Introducing NIOS Bullying Prevention Resources in Spanish

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INTRODUCING NIOS BULLYING PREVENTION RESOURCES IN SPANISH

Republished from NIOT.org

Not In Our School (NIOS) is excited to publish this three-part series of three blogs about bullying in English and Spanish. In this first blog, we give an overview of bullying and share new NIOS Spanish materials. In the second blog, we share important information and useful resources on bullying from Spanish speaking countries. Finally, in our third series, we share the work of a Mexican anti-bullying activist.

Este blog también está disponible en español.

A student taking part in a NIOS workshop in Nicaragua
According to the 2012 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish is the most widely understood language in the Western Hemisphere, with significant populations of native Spanish speakers ranging from the southern tip of Patagonia to as far north as Canada. And in the United States, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by 38.3 million people aged five or older, a figure more than double that of 1990. So, it is important to share NIOS films and lesson guides with the Spanish speaking world.

At a recent workshop, a principal shared a horrific story of a little 8-year-old girl who was bullied for being different. In this case, she was different because her family was not poor like the families of her classmates. So, they teased her every day. They threw things at her and pushed her. Although she did not tell anyone about what was happening to her, one day she took her parents’ gun out. Her plan was to take it to school and shoot the classmates who were tormenting her. Her parents discovered it and took the gun away, but her peers found out. That day they pelted her with stones and rocks until she had to be taken to the hospital, beaten and bloody.

This took place in a small rainforest village in the region around Rio San Juan, in Nicaragua. Recently, I had the privilege of giving two NIOS bullying prevention presentations there, one to students and another to educators. Although some of the participating schools were one-room schoolhouses, miles from the next town, both the youth and educators who attended were very familiar with bullying behaviors and were seeking solutions.

The kind of bullying that happened to this 8-year-old girl is not unlike some of the torments that happen to children everywhere. The girl’s peers claimed the reason they did it was that she was “stuck up.” Every day, children explain their cruel behavior with similar comments, like actor Christian Bale, bullied in England as a child because he was an actor; Rihanna from Barbados, bullied for her skin color and breasts; or a fifth grader in a California school where I worked as a principal, who nonchalantly told me he bullied a younger child simply because he had been bullied.

In Russia, like Nicaragua, the English word “bullying” is now being used because there is no fully comparable term. I wondered about other languages. After searching, I found a forum discussion about the word for “bully” in other languages. Different forum contributors indicated that Arabic, German, Hebrew, and French do not have exact translations for a specific word that means bullying. That caused the forum conversation participants to ponder if bullying was an American phenomenon and whether the US is making a word become a reality. The story of the Nicaraguan 8-year-old should put that theory to rest.

NIOS Director Becki Cohn-Vargas leads a workshop in Nicaragua
I believe that forms of bullying and intolerance have been around since the beginning of time. The difference now is that people across the world are recognizing it and doing something about it. With the little Nicaraguan girl, the school has gotten involved to not only help the girl and her family (who did end up changing schools), but also to work with her elementary peers.

Not In Our School is reaching out across the globe to share stories and materials in places like Hungary, Australia, Slovakia, and most recently in South Africa. We believe that this effort brings us together to make a difference and strengthens the work we are all doing. Do you have an international story? Please share it. It brings out the humanity in all of us.

As a way to share our materials with Spanish speaking countries and hispanic populations within the US, Not In Our School is now pleased to be translating our most popular films and lesson plans into Spanish. You can find our growing list of Spanish resources by clicking here.

NIOS thanks Vivianne Hiriart for her generous help doing these excellent translations pro bono.

NIOS PRESENTA SUS NUEVOS MATERIALES EN ESPAÑOL
No en Nuestra Escuela (NIOS) se complace en publicar esta serie de tres partes conformada por tres blogs sobre bullying en inglés y en español. En el primer blog damos una visión general sobre el bullying y compartimos nuevos materiales de NIOS en español. En el segundo blog, compartimos información importante y recursos útiles sobre bullying de países de habla hispana. Finalmente, en nuestra tercera serie, compartimos el trabajo contra el bullying de una activista mexicana.

