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Archive for the ‘Bullying’ Category

Bullying of LGBT Students: What Schools Need to Know and What They Can Do

Nearly thirty percent of all students in grades 6-12 experience bullying. While that percentage is unacceptably high, it pales in comparison to the percentage of LGBT students who are bullied. According to GLSEN’s School Climate Survey, nearly seventy five percent—fully three quarters of all LGBT students— reported being verbally bullied (the most common form of bullying). LGBT students also experience higher rates of other types of bullying than their peers due to their sexual orientation and/or gender expression. An astonishing thirty to forty percent of LGBT students have attempted suicide.

Although school should be a safe place for all students, over half of LGBT students experienced not only bullying, but also discriminatory school policies and practices. The majority of LGBT students who were harassed in school did not report it, and of those who did, only one third said that staff effectively addressed the issue.

Bullying Prevention Book of Lists - Kenneth Shore

The problem is clear: LGBT students feel physically and emotionally unsafe at school. The solution, however, is multifaceted. Schools must understand the issues facing LGBT students, including the increased risk of verbal harassment, physical assault, and other forms of bullying, such as cyberbullying. They need to ensure all of their policies and practices are inclusive and do not discriminate against LGBT students. Their anti-bullying policies should specifically prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual identity or gender expression. All staff must know how to respond immediately and effectively when bullying does take place or when an LGBT appears to be struggling.

Additionally, schools need to take steps to cultivate a welcome and inclusive environment. This includes things such as utilizing curricula that are inclusive of LGBT-related topics and that teach positive representations of LGBT people and events, encouraging and supporting a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) for LGBT students and straight allies, and participating in events such as Ally Week and No Name-Calling Week to affirm acceptance of and support for all students.

The newly released Bullying Prevention Book of Lists by Dr. Kenneth Shore includes a chapter on bullying of LGBT students. It offers strategies and resources for preventing bullying and protecting LGBT students, and creating a positive and inclusive school climate.

Click the Image Below to get the FREE Infographic

The download below includes statistics as well as details on where to find comprehensive information on the topic of bullying prevention and LGBT students.

Free Infographic - Bullying of LGBT Students

Bullying Prevention Month Strategies and Resources for Teachers, Administrators and Paraprofessionals

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, with 2016 marking the 10th anniversary of this annual campaign against bullying. Over the past 10 years, increased public awareness of the epidemic of bullying in schools and online has given rise to significant developments. In recent years, state after state has adopted bullying prevention legislation. As of April 2016, when the “Bully Free Montana Act” was signed into law, every state in the nation has a bullying prevention law. The laws require school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies, but specific provisions vary from state to state.

This progress at the state and local level is encouraging, demonstrating a commitment to addressing all incidents of bullying and sending a message that bullying will not be tolerated. However at the classroom level, teachers do not always know how to promote bullying prevention in practical and meaningful ways. The new book The Bullying Prevention Book of Lists by Kenneth Shore, is a valuable resource for all school staff, including administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals. It outlines critical facts about bullying, identifies unique considerations for special populations, reviews best-practices, and offers practical strategies for preventing and responding to bullying. Additionally, the book guides readers to useful online resources.

The FREE download below provides links to sites that will help teachers develop bullying-related lesson plans and classroom activities. This list, along with dozens of others, can be found in The Bullying Prevention Book of Lists: A Practical, Easy-to-Use Guide for All School Staff.

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Bullying Prevention Resources

Stay tuned, more great free downloads, and infographics from www.NPRinc.com are coming your way! Want to receive free resources in your inbox? Join our exclusive offers list today!

Did You Know? 5 Facts About Bullying [Infographic]

There is not an educator in America today for whom bullying is not a concern and bullying prevention is not a responsibility. In this infographic, we outline the most common types of bullying, as well as identify some hard to believe statistics about bullying in schools.

bullying prevention infographic - 5 Facts About Bullying

The Bullying Prevention Book of Lists

In his new book, The Bullying Prevention Book of Lists: A Practical, Easy-to-Use Guide for All School Staff, Dr. Kenneth Shore presents need-to-know information on the various types of bullying and offers practical and realistic strategies for responding to bullying incidents and preventing them. Designed to provide school administrators, teachers, and support with quick access to key information and practical strategies. Order your copy today for just $12.95 at www.NPRinc.com.

Stay tuned, more great infographics from www.NPRinc.com are coming your way! Want to receive free resources in your inbox? Join our exclusive offers list today!

