Parent Teacher Association-District 26 of NE Kentucky

PTA. everychild.onevoice.

Kentucky Anti-Bullying

 

 National Bullying Prevention Center

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 Read: "Bullying Åttacked at National PTA Convention and Youth Summit"

    

With Sec. Arne Duncan by President, Brenda Martin

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Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network

 KY-SPIN, Inc. Logo

 

 Visit KY-SPIN for Info on Anti-Bullying, Self-Advocacy, Resources, Support, etc!

Anti-Bullying Month - October

Parent Involvement Month-November

Parent Involvement Month Proclamation
Our NEKY PTA president attended this awesome program in Frankfort, November 1st!  Kentucky Education Commissioner, Terry Holliday, and the First Lady of Kentucky, Jane Beshear, were in attendance along with Kentucky PTA, KYPIRC, FRYSC , and the Kentucky Department of Education for the initial proclamation of November as Parent Involvement Month.

 

 Click here for Kentucky Parent Involvement Tips and Resources!

Scroll Down for Bullying Prevention Articles

Tips for Being a Great Classroom Parent

Tips for Class Moms and Classroom ParentsA class mom or class dad has a direct role in helping a teacher start the school year off right! Whether you’re a first-time classroom parent or a seasoned veteran, a great year for your classroom starts with some advance planning!
  • Introduce yourself to parents at the first opportunity and start building a community to support your teacher. By being the first one to say hello, remember names and introduce parents to each other, you can be a catalyst for relationships and a connecting point for communication that eases the burden on the teacher.
     
  • Prepare a welcome packet that sets the tone for the year. Advance notice is the key to promotion, participation & setting expectations for the events and activities planned. You might include:
    • An encouraging introduction letter
    • A calendar of important dates, parties, and events
    • A form for collecting email/phone numbers of parents
       
  • Spread the work by recruiting volunteers for specific events like class parties and field trips. As early as possible, assign the commitments for the coming school year. Be as organized as possible from the start, and you will find that other parents will sign up to help more, and follow through with the commitments they have made to volunteer.
     
  • Collect supplies by creating an online sign up for classroom needs. Your teacher can anticipate the needs for the year and provide you with specific requests.
     
  • Keep in touch by emailing parents on a regular basis about upcoming events. Follow up after events by emailing photographs and thanking those involved. By assisting in classroom communication you are encouraging parent involvement and improving the educational experience for everyone.

Remember, every teacher has different expectations. Some teachers will give you a yearly plan, laying out all the details for you to execute while others will let you run with the ball. Confer with the teacher and determine which style works best for both of you. Then be sure to use the free tools at SignUpGenius.com to make organizing your child’s classroom a snap!

Enjoy!   ________________________________________________________________

38 Ways for Parents to Get Involved

(Excerpt from Oprah.com)

According to decades of scientific research—including a study from the Department of Education that reviews 30 years of research—parental involvement in the classroom is a key factor in improving students' academic performance. Returning to the classroom and showing up to school translates into your child's overall success.

With study after study revealing the dramatic impact of parental presence, it's been drilled into the heads of moms and dads across the country that they must make an effort in their children's classrooms. Sure, you know that's what you need to do, but do you know how to do it?

Between demanding work schedules, family responsibilities, household upkeep, frequent errands and cooking for what sometimes seems like a small army, it may seem impossible to find time to devote to being in yet another place at another time, all school year long. But even the busiest parents can get involved in the classroom without spending time they don't have or stretching themselves too thin. The secret is knowing how to allocate your limited availability and which small-scale ideas have a big impact.

The Power of Three Hours

Volunteering in the classroom for just three hours over the course of the entire school year is enough to make an impact. In fact, this idea is the foundation of The National Parent-Teacher Association's Three for Me program, encouraging and guiding busy parents through different ways to get involved at their children's schools.

With free online resources, sample forms, promotional fliers and a forum for idea-sharing, Three for Me does a huge part of the time-consuming work for you—all you need to focus on is your child. So, find just three hours over the course of nine months to volunteer in your child's classroom, and you'll be helping set him up for success not just now, but in the future as well.