De acuerdo con la Encuesta de la Comunidad Americana de 2012, llevada a cabo por el departamento de Censos de Estados Unidos, el español es la lengua más ampliamente entendida en el hemisferio occidental. Las comunidades de hispanoparlantes se extienden desde la punta más austral en la Patagonia hasta el extremo norte en Canadá. En los Estados Unidos 38.3 millones de personas mayores de 5 años hablan español como lengua principal en sus hogares; más del doble de las que había en 1990. Por eso es importante compartir los videos y actividades de NIOS con el mundo hispanohablante.

En un taller reciente, la directora de una escuela compartió la historia espeluznante de una niña de 8 años que fue víctima de bullying por ser diferente. En este caso, ella era diferente porque su familia no era pobre como lo eran las del resto de sus compañeros. Así que la molestaban todos los días. Le arrojaban cosas y la empujaban. Aunque no le dijo a nadie lo que le estaba pasando, un día tomó la pistola de sus padres. Su plan era llevarla a la escuela y dispararle a los compañeros que la atormentaban. Sus papás la descubrieron y le quitaron la pistola, pero sus compañeros se enteraron. Ese día la bombardearon con piedras y rocas hasta que tuvieron que llevarla al hospital, golpeada y ensangrentada.

Esto sucedió en un pequeño pueblo en la selva en una región cercana a Río San Juan, en Nicaragua. Recientemente tuve el privilegio de dar dos presentaciones sobre prevención de bullying en ese pueblo, una con estudiantes y la otra con docentes. Aunque algunas de las escuelas participantes se encontraban a millas de distancia del siguiente pueblo y contaban sólo con un salón de clases, tanto los jóvenes como los docentes conocían bien el bullying y estaban buscando soluciones.

El tipo de bullying que vivió esta niña de 8 años no es diferente a algunos tormentos que viven otros niños en muchas partes. Los compañeros de esta niña de 8 años afirmaban que habían actuado así porque ella era “estirada”. Todos los días los niños explican sus comportamientos crueles con afirmaciones similares, como el actor Christian Bale, quien fue víctima de bullying durante su niñez en Inglaterra por ser actor; Rhiannon, de Barbados, a quien molestaban por su color de piel y sus pechos o como un alumno de 5º grado en una escuela en California donde trabajé como directora, quien con total indiferencia me dijo que molestaba a un niño menor simplemente porque él había sido víctima de bullying.

En Rusia como en Nicaragua se utiliza la palabra inglesa “bullying” porque no existe un término que describa su significado de la misma manera. Me pregunté qué sucedía con otros idiomas. Tras buscar, encontré un foro de discusión sobre el equivalente de la palabra “bully[VH1] ” en otros idiomas. Diferentes participantes del foro indicaron que en árabe, alemán, hebreo y francés no existe un término que describa de manera exacta lo que significa bullying. Esto llevó a los participantes a plantearse si el bullying era un fenómeno estadunidense y si acaso Estados Unidos está haciendo que la palabra se transforme en una realidad. La historia de la niña nicaragüense de 8 años rebate esa teoría.

Creo que desde el inicio de los tiempos han existido formas de bullying e intolerancia. La diferencia es que ahora alrededor del mundo hay gente que lo está reconociendo y haciendo algo al respecto. Con la pequeña nicaragüense de 8 años, la escuela se involucró no sólo ayudando a la niña y su familia (quien finalmente se cambió de escuela), si no también trabajando con sus compañeros de la misma edad.

No en Nuestra Escuela (NIOS) está extendiendo sus contactos alrededor del mundo para compartir historias y materiales en lugares como Hungría, Australia, Eslovaquia, y más recientemente en Sudáfrica. Creemos que este esfuerzo nos une para hacer la diferencia y fortalece el trabajo que todos estamos haciendo. ¿Tienes alguna historia internacional? Por favor compártela. Sacan el lado humano en cada uno de nosotros.