Bullying Prevention Tools & Resources for Educators

Bullying Prevention Resources for Teachers

Today, October 31st, marks the end of yet another Bullying Prevention Month. As we head into November, let’s not forget that bullying is still a serious issue and problem in schools throughout America. Luckily, there are some great bullying prevention resources available to educators, administrators, parents and students.

We thought we’d take this final day, to share some of the best bullying prevention resources that cover the following topics:

  • Understanding bullying
  • Understanding cyberbullying
  • Bullying in Schools
  • Understanding the Bully
  • How to identify the warning signs of bullying
  • How to respond to bullying
  • How to Talk About Bullying
  • What to do if your child is being bullied
  • What to do if your child is a bully

At www.nprinc.com there are a number of bullying prevention books, guides, posters, and DVDs, which you can order online!

Some of our best-selling bullying resources include:

Suicide Prevention: Make it a Priority Today and Every Day

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Today, September 10, is the eleventh annual World Suicide Prevention Day.

Did you know:

  • Almost 1 million people worldwide die from suicide each year–the rough equivalent of one suicide every 40 seconds.
  • Suicide is second leading cause of death among people aged 15-44 years, and is one of the top three causes of death among people 15-44 years old.
  • Suicide rates are highest among persons 70-years old and above.
  • Globally, suicides account for 50% of all violent deaths in men and 71% of violent deaths in women.
  • For each adult who died of suicide there are more than 20 who attempted suicide.
  • Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.
  • Social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, having strong human bonds can be protective against it.
  • Easy access to a means of suicide – such as pesticides or firearms – can mean the difference between life and death.
  • A prior suicide attempt is the most important risk factor for suicide.
  • Though there has been a trend toward decriminalization, in some counties suicide is still illegal, making it more difficult for those at risk to seek help.

A wealth of resources on preventing suicide can be found on the website of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Of particular note for educators are the following reports, which focus on this year’s theme, “One World Connected:”

  • Connectedness & suicide prevention in college settings
  • Connectedness and Suicide Prevention in Adolescents: Pathways and Implications
  • Connectedness Is Key to Preventing Suicide Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth
  • Fostering School Connectedness: Staff Development Program
  • Peer Involvement in Campus-Based Suicide Prevention: Key Considerations
  • School Connectedness – It matters to student health

These reports and many others can be found at http://www.iasp.info/resources/World_Suicide_Prevention_Day/2014/Connectedness__Mental_Health_and_Suicide_Prevention/.

girl-kneesAdditionally, National Professional Resources carries a wide variety of resources for educators that can help with suicide prevention efforts, including quick-reference laminated guides, books, and videos on topics such as

Finally, in conjunction with Wold Suicide Prevention Day, the World Health Organization has just released the World Suicide Report, “Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative.” It can be accessed at http://www.who.int/mental_health/suicide-prevention/world_report_2014/en/. The report, which is available in multiple languages, provides a global knowledge base on suicide and suicide attempts as well as actionable steps for countries based on their current resources and context to move forward in suicide prevention.

More Than Just Pranks: Stopping Bullying of Students with Disabilities

School is now back in session in districts across the country. Unfortunately, a return to school also means a return to being bullied for many students, especially students with disabilities. Last week a particularly heinous example of bullying of a student with special needs was widely disseminated in a viral video of a student with autism whose peers told him he was nominated to take the ALS ice bucket challenge and proceeded to dump a bucket of urine and feces (instead of ice water) on his head.

schoolyard-bullyingWe would all like to believe that this outrageous case is an outlier, but the truth is, students with disabilities are frequently the targets of bullies. In fact, they are estimated to be two to three times as likely to be the victims of bullying as their same-aged peers. As the “ice bucket” prank demonstrates, bullying can take a variety of forms. It is not limited to physical violence; indeed, as the “ice bucket” incident so painfully shows, other forms of bullying such as humiliating (through cruel pranks, making a student the butt of jokes, name calling, etc.) or ostracizing someone, can be even more traumatic than physical assault.

While it will come as no surprise to those who work in the schools that students with disabilities are frequent targets of bullying, it is less well known that students with certain disabilities-especially ADHD, emotional/developmental disabilities, and learning disabilities-are more likely to perpetrate bullying than their non-disabled peers.

Bullying-prevention-students-with-disabilities-layout-BPSDAlthough bullying disproportionately affects students with disabilities, educators and school personnel have a variety of powerful tools available to them for stopping and preventing bullying of students with disabilities. One of the most powerful tools is the IEP (individual education program). If behaviors or skills deficits related to a student’s disability are contributing to the child being bullied or bullying others, evidence-based interventions and additional supports can be incorporated into the student’s IEP.