Get 8 ideas for how you can get involved in the classrooms of younger and older children

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What Does Parent Engagement Look Like (click here)

and other  BLOGs by Myrdin Thompson, 

Kentucky Delegate for Mom Congress of Parenting Magazine

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Overcoming Obstacles to

Parent Involvement

obstacles to Parent Involvement: Roadblocks and Detours
To make parents feel more comfortable visiting the school, post Welcome signs in all languages spoken at the school at each entrance and on each classroom door. Create a special place in the school that is set aside especially for parents, such as a parent center.

Not Knowing How to Contribute

Roadblock: Some parents believe they have talents but don’t know whether they are needed or how to contribute them to the school or PTA.

Detour:

  • Don’t wait for parents to offer to help; seek them out.  Suggest a few different but specific options of ways they could volunteer.
  • Have teachers and administrators create a list of specific volunteer actions that are needed from parents.  Refer to this list and share it with your PTA.
  • Ask non-PTA parents as well as members what they’d like to do in the school.
  • Faculty and parents could share their list with each other and begin to discuss and form realistic expectations to more effectively use parents’ many talents.

Not Understanding the School System

Roadblock: Many parents are unfamiliar with the system and therefore do not know what their rights are or how they can become involved.

Detour:

  • Create a simple, short parent handbook covering school rules, procedures, policies, and where to find answers to questions.  Use pictures or visuals as much as possible.
  • Include names and numbers of contact people who can answer questions in specific areas. Include pictures and names of school administrators, staff, teachers, PTA officers, and other contact people.

Parents in Need

Roadblock: Parents without adequate resources often feel overwhelmed.
Families suffering from economic stress must address their own needs for food, clothing, and shelter before they can see clear to become more involved in their children’s education.

Detour:

  • Ask the parent or guardian about their situation and listen to them.
  • Assign a “buddy” who understands the situation or language to help connect the family to the school.
  • Provide information to help parents access and secure the health and social services they need for themselves and their families.
  • Schools can work out agreements with social service and health agencies to provide services at the school through school-based clinics or near the school in community-based clinics.
  • Schools can develop and distribute to parents a directory containing information on available services and resources in the community and how to access them.
  • After families’ personal needs are met, schools can then help parents become involved in the education of their children.


Child Care

Roadblock: Child care may not be offered at meetings or school functions.
At the same time, parents may be discouraged from bringing their children to events.

Detour:

  • Find an available room and available caregivers for child care at the meeting site.
  • Ask PTA members, community members, school service clubs, or other parents to volunteer to provide child care on a rotating basis.
  • Hire high school or college students in child development classes or child-care professionals in the community to provide child care and, if appropriate, charge parents a nominal fee.
  • Adhere to state-mandated child/adult ratios to provide safe, quality care.

Language Barriers 

Roadblock: Parents who don’t speak English may not understand newsletters, fliers, or speakers at meetings

Detour:

  • Provide printed materials that are sent home and passed out at meetings in all languages spoken by the families in the school.
  • The school and surrounding community may need to identify and help secure interpreters and translators for workshops and meetings.
  • Another option is to have group activities and social times held in the same room and then have parents of the same language group break off into smaller groups in different rooms for more in-depth discussion. Have all parents come together at the end of the meeting and have the bilingual reporter for each group share what was discussed.

Special Needs

Roadblock: Parents with disabilities may find it difficult or feel uncomfortable attending and contributing at meetings.

Detour:

  • Simply ask the person about their situation and listen to their responses.
  • Consider whether your school is accessible for everyone and hold meetings or events in a space that is accommodating to parents with disabilities.
  • Provide someone to sign for deaf or hearing impaired parents, if requested.

Transportation

Roadblock: Lack of transportation or access to parking at the school keeps parents from visiting or attending school activities.

Detour:

  • Work with the school to make a block of spaces in the parking lot “for visitors only.”
  • Bus parents to special evening events following regular bus routes or have group stops for pickups and drop-offs.
  • Form carpools to provide transportation to parents without cars. Hold events in community locations that are easy to get to and are near public transportation.
  • If parents can not attend, provide a home visit or a phone call to inform parents and keep them involved.