No En Nuestra Escuela se complace a anunciar que se han empezado a traducir nuestras películas y lecciones más popularoes a español. Pulse aquí para encontrar la lista de recursos que se ofrecen en español.

Mil gracias a Vivianne Hiriart por traducir este serie sin cobrar para Not In Our Town.

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Intervene with Mean- Part Two Republished from Teaching Tolerance

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Intervene With Mean – Part Two

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Submitted by Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas on December 30, 2013

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Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionThis post is part two of a three-part blog series that explores how to help students transform bullying behavior. The series mirrors the three levels of intervention outlined in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports(PBIS). Level One applies to the 80 percent of students who are responsive when explicitly taught about acceptable behavior. Level Two (the focus of this blog) addresses the 15 percent of students who need social skills training and tools to help them stop bullying. The third blog will address Level Three, interventions for the 5 percent of students with persistent bullying problems who need intensive supports.

Ben was a hefty fourth-grader who loved to play touch football, but he kept ending up in the principal’s office because he bullied other kids during recess games. His usual target was Julio, a boy half his size. Ben blocked Julio, pushing him down on the ground and aggressively tackling him. This happened several times before Julio finally reported it.

Ben promised he would be more careful the next time. When it happened again, he came up with his own solution. “Why don’t I go to help out in the preschool during lunch?” he said. “That will keep me out of trouble.” At the preschool, Ben was like a big teddy bear, and the little kids loved him. After a few weeks, Ben said he was ready to go out in the schoolyard again, but once again he “forgot” and knocked Julio down, this time kicking him too.

Ben represents the 15 percent of kids (Level Two in the PBIS model) who need help to learn not to bully. Restorative justice and social emotional learning offer valuable tools to help these students transform their behavior.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice (RJ) is an approach in which discipline becomes a learning opportunity rather than a punishment. It is based on the belief that those who harm others can change their behavior. In addition, RJ can help mitigate the negative impact on those they have harmed. The RJ framework shifts interventions away from blame and toward creating a safe and caring environment for all.

In the case of bullying, the RJ process involves the target and the perpetrator separately because the target often feels vulnerable and fears retaliation. One approach is to craft a set of agreements with the perpetrator and convey the agreements to the target. The following questions, adapted from The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools, can guide your conversation with the student exhibiting bullying behavior:

1. What were you thinking at the time of the incident? What did you do? What did you want to happen when you did that?

2. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who was harmed. How do you think that person felt?

3. Think back to a time when someone hurt you. How did you feel?

4. Everyone makes mistakes and hurts others. Do you want to be someone who fixes your mistakes and makes things better? What do you think (the target) needs to make things better? What else might be good to do?

5. You’ve decided to address what happened by ______. How will you do that, and when will you do it? (Make some agreements and write them down.) What do you think you need to do to make things as right as possible? (Practice how things will be said.)

6. There may be a time in the future when you feel like bullying again. What will you do instead?

The agreements might include “I agree not to enter your personal space,” “I agree not to address you as anything but your real name,” or “I agree not to follow you when you walk away from me.” Once agreements are made, share them with the target.

This process encourages reflection and a thoughtful response from the perpetrators without putting them on the defensive. Assure them that they can learn from their mistakes and change. Doing so builds a positive relationship and lets students know they can trust you.

It is critical that you follow up all RJ interventions and conversations. Monitoring and regular support for both target and perpetrator are crucial. Check with the target to be sure the bullying has stopped. Meet often with the perpetrator to ensure the agreements are being followed.

Social Emotional Learning

Social emotional learning (SEL) is an approach that complements RJ and includes strategies to help students understand and transform their behavior.

It is important to consider what might be triggering the bullying behavior in the student. Some students need support with personal issues they are facing at home. Others need help learning empathy, social skills and impulse control.