Dr. Kenneth Shore, an authority on bullying prevention, has written the quick-reference laminated guide Bullying Prevention for Students with Disabilities to help educators-including principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and other school staff-recognize, respond to, and prevent bullying of students with special needs. It also offers guidance on promoting social competence, and creating a positive and safe classroom and school climate, which benefits all students. The guide, published by National Professional Resources, is available at http://www.nprinc.com/bullying-prevention-for-students-with-disabilities/.

Using the IEP as a Bullying Prevention Tool

kenneth-shoreThe following is a guest post by Dr. Kenneth Shore. He is a child and family therapist, school psychologist and author. His NPR, Inc. publications include the book The ABCs of Bullying Prevention and the laminated reference guides, An Educator’s Guide to Bullying Prevention; Classroom Management: A Guide for Elementary Teachers; A Teacher’s Guide to Working With Parentsand A Parent’s Guide to Working With Teachers. He is working on a new laminated guide for educators on the topic of addressing bullying of students with disabilities.

His website is http://drkennethshore.nprinc.com/.

 

How to Protect Students with Disabilities from Bullying Using the IEP

Students with special needs are at high risk for being bullied. Studies have consistently found that children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than children who are not disabled. Moreover, their physical, intellectual, emotional or learning disabilities may impede their ability to respond effectively to the bullying. As a result, schools must be especially attentive to the bullying of special education students.

School staff have various resources they can use to lessen the likelihood of bullying. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an especially useful tool for responding to the bullying of a student with special needs.

The IEP is a document that is required by federal law to be developed and implemented for all special education students. It describes in detail a program of individualized instruction, services and supports for students with disabilities. Developed by school staff and parents, the IEP is intended to address academic, behavioral and social concerns. Because bullying can affect the child’s academic performance and social adjustment, it is an issue that schools should address in the IEP of a student who is being bullied.

If you are looking to address a bullying concern by building some safeguards into the IEP, the following questions may help you determine what to include in this document:

  • Do staff need to be assigned to monitor the student in areas of the school where he is especially at risk of being bullied?
  • Which staff members need to be informed of the bullying situation so they can monitor and prevent its occurrence?
  • Do any staff members involved with the student require training in bullying prevention?
  • What goals and objectives are appropriate for the school staff to work on as a way of enhancing the child’s social and assertiveness skills?
  • Does the student need any related services such as counseling to give him skills for dealing with the bullying?
  • Might the student be considered for a social skills group in school to help improve his ability to interact with peers?
  • Would the student benefit from any services outside of school (for example, counseling with an outside agency) to help him deal with the bullying?
  • What classroom accommodations and modifications are needed to help lessen the likelihood of the student’s bullying? For example,
    • Minimizing contact between the bully and the victim;IEP
    • Seating the student in class next to a supportive, friendly student;
    • Making sure the student has someone to sit with during lunch;
    • Allowing the student to leave class when he is upset to see a counselor.
  • What strategies can school staff use to promote the child’s social skills and self-advocacy ability?
  • What strategies can be implemented in the school to help the student become more integrated with and accepted by his classmates?
  • What steps can parents take to support their child relating to the bullying?
  • What arrangements can be made for school staff and parents to communicate on a regular basis regarding the bullying?

The IEP describes a program that the school is legally required to implement. In this way, including bullying prevention safeguards in the IEP gives the IEP development team—made up of the parent, a regular-education teacher, the special-education teacher, the case manager and, where appropriate, the student—considerable power and leverage in dealing with the bullying situation. The IEP meeting might, in addition, include other school staff who are in a position to deal with the bullying, such as a physical education teacher or a playground aide.  Similarly, the student might also be invited to this meeting. The older the student, the more likely he will be able to contribute meaningfully to the development of anti-bullying practices.

In this way, addressing bullying in a student’s IEP builds in a system for the key people in the child’s school life to meet and agree on a set of practices to prevent bullying incidents.

 

A Shameful Lesson in Character Education

Washington-capitol-buildingCharacter education is a concept that has been widely embraced in this country by educators, parents– even the federal government, which for years has promoted character education programs in our nation’s schools. The idea that a child’s education should involve not just learning academics, but also learning certain core virtues that are the basis of good character seems like a no-brainer. Children who possess character traits such as honesty, integrity, perseverance, respect, caring and fairness tend to be happier, do better in school, and be more successful as adults.