Arne Duncan, "$270 Million Investment in Parent Engagement, FY 2011"

     During our National PTA Convention in June, 2010, and on "Education Nation", Monday, September 27, 2010, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced doubling their investment to $270 million for Parent Engagement programming, fiscal year 2011.  He also touted their important partnership with PTA!

Anti-Bullying Legislature


A Watch-dog Organization - Advocating for Bullied Children
& Reporting on State Anti Bullying Laws
 
Comment:  Although the word, "bullying" is not mentioned in the name of this law, it is clearly an anti bullying law.  It qualifies for the highest grade possible, an A++  (Note: In red - help for the victim and an internet clause)

KENTUCKY

HB 91 - The Golden Rule Act

A++

AN ACT relating to the safety, learning, and well-being of students.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

SECTION 1.   A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 158 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) Any employee of a school or a local board of education who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a school student has been the victim of a violation of any felony offense specified in KRS Chapter 508 committed by another student while on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at a school-sponsored event shall immediately cause an oral or written report to be made to the principal of the school attended by the victim. The principal shall notify the parents, legal guardians, or other persons exercising custodial control or supervision of the student when the student is involved in an incident reportable under this section. The principal shall file with the local school board and the local law enforcement agency or the Department of Kentucky State Police or the county attorney within forty-eight (48) hours of the original report a written report containing:

(a) The names and addresses of the student and his or her parents, legal guardians, or other persons exercising custodial control or supervision;
(b) The student's age;
(c) The nature and extent of the violation;
(d) The name and address of the student allegedly responsible for the violation; and
(e) Any other information that the principal making the report believes may be helpful in the furtherance of the purpose of this section.

(2) An agency receiving a report under subsection (1) of this section shall investigate the matter referred to it. The school board and school personnel shall participate in the investigation at the request of the agency.

(3) Anyone acting upon reasonable cause in the making of a report required under this section in good faith shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Any such participant shall have the same immunity with respect to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from such report or action.

(4) Neither the husband-wife nor any professional-client/patient privilege, except the attorney-client and clergy-penitent privilege, shall be a ground for refusing to report under this section or for excluding evidence regarding student harassment, in any judicial proceedings resulting from a report pursuant to this section. This subsection shall also apply in any criminal proceeding in District or Circuit Court regarding student harassment.

Section 2.   KRS 158.444 is amended to read as follows:
(1) The Kentucky Board of Education shall promulgate appropriate administrative regulations relating to school safety, student discipline, and related matters.

(2) The Kentucky Department of Education shall:
(a) Collaborate with the Center for School Safety in carrying out the center's mission;[ and]
(b) Establish and by which school districts shall report by sex, race, and grade level:
1. a. All incidents[incidences] of violence and assault against school employees and students;
b. All incidents[incidences] of possession of guns or other deadly weapons on school property or at school functions; [and]
c. All incidents[incidences] of the possession or use of alcohol, prescription drugs, or controlled substances on school property or at school functions; and
d. All incidents in which a student has been disciplined by the school for a serious incident, including the nature of the discipline, or charged criminally for conduct constituting a violation of any offense specified in KRS Chapter 508, or Section 4 of this Act occurring on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at school functions, or Section 5 of this Act;
2. The number of arrests, the charges, and whether civil damages were pursued by the injured party;
3. The number of suspensions, expulsions, and corporal punishments; and
4. Data required during the assessment process under KRS 158.445; and[.]
(c) [The department shall ]Provide all data collected relating to this subsection to the Center for School Safety according to timelines established by the center.

(3) The Department of Education shall provide the Office of Education Accountability and the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee with an annual statistical report of the number and types of incidents reported under subsection (2)(b) of this section. The report shall include all monthly data and cumulative data for each reporting year. Reportable incidents shall be grouped in the report in the same manner that the reportable incidents are grouped in subsection (2)(b)1. of this section. Data in the report shall be sorted by individual school district, then by individual schools within that district, and then by individual grades within each school. The report shall not contain information personally identifying any student. The reporting period shall be for an academic year, and shall be delivered no later than August 31 of each year.

(4) All personally identifiable student data collected pursuant to subsection (2)(b) of this section shall be subject to the confidentiality provisions of the Kentucky Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, KRS 160.700 to 160.730, and to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. sec. 1232g, and its implementing regulations. 