Educators can work with individuals or small groups to strengthen SEL skills in the five areas described below and to help students transform themselves. The goal is to create a sense of identity safety so students—whatever their background—know they are valued and appreciated and that their identity is an asset. They need to feel that although they have made a mistake, they have agency to learn from it and to change.

Relationship skills: Having strong relationships with perpetrators is the most important factor in supporting the transformation of bullying behavior. The first step is listening to them and helping them feel compassion for themselves and others. Ben was learning how to relate to others when he started helping out in the preschool. He liked the way the younger students looked up to him, and he began to see himself differently. I visited him there and praised his gentleness with the younger students.

Self-awareness skills: Students can learn to identify their own triggers. Ask them to remember and identify how they felt at a given moment, and empower them to seek support instead of react. Once Ben learned to identify when he was getting upset, we could explore other ways to act when he was feeling angry or agitated.

Self-management skills: Ben, like many students who bully, lacked impulse control. He needed to learn to pause and think before he reacted. Along with tools to calm himself (breathing, counting, walking away, talking to an adult), he needed time to practice. He tried out the techniques during role-playing. Then he needed to go back out and learn how to use the skills in the schoolyard.

Decision-making skills: Students need to practice thinking a few steps ahead to make effective choices. Ben needed to talk through the impact of his decisions and behavior. He then practiced telling himself, “If I hurt this student, I may feel better for a moment, but then what?”

Social awareness skills: When Ben got involved in the preschool, he began to notice how other children treated one another. He chose to be part of our schoolwide anti-bullying efforts, and he proposed that he and his friends organize a special friendship fair for the kindergarteners—a big success for him!

Transforming a Pattern of Bullying

The process of changing behavior in the Level Two subset of the student population can and does work, but it requires strong relationships, empathy, social skill building and an expanded emotional tool kit. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

References

Amstutz, Lorraine Stutzman, and Judy H. Mullet. The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools: Teaching Responsibility, Creating Caring Environments. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2005.

Olweus, Dan, Sue Limber, and Sharon Mihalic. Bullying Prevention Program. Vol. 9 of Blueprints for Violence Prevention, ed. D. S. Elliott. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, 1999.

Steele, Dorothy M., and Becki Cohn-Vargas. Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2013.

Cohn-Vargas is director of Not in Our School and coauthor of Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn.

 

You Can Be an Upstander: When Someone is Bullied

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As the nation responds to the devastating effects of bullying, it is important to highlight the crucial role of an upstander. An upstander is a person who speaks up or stands up to bullying and intolerance, either to prevent or intervene when someone is being harmed.

By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director

I, for one, would not be here if it were not for an upstander. My father’s family barely escaped the Holocaust after Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” in Berlin on Nov. 9, 1938. He and his family found refuge in Shanghai, China.

Even in Shanghai, the Jews were not safe. Meisinger, known as the Butcher of Warsaw, traveled to China and convened a secret meeting in 1942 with a plan to exterminate the Shanghai’s 18,000 Jews either by constructing a gas chamber or by sending them out to sea and leaving them to die. Mitsugi Shibata, the Japanese consul in Shanghai, became aware of the plan. He met secretly with Jewish leaders and warned them. When the local military police found out, Shibata and the seven leaders were tortured and imprisoned. However, the word got out to Tokyo and the extermination plan was halted. Shibata’s courage saved thousands of Jews in Shanghai, among them my father. My father, Hans Cohn, wrote about his experiences in his autobiography, Risen From the Ashes, Tales of a Musical Messenger.

Not all upstanders save thousands. We can and must teach young people how to be upstanders. Whether it is to speak up for one person or for many, being an upstander is not easy. Yet, an upstander who speaks up for even one person can be part of a tidal wave of change to make our schools and world safer.

You Can Be an Upstander: Ideas When Someone is Bullied

From Child Abuse Prevention Center

At some point, every kid becomes a bystander—someone who witnesses bullying but doesn’t get involved. Instead, you can be an upstander, a person who knows what’s happening is wrong and does something to make things right. It takes courage to speak up on someone’s behalf. But just think: by doing so, you are becoming a person of character and also helping someone else.