Recently, schools have turned to character education and related programs such as social emotional learning (SEL) in order to combat the problem of bullying in schools (and cyberbullying from home–or anyplace). It’s only logical: helping kids develop empathy, respect and an appreciation for the “golden rule” (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) should naturally lead to a decrease in bullying behaviors. And so educators spend time and effort developing and implementing character education or social emotional learning programs in schools to explicitly teach students character virtues and help them develop good character.

But everyone knows that children learn just as much, if not more, from what they see/hear/experience outside of school as from what they are taught in school. Perhaps more than anything, children learn from example. So, it’s worthwhile to consider the example we, as a society, are setting for kids. Are we demonstrating the character virtues we seek to impart through character education?

Look at Washington– and how can you not these days? The airwaves are currently saturated with blow-by-blow coverage of the budget showdown and resultant government shutdown. Congressmen and senators, vying for the media spotlight, seek to outdo one another with hostile and inflammatory rhetoric– not just about the other party, but about individuals, as well. What we see from Washington these days are not reasoned policy debates or principled disagreements; rather, we see our elected officials almost gleefully tearing into one another, exhibiting the utmost disrespect for one another, for the citizens they represent, and for the stature of their office.

On television, partisan “pundits” echo and often amp up the rhetoric coming out of Washington. TV “news” anchors relentlessly bait the most outrageous guests they can book, eager to elicit a headline-making put-down. Though it’s hard for any put-down to make headlines at a time when it has become routine for politicians refer to the opposing party as Nazi’s, terrorists, traitors, hostage takers, wife beaters, lunatics, frauds (and the list, of course, goes on).

Even more troubling than the rhetoric coming out of Washington is the unparalleled dysfunction of the government– a consequence of the fact that our leaders cannot work together to carry out the most basic responsibilities of government: to pay our nation’s bills and set a budget.

By all accounts, this time is different. It’s not just rhetoric. The animosity and bitterness between two parties and individuals within them is making cooperation and compromise impossible. In a recent article in the Washington Post, entitled “Some say bitter rift between McConnell and Reid could endanger deal,” it was reported of the two Senate leaders: “On the Senate floor, their rhetoric has grown so heated that their colleagues recently held the equivalent of an intervention. Off the floor, their relationship has been marked by personal slight.” And, “Reid and McConnell’s relationship has been so poor in recent months that they have used intermediaries to negotiate.”

Here we have two of the most powerful individuals in the nation who literally cannot sit down with one another to do business– and apparently are not even trusted to be in the same room together. There is no trust, no respect, no basis for cooperation, and a shameful lack of integrity all around. The Senate chaplain has recently prayed to deliver members of Congress from hypocrisy and ‘stubborn pride.’ Until his prayers are answered, what kind of lesson in character education do we–through our elected officials in Washington– offer to our children?

 

Bullying of Students with Disabilities: New Guidance for Schools from DOE’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

No Bullying: Safe Schools for All!Just prior to the start of the current school year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” to schools nationwide that provides guidance on the matter of bullying of students with disabilities and makes clear that any form of bullying of a student with a disability can constitute a violation of federal law.

Disability rights advocates have hailed the letter as a significant step forward in protecting students with disabilities from bullying. More than simply outlining a school district’s responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to address bullying of students with disabilities, the letter is significant because, in the words of the NY State School Boards Association, “The Dear Colleague letter represents DOE’s interpretation of school districts’ responsibilities to prevent and remedy bullying that targets disabled students. It can influence judicial thinking when lawsuits arise claiming that a school district denied a student’s IDEA rights based on bullying.”

Along with the Dear Colleague letter, OSERS also published an Enclosure that outlines effective evidence-based practices for addressing bulling. In addition to recommending embedding efforts to prevent and address bullying behavior within a multitiered behavioral framework, the enclosure emphasizes schools’ legal obligations, stating: “Harassment against a student on the basis of disability and retaliation against any student or other person are also prohibited under Section 504, Title II, and other Federal civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.”

We wanted to write a post to bring this important, but under-circulated Dear Colleague Letter/position statement to our readers’ attention, summarize its contents, and provide an overview of the accompanying Enclosure document by OSERS that outlines effective evidence-based practices for addressing bullying. Links to the full documents are provided for those who wish to read the publications in their entirety.