(5) Parents, legal guardians, or other persons exercising custodial control or supervision shall have the right to inspect or challenge the personally identifiable student records as permitted under the Kentucky Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and implementing regulations.

(6) Data collected under this section on an individual student committing an incident reportable under subsection (2)(b)1. of this section shall be placed in the student's disciplinary record.

....

Section 3.   KRS 158.148 is amended to read as follows:
(1) In cooperation with the Kentucky Education Association, the Kentucky School Boards Association, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Parent-Teachers Association, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau, members of the Interim Joint Committee on Education, and other interested groups, and in collaboration with the Center for School Safety, the Department of Education shall develop or update as needed and distribute to all districts by August 31 of each even-numbered year, beginning August 31, 2008:
(a) Statewide student discipline guidelines to ensure safe schools, including the definition of serious incident for the reporting purposes as identified in Section 2 of this Act; [and]
(b) Recommendations designed to improve the learning environment and school climate, parental and community involvement in the schools, and student achievement and
(c) A model policy to implement the provisions of this section and Sections 1, 2, 4, and 5 of this Act.

(2) The department shall obtain statewide data on major discipline problems and reasons why students drop out of school. In addition, the department, in collaboration with the Center for School Safety, shall identify successful strategies currently being used in programs in Kentucky and in other states and shall incorporate those strategies into the statewide guidelines and the recommendations under subsection (1) of this section.

(3) Copies of the discipline guidelines shall be distributed to all school districts. The statewide guidelines shall contain broad principles and legal requirements to guide local districts in developing their own discipline code and school councils in the selection of discipline and classroom management techniques under KRS 158.154; and in the development of the district-wide safety plan.

(4) Each local board of education shall be responsible for formulating a code of acceptable behavior and discipline to apply to the students in each school operated by the board. The code shall be updated no less frequently than every two (2) years, with the first update being completed by November 30, 2008.
(a) The superintendent, or designee, shall be responsible for overall implementation and supervision, and each school principal shall be responsible for administration and implementation within each school. Each school council shall select and implement the appropriate discipline and classroom management techniques necessary to carry out the code. The board shall establish a process for a two-way communication system for teachers and other employees to notify a principal, supervisor, or other administrator of an existing emergency.
(b) The code shall contain the type of behavior expected from each student, the consequences of failure to obey the standards, and the importance of the standards to the maintenance of a safe learning environment where orderly learning is possible and encouraged.
(c) The code shall contain:
1. Procedures for identifying, documenting, and reporting incidents of violations of the code and incidents for which reporting is required under Section 1 of this Act;
2. Procedures for investigating and responding to a complaint or a report of a violation of the code or of an incident for which reporting is required under Section 1 of this Act, including reporting incidents to the parents, legal guardians, or other persons exercising custodial control or supervision of the students involved;
3. A strategy or method of protecting from retaliation a complainant or person reporting a violation of the code or an incident for which reporting is required under Section 1 of this Act;
4. A process for informing students, parents, legal guardians, or other persons exercising custodial control or supervision, and school employees of the requirements of the code and the provisions of this section and Sections 1, 2, 4, and 5 of this Act, including training for school employees; and
5. Information regarding the consequences of violating the code and violations reportable under Section 1 or 2 of this Act. 
(d) The principal of each school shall apply the code of behavior and discipline uniformly and fairly to each student at the school without partiality or discrimination.
(e)[(d)] A copy of the code of behavior and discipline adopted by the board of education shall be posted at each school. Guidance counselors shall be provided copies for discussion with students. The code shall be referenced in all school handbooks. All school employees and parents, legal guardians, or other persons exercising custodial control or supervision shall be provided copies of the code.

Section 4.   KRS 525.070 is amended to read as follows:
(1) A person is guilty of harassment when with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person he or she:
(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects him to physical contact; or
(b) Attempts or threatens to strike, shove, kick, or otherwise subject the person to physical contact; or
(c) In a public place, makes an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display, or addresses abusive language to any person present; or
(d) Follows a person in or about a public place or places; or
(e) Engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose; or
(f) Being enrolled as a student in a local school district, and while on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at a school-sponsored event:
1. Damages or commits a theft of the property of another student;
2. Substantially disrupts the operation of the school; or
3. Creates a hostile environment by means of any gestures, written communications, oral statements, or physical acts that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know would cause another student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment.