Here are some things you can safely do:

  • Don’t join in the bullying
  • Support the victim in private—show your concern and offer kindness
  • Stand with the victim and say something
  • Mobilize others to join in and stand up to the bully
  • Befriend the victim and reach out to him/her in friendship
  • Alert an adult

Do not worry—you are not ratting out the bully by telling an adult. There’s a big difference between tattling and reporting a concern. Tattling is telling to get someone in trouble, reporting is telling to get someone out of trouble.

Additional Resources:

 

 

Reprinted from NIOT.org first published by CAP (Child Abuse Prevention Center) the October, 2102 http://www.niot.org/blog/you-can-be-upstander-when-someone-bullied

Bullying: In the Trenches, We Can’t Wait for a Definition (Reprinted from Edutopia)

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Originally published on Edutopia in October 2013

By Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director

During more than 20 years as a school administrator, I received numerous reports of bullying incidents from children, parents and teachers. Now that I’m the director of Not In Our School and bullying has become a topic of national discussion, I still regularly get calls from students and parents who share stories of tragic and worrisome incidents.
The first step in addressing any problem is to identify it, yet in the case of bullying, there is no accepted consensus on even the definition. At least ten definitions are included in various state legislatures, according to the New York Times. A newresearch report by the American Association of Education Researchers states,Bullying is part of the larger phenomenon of violence in schools and communities. Educators and scholars should not limit themselves to the traditional definition. Further, the examination of victimization should involve interactions among all community members, including youth, teachers, school staff, parents, and so forth.”
We Don’t Have Time to Wait for a Definition
The challenge of defining bullying is real for researchers and for lawmakers who need the specificity in order to measure and determine the consequences of bullying. However, while that larger discussion is taking place, people in the trenches continue to face the many manifestations of bullying, social cruelty, and victimization, whether it appears in schools, colleges, workplaces, or in the community. Not In Our School takes a position that schools and communities need to come together and address bullying and intolerance. Entire schools and communities need to understand and identify both bullying and intolerance and take effective action to prevent and respond to it. Here are some suggestions and recommendations.
The Accepted Definition
Bullying is an act of verbal or physical aggression with an imbalance of power between perpetrator and victim that is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, again and again.
Many schools use this operational definition from Dan Olweus, a researcher who has been working on the phenomenon of bullying for 40 years. An imbalance of power may allude to physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity that is used to try to control or harm others. However, power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if the imbalances involve the same people.
Eating Alone in the Cafeteria
Relational bullying is manifested through exclusion, spreading of rumors and social isolation. It often occurs among students who are trying to raise their social status by rejecting someone from their group. This form of bullying can be more subtle and is also much harder to address both from a response and research perspective. Yet it can be just as devastating, and often goes unaddressed over years resulting in damage across a lifetime.
“That’ so gay.” “That’s so Jewish.”
Along with bullying, intolerance is often at the heart of victimization. Intolerance is often revealed through unkind remarks with stereotypical comments regarding a person’s identity, such as their race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability. These intolerant attitudes can be developed and/or supported via the attitudes, actions and behaviors—sometimes conscious and sometimes not—of peers, family, teachers, coaches, or other individuals in a child’s life, but also through the media, music and the Internet. Students may express intolerance toward others overtly in a classroom or public setting, but this also often occurs in venues where adults are not even aware it is taking place.
Intolerance is often embedded in institutional practices. Some examples of systemic intolerance and institutionalized racism include the disproportionate number of African American or Latino students who are suspended and expelled or when the academic proficiency standards for certain ethnic groups are lower than others, as is true in Florida and Virginia. That tacit acceptance of racially biased systemic initiatives creates a climate for interpersonal intolerance of all types to flourish.

Although incidences of bullying and harassment sometimes overlap, not all bullying is harassment and not all harassment is bullying. Under federal civil rights laws, harassment is “unwelcome conduct based on a protected class (race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, religion) that is severe, pervasive, or persistent and creates a hostile environment.” Bullying behaviors may include harassment, but not always. However, both bullying and harassment are both considered forms of victimization.