U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Dear Colleague Letter on Keeping Students with Disabilities Safe from Bullying

Noting that “children with disabilities are disproportionately affected by bullying,” the Dear Colleague Letter reminds schools that “under IDEA, States and school districts are obligated to ensure that students with disabilities receive FAPE in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Schools are advised that when a student with a disability experiences bullying, the appropriate response is:

  • Convene the IEP Team… to determine whether the student’s needs have changed as a result of the effects of the bullying.
  • Determine the extent to which additional or different services are needed to address the student’s individual needs if the IEP is no longer designed to provide meaningful educational benefit as a result of the effects of the bullying; and revise the IEP accordingly.

However, the letter urges schools to “exercise caution when considering a change in the placement or the location of services provided to the student with a disability who was the target of the bullying behavior and should keep the student in the original placement unless the student can no longer receive FAPE in the current LRE placement…. placement teams should be aware the certain changes to the education program of a student with a disability may constitute the denial of the IDEA’s requirement that the school provide FAPE in the LRE.”

Enclosure on Bullying of Students with Disabilities

The Enclosure accompanying OSERS Dear Colleague Letter recommends using a multitiered behavior framework to plan, implement, and evaluate evidence-based instruction and interventions to address bullying of students with disabilities. It points to Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions (PBIS) as one example of a multitiered behavior framework that school personnel can use for this purpose.

The document states:

“By outlining a comprehensive school-wide approach with multitiered instruction and intervention, schools work to create school cultures that prevent the development and reduce the occurrence of bullying.  In addition, schools are prepared to respond to problematic behavior using a team-based, data-driven problem-solving process when needed.”

The Enclosure then identifies eight practices found in many effective, evidence-based behavioral prevention and intervention school-wide frameworks. These are:

    • Teach appropriate behaviors and how to respond. Specifically, teach school staff and students
      • What behaviors are expected at school and during school activities;
      • What bullying looks like; and
      • How to appropriately respond to bullying.
    • Provide active adult supervision, especially in common areas.
      • Teach and model appropriate behavior;
      • Notice & reward appropriate behavior;
      • Intervene early before problems escalate.
    • Train and provide ongoing support for staff and students.
      • Provide school personnel with training, ongoing professional development, and support, including coaching, to all personnel on the use of effective evidence-based strategies for responding to inappropriate behavior, including bullying, as well as evidence-based instruction and classroom management practices.
      • Include specific training on recognizing the different forms of bullying that may be directed at students with disabilities, and the unique vulnerabilities these students may have to social isolation, manipulation, conditional friendships, and exploitive behaviors.
      • Provide staff with clear guidance on legal requirements, policy, and practice implications for students with disabilities.
      • All students should receive clear, explicit instruction on how to respond to and report bullying.  For students with disabilities, instruction on how to respond to and report bullying needs to be provided in a manner consistent with their IEPs and any accommodations that are provided to support learning.
    • Develop and implement clear policies to address bullying.
      • Develop & widely disseminate clear policies and procedures, consistent with Federal, State, and local laws, to prevent and appropriately address bullying of students, including students with disabilities.
      • Train parents and staff on school policies.
      • Published policies & procedures must be accessible to students with disabilities.
      • When bullying occurs, staff need to respond quickly, in accordance with school policies and procedures, and document the response in writing.
    • Monitor and track bullying behaviors.
      • Collect and analyze data on bullying behaviors from multiple sources (including student surveys) to: (a) Obtain a clear picture of what is happening in school and school activities; (b) Guide planning of prevention, instruction, and intervention efforts; and (c) Inform decision making on the effectiveness of current policies and practices over time.
    • Notify parents when bullying occurs.
      • Inform the parents or guardians of both the student who was the target of bullying behavior and the student who engaged in the bullying behavior using clear and accurate communication.
    • Address ongoing concerns.
      • School personnel should use data measuring an individual student’s responsiveness to antibullying instruction and intervention to determine the need for continued, more intensive, and specialized assistance for each student.
      • Interventions may include :  (a) More focused social skills instruction; (b) Frequent, specific feedback on their behavior, or (c) Increased adult engagement.
    • Sustain bullying prevention efforts over time.
      • Prevention of bullying should be ongoing, and accepted as an integral component of the school’s overall behavioral framework that delineates a school’s environment and routine operation.
For additional information and resources on addressing bullying of students with disabilities, the Department of Education Recommends the following:
      Department of Education website
      StopBullying.gov 
      It Gets Better

Also, browse NPR, Inc.’s comprehensive selection of resources on bullying prevention.