(2) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, harassment is a violation.
(b) Harassment, as defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, is a Class B misdemeanor.

Section 5.   KRS 525.080 is amended to read as follows:
(1) A person is guilty of harassing communications when with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person he or she:
(a) Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication in a manner which causes annoyance or alarm and serves no purpose of legitimate communication;[ or] 
(b) Makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or
(c) Communicates, while enrolled as a student in a local school district, with or about another school student, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, the Internet, telegraph, mail, or any other form of electronic or written communication in a manner which a reasonable person under the circumstances should know would cause the other student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment and which serves no purpose of legitimate communication.

(2) Harassing communications is a Class B misdemeanor.

 


HB 91 (BR 499) - M. Cherry, L. Clark, T. Edmonds, D. Graham, K. Hall, R. Henderson, M. Marzian, R. Palumbo, J. Richards, T. Riner, T. Thompson, R. Webb 

AN ACT relating to the safety, learning, and well-being of students. 

Amend KRS 158.440 to identify the Golden Rule as the model for improving attitude and the rule for conduct for all public school students; require school districts to have plans, policies, and procedures dealing with measures for assisting students who are engaging in disruptive and disorderly behavior, including harassment, intimidation, or bullying of another student; amend KRS 158.441 to define "harassment, intimidation, or bullying"; allow civil exchange of opinions or debate or cultural practices protected under the state or federal Constitution to be included in areas exempt from definition of "harassment, intimidation, or bullying"; amend KRS 158.148 to require school districts to formulate a code of acceptable behavior and discipline that embraces the Golden Rule as the model for improving attitude and the rule for conduct for students; require the code of acceptable behavior to prohibit harassment, intimidation, or bullying of a student and include procedures for identifying, reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints, a strategy for protecting complainants from retaliation, a process for annually discussing the code and the consequences of violating the code with students and their parents or their legal guardians; require school districts to provide training on the code of acceptable behavior to school employees who have direct contact with students, if funds are available; require district to incorporate information regarding the Golden Rule and the code of acceptable behavior in employee training manual; require school councils that are proposing to adopt an instructional program or curriculum designed to instruct students on issues regarding harassment, intimidation, or bullying to afford parents the right to inspect and review the instructional material and to address the council on the proposal prior to its adoption; offer parents and legal guardians the opportunity to opt out their students from programs or curriculum regarding harassment, intimidation, or bullying; specify that students who are opted out shall remain subject to the policy that prohibits harassment, intimidation, or bullying; amend KRS 158.150 to include the breaking of the Golden Rule through student harassment, intimidation, or bullying as a cause for suspension, expulsion, or other appropriate disciplinary action; amend 158.444 to require local school districts to report to the Kentucky Department of Education all incidents where a student has been disciplined for harassment, intimidation, or bullying three times in a single semester or where an individual has been the object of three or more documented incidents of harassment, intimidation, or bullying in a single semester; create a new section of KRS 158 to require that all student data collected that is related to harassment, intimidation, or bullying be subject to the confidentiality provisions of both the federal and the Kentucky Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and afford parents the right to inspect or challenge student records as permitted under those provisions; require individual student data collected that is related to harassment, intimidation, or bullying to be placed in the student's disciplinary record; create a new section of KRS 158 to provide immunity to school employees or students from a cause of action for damages arising from reporting in good faith a student's disruptive or disorderly behavior if school and district procedures are followed regarding the report; make technical corrections; identify this Act as The Golden Rule Act.

HB 91 - AMENDMENTS

     HFA (1, D. Floyd) - Retain original provisions; require local school districts to provide training to victims of bullying for victim empowerment.

     HFA (2, D. Floyd) - Require a local school district to provide information and assistance on how to respond to and avoid instances of bullying to students who have been subjected to bullying. 

     HFA (3, M. Cherry) - Include cyberbullying in the definition of student harassment, intimidation, or bullying; include electronic communication as a method of student harassment, intimidation, cyberbullying, or bullying.