Preventing Victimization, Bullying and Intolerance is a Process
The all-too-common practice of holding a moving schoolwide assembly or community event about the devastating impact of bullying is not enough to prevent bullying; nor will things change by simply explaining or posting the rules, laws, and policies. Change comes through an ongoing focus of creating a welcoming environment with regular dialogue about these issues where all voices are heard. Here are a few key ideas for reducing bullying and creating that positive climate in schools, workplaces and all social venues:
1. Involve the whole community, whether it is a school site, church, neighborhood or town, in creating a shared vision for a positive climate with clear expectations for behavior.
2. Use surveys to regularly assess the “climate” or sense of belonging and the way people feel on campus or in the workplace and monitor progress.
3. For youth, include the teaching of positive social skills together with bullying prevention and intervention strategies as part of the curriculum at all grade-levels and re-teach as needed during a moment of intervening in small and large incidents.
4. Teach all members of a community to be “upstanders,” those who speak up and stand up for themselves and others.
5. Engage in regular dialogue about issues of bullying and intolerance, and create opportunities to bridge differences, create empathy, and learn about various backgrounds and cultures.
Bottom line: It is Important to Address All Forms of Victimization
Taking action means both preventing and responding to victimization incidents, whether they stem from acts of bullying, intolerance, or any form of social cruelty. An effective action plan includes the whole community working in a sustained manner to change the climate to one that is caring and empathetic.
Create an anti-bullying campaign on your campus with the Not In Our School Quick Start Guide.

republished from niot.org http://www.niot.org/blog/bullying-trenches-we-cant-wait-definition

NIOS District Faces Tragedy, But Keeps Moving Forward

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By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director

The Westside School District is a model of the positive impact that an ongoing Not In Our School initiative can have. The district, located in California’s Antelope Valley, is in the fourth year of its NIOS campaign.
The district came together after teen suicides devastated nearby towns, an innovative solution that was documented in our 2012 PBS film, Class Actions. This year the district faced another tragedy, when a distraught middle school student was found missing from his home, along with a firearm. His suicide sparked an immediate response from the district.
Even in the face of this tragedy, this caring community continues to strengthen their proactive anti-bullying stance while reflecting on how to improve school safety, create empathy, and find more mental health resources for the school and district. NIOS joined a panel in April that brought the community together to answer questions, share grief, and seek ways to move forward.

Our role was to highlight ways parents could help their students understand bullying, as well as to share best practices in bullying and suicide prevention. NIOS also shared information and resources from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Stopbullying.gov.

Local students and families as well as district counselors, teachers, and elected officials attended the forum. They listened as the local sheriff and the school principal explained the circumstances that led to locking down the school. “There are things that we should have done better, we did not do better, we did not do good enough,” Principal Robert Garza told the AV Times. “But from this experience, I expect our entire district and hopefully our neighboring districts to improve from our situation. It’s something we absolutely need to do.”
The principal also shared how students from Hillview organized a vigil and made blue ribbons to remember their fellow student. They will also be involved in more NIOS activities at their site.

A standing ovation for the principal demonstrated that the 300 people in attendance recognized his genuine concern for students, the care he took to keep his school safe, and his willingness to continue to work with local law enforcement to improve emergency practices.

Taking a firm and committed stance against bullying in the long term and bringing the school community together to work on problems when they arise creates a safe and supportive school environment. A school cannot prevent every act of bullying or forestall every tragedy. However, if they work together to build a trusting community, when things get tough, they will be able to remain unified and continue to move ahead.

Learn how you can create a sustaining Not In Our School campaign on your campus hereWatch how Antelope Valley created a citywide anti-bullying campaign in “A City Unites to End School Bullying.”

Reprinted from niot.org

http://www.niot.org/blog/nios-district-faces-tragedy-keeps-moving-forward