged girls. It demonstrates how parents need to learn to day no to girls dressing up for "sexy".
It's a Girl's World: How Girls Use their Power to Hurt Each Other - 3 CDs. Host: Paul Kennedy, Producer: Lynn Glazier. Price: $29.99. Product ID: ERDOC00053. This is a phenomenal overview of how girls use social/emotional strategies to bully and to gain power. The 3rd CD examines the issue from the point of view of the work place. I have recommended it to a colleague who is facing this within her work place and has found no solution from the powers-that-be.
Callaway, C. (no ref). Peer Networking to Build Resiliency Among High School Youth: A violence prevention group. In K. Davis, C. K. Tawney (Eds.), Approaches to Group Work (pp. 64 – 73). Columbus, Oh: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Le, T. N., & Stockdale, G. (2008). Acculturative Dissonance, Ethnic Identity, and Youth Violence. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 001 – 009. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from the PsycARTICLES database.
Youth Crime Fact Sheet Canada. (2007). Retrieved March 18, 2008, from http://www.preventingcrime.net/library/2007-cspc%20youth%20fact%20sheet.pdf
Youth and Violence. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/html/nfntsyjviolence.ehtml
Whitted, K. S., & Dupper, D. R. (2005). Best Practices for Preventing or Reducing Bullying in Schools. Children & Schools. 27, 167 – 175.

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