     SCS/LM/CI - Replace provisions of the bill with the following: Create a new section of KRS Chapter 158 to require school personnel to report incidents of student offenses under KRS Chapter 508, criminal harassment, or harassing communications to law enforcement, with a requirement that the incident be investigated; amend KRS 158.444 to create a data collection system for the reporting of incidents of student offenses under KRS Chapter 508, criminal harassment, or harassing communications, with monthly reporting of the number and types of incidents reported; amend KRS 158.148 to require updating of student discipline codes to include material relating the taking, reporting, or investigation of complaints of student offenses under KRS Chapter 508, criminal harassment, or harassing communications, with provision for the protection of complainants and the distribution to the updated provisions of the code to students, parents, and school personnel; amend KRS 525.070 relating to harassment to prohibit certain activity when done by a student; amend KRS 525.080 relating to harassing communication to prohibit certain activity when done by a student.

     CCR - Cannot agree.

     FCCR - Create a new section of KRS Chapter 158 to require school personnel to report incidents of student felony offenses under KRS Chapter 508 to law enforcement and parents of students involved; amend KRS 158.444 to require a local school district to include in its statewide data report all incidents in which a student has been disciplined by the school for a serious offense, including the nature of the offense, and all incidents in which a student has been charged criminally for any offense identified in KRS Chapter 508 or in Section 4 of this Act that occurred on school premises, on the school bus, or at school functions; require the Kentucky Department of Education to submit to the Office of Education Accountability and the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Committee an annual statistical report, rather than a monthly statistical report, to include the number and types of incidents of violence or assault against school employees and students, possession of guns or other deadly weapons on school property or at school functions, and possession or use of alcohol, prescription drugs, or controlled substances on school property or at school functions; require the annual statistical report to include monthly data and cumulative data for the reporting year; set the reporting period as an academic year, delivered by August 31 of each year; amend KRS 158.148 to require the Kentucky Department of Education, in consultation with various professional agencies, to develop or update as needed, a model policy to be distributed to schools by August 31 of each even-numbered year, beginning August 31, 2008; amend KRS 525.070 to identify specific activities done by a student as harassment; amend KRS 525.080 to identify specific activities done by a student as harassing communication.

Jan 8-introduced in House
Jan 29-3rd reading, passed 96-0 with floor amendments (2) and (3) 
Jan 30-received in Senate 
Mar 13-reported favorably, to Rules with Committee Substitute ; posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Thursday, March 13, 2008; 3rd reading, passed 35-0 with Committee Substitute 
Mar 14-received in House; to Rules (H) 
Mar 24-received in Senate 
Apr 2-Conference Committee report filed in House and Senate; Conference Committee report adopted in House and Senate; Free Conference Committee appointed in House and Senate; Free Conference Committee report filed in House and Senate; Free Conference Committee report adopted in Senate; Bill passed 30-3; bill reconsidered; Bill passed 34-2; received in House; Free Conference Committee report adopted in House; Bill passed 91-4 
Apr 14-enrolled, signed by Speaker of the House 
Apr 15-enrolled, signed by President of the Senate; delivered to Governor; signed by Governor

 

Bullying Concerns

 Cyber-Bullying: The New Breed

             ______________

 

Bullying: What can YOUTH do about it?

(Click here)


 
 
On August 11 and 12, the US government held the first annual Bully Summit that opened the door for better collaboration between federal agencies--the departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Defense and Interior. Although a number of organizations were involved...
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Nine ways to eliminate bullying

Teaching children to speak to an adult about bullying is one of many suggestions from our readers on how to deal with a bully.

By GreatSchools Staff

Teach children to speak up immediately:

A mother from Alabama writes: "Our daughter attends a local public school. We had a difficult time with bullies in first grade late last year. The majority of the problem was with two kids terrorizing or ganging up together (a brother and sister) against our 6-year-old on the bus. It started with one of them grabbing her lunch bag and literally helping themselves to whatever they felt like taking from our daughter, whether it was her lunch, snacks, drinks, milk money, etc. Our daughter would not speak up or tell me at all. It went on for a while until she became physically ill and a nurse called me from school. We went outside and talked and I immediately went back to her classroom and talked to her teacher, the boy's teacher, the nurses and then the principal. She handled it immediately by calling the parents while we were in the office. The children went to the time-out room, and I requested my daughter's bus seat be changed and moved closer to the driver. This worked, combined with telling my daughter over and over how wrong it was and that she needed to speak up and tell someone immediately.

"Some advice to other parents: A. Take the time and talk to your kids every day and ask how their day goes and really pay attention. I had no clue until my daughter complained of stomach aches and started requesting I drive her to school. It was very unlike her. B. Don't approach the bullies yourself or get on the bus. Let the school reach out to the parents and go from there. This is the first thing that I learned besides teaching myself to breathe properly again. Do talk to and inform your child's teacher, the nurses and the bullies' teacher. C. Do coach your kids how wrong it is to be picked on and that they aren't doing anything wrong by seeking out their teacher, a counselor, the principal and/or you. They need to understand they are the victim, they are not tattling or being the 'trouble maker' as our daughter thought. D. I bought some books on bullying and donated two copies to the school. I bought extras for us and we read them frequently at home. I also believe that kids have to be taught how to talk nice and be a friend.

"What our school is doing: We have a new principal this year. The school has mini-seminars about bullying, respect, etc. for the kids. But this year our school made up a contract between the school and the students, for each and every student to read and sign. The parents have to read and sign it as well and return it to the schools office. It has a lot of points and good information, but in general, the contract states good behavior will be expected and demanded at all times during the school day. It talks about respect towards the school, the teacher and classmates. The kids must keep their hands and feet to themselves at all times. It talks about misbehavior on a bus may lead to punishment, including suspension and expulsion from school. We have a list of the bus rules. The school's policy handbook was very thick this year and informative. Also, what goes hand-in-hand are the school's motto: "The three R's = respectful, responsible and resourceful." The motto and definitions are on a form and all of the kids had to sign this form and return it to school."

Don't be blind to signs that your child might be being bullied:

The Illinois mother of a seventh-grade boy writes, "I am currently involved in stopping bullying behaviors that are directed at my son. Last year, in his 6th grade year, he was being bullied and I did not know. He had constant headaches, wanted to stay home often, did not want to walk home from school (6 blocks away) and I did not put the scenario together. I took him to the doctor for headaches and thought he just did not want to walk home. When I discovered this year that he was being bullied last year, I was hurt. I felt like I was not a good parent and that my husband should have caught the signs. This year I am not the same mother. There is a bullying prevention program called Olweus that the school has adopted. But no matter how great the program, the child must be willing to tell. Children have a code of silence that is developed through fear and not wanting to tattle. My son is telling me what is going on this time and I have him report it to the teacher. I follow that conversation up because some teachers will drop the ball. I have the assistant principal involved and if it is not resolved immediately, I will involve the principal and then the legal system (press charges) if needed. Our children should not be victimized at school. Schools must have a safe, nurturing, educational environment. Sometimes I wonder at outbreaks of violence in schools around the country and what could have happened differently if the parents were more involved in their children's lives, not only at home, but in school also. How do you stop a bully? It has to be a joint collaboration between parents and the school."

 Implement a school-wide anti-bullying program:

A school official from Texas writes, "This month of October we are kicking off with the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program were all school staff will be trained on how to deal with bullying and it will be awesome as to how we will present it to the teachers, parents, and the students. We are seeing a lot of bullying in our sixth graders and we now are realizing how important it is to begin dealing with this issue. Our second step is to do a school-wide survey to see how many student at one point in their lives have been bullied."

Out the bully:

"My children have been bullied, from being talked to rudely to being pushed down the stairs at school. I think the only satisfactory action is to out the bully, reporting them to the teacher or administration. If the school does not discipline the student then I would take my child out of school. My children have all attended private and public schools and private schools do not allow rudeness, children are taught to treat each other with respect as their teachers model. This has not always been the case in public school, but so far the children have been disciplined satisfactorily."

Volunteer at the school to observe for yourself:

"I am a parent of a 12 year old and a nine year old. Both my children asked me to be yard duty at lunch because of the bullying taking place and I was stunned by some behavior I witnessed. One boy was pulling down a girl's sweats - he likes her and this was his way of showing it. This is bullying. The typical forms of bullying are more common - excluding or labeling. I took the approach of asking the bully if they knew what they were doing, if they were aware of how their actions made the other child feel. This question has worked really, really well. Many kids aren't aware they are "being a bully" and once it's pointed out to them a light bulb seemed to turn on. No one wants to be a bully but perhaps they don't realize they fell into a pattern of bullying to get their way."

Develop a "solution mantra":

A mom from Mississippi writes, "My daughter had a problem with being one as a three-year-old and has also been the victim. We developed a solution mantra we call My Three Options: Talk, Walk, and Tell the Teacher. Talk: Talk to your friend, tell them you don't like what they are doing or you would want them to do something else like share a toy or let you know when they are ready to give someone else a turn, etc. Walk: If talking doesn't work, walk away from the situation/person, find something else to do, someone/something else to play with, etc. Tell the Teacher: If talking and walking do not work, if the person is insistent on giving you a hard time, following you when you walk away, etc. then you get an adult who has some authority involved.

"Every morning my daughter and I talk about what it means to behave or be good in terms of following the classroom/school rules and using her three options and I have seen vast improvements in her behavior at school and in her enjoyment of school. Sometimes we role play too, making funny voices and faces and saying do we talk like this...no. We also have several words and actions clearly identified as unacceptable regardless of the perpetrator such as 'stupid', 'shut up', spitting, and getting in others' personal space whether with our hands or feet or face."

Get the whole school community involved:

A mom from New Jersey writes, "I believe that the whole community is responsible for our children. It is obvious that parents and caregivers are primarily responsible for raising children, however, the community is also responsible for their care and well being.

When parents and caregivers along with teachers and coaches and members of the community, all come together in a basic philosophy to "reach out and connect" with our children we are all one step ahead of the game. The more people that know the child and show the child that there are people who know them and care about them, the more children will reach out for help, victims and more importantly, the bully himself."

A parent's visit to the school can make a difference:

A parent of a 6-year-old writes, "I have a second-grader who was being bullied the first week she started school (this is a new school for her and the young lady that did the bullying). My daughter is well versed in this kind of situation because this is not the first time something like this has happened. She knew to report the problem to her teacher and to the teacher of the little lady that was causing the problem. When that didn't work, because teachers seem to never believe the kids at first, I just went to the school and did as my daughter had previously done. I also let the "bully" see my face and know that I was aware of the situation, without saying, and we haven't had a problem since. I think that a parent's presence, at least at the elementary school level, can scare off a bully in some instances. It seemed to help when the other kid realized that my daughter was not alone."

Some tips from a school counselor:

A licensed school counselor from New Mexico offers this advice: " have found that how the victim acts is a critical factor as to whether the victim continues to get bullied or not. A lot of victims I have helped have tended to be the youngest or smallest in their family or class or for their age. Some have been the biggest or tallest or have some feature that other kids will pick on. As a result the victim may attempt to hide, be less noticeable, walk more slowly, cower, hide under his/her hoodie. Sadly such behaviors often only entice bullying further.

"One of the best defenses against bullying is the one-liner. The trick is in the delivery. For instance if the victim delivers a one-liner without immediately walking away, he/she leaves him/herself open for verbal intimidation. This can attract attention which inevitably leads to people taking sides and an escalation of the situation. A one-liner is something that puts the responsibility back on the one initiating the confrontation, e. g., the victim says "Gee, I'm sorry you are having a really bad day today!" or "What a waste of a good brain!" If the victim can deliver this brief message, immediately walk away with head held high, the bully is usually too surprised or confused to immediately react.

"Bullies are usually victims of bullying themselves, i.e., from older siblings. Encouraging kids to have healthy personal boundaries is the first step to reduce bullying. Educating kids how to communicate appropriately, effectively and respectfully is something school staff and family can do. Ultimately kids need to know that whatever they are feeling, they can confide in a safe environment and trust that someone cares enough to pay attention to what they are saying."

Resource and Links

PTA Parent Newsletter - December 16, 2008, Parent Involvement

Great Schools

Pacers Bullying Site

Stop Bullying Now!

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