For a second year, Siskin Children’s Institute and Creative Discovery Museum are teaming up to offer a seminar for school administrators addressing an issue that remains a problem for children in the area. Combating Bullying in Your School is presented as part of the Kids Like You, Kids Like Me program, sponsored by Unum. The seminar will share national research and best practices on bullying prevention.
Bullying is a major public health problem for the nation’s school age children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth violence researchers from the CDC say that “current estimates suggest that nearly 30 percent of American adolescents reported at least moderate bullying experiences as the bully, the victim or both.”
The free day-long workshop on May 5 at Siskin Children’s Institute will feature Andy Horne, Ph.D., cean of the College of Education at the University of Georgia, who has been involved in the field of addressing child and family aggression for more than two decades. Dr. Horne has authored several books designed to help the adults in a child’s life recognize and prevent bullying.
Dr. Horne will be joined by University of Georgia psychology doctoral student Katherine Raczynski. Ms. Raczynski has nearly a decade of experience in bullying prevention having been a facilitator for numerous student and teacher anti-bullying groups.
“Bullying has been, and continues to be, a major problem for our children,” Dr. Horne said. “While many of us can certainly remember being targets of bullying in our own youth, bullying looks very different today. Unfortunately, it has become more intense, more aggressive and more potentially damaging to our children’s overall well-being.”
“Today’s technology has put an unprecedented new twist on bullying, taking it far beyond the hallways, playground and cafeteria,” said Julie Mickel, Siskin Children’s Institute outreach specialist. “Cyberbullying through text messages, Facebook and other online social media is making it even more difficult for children to escape bullying. That’s why we think it’s so important to continue offering school administrators information on this subject annually.”
Dr. Horne and Ms. Raczynski will help administrators:
• evaluate their school climates;
• define, recognize and assess bullying;
• recognize differences in bullying across school years;
• identify critical components in a bully prevention plan;
• implement practical strategies for reducing bullying; and
• write an effective bullying policy for each school.
“Teachers and schools are in a powerful position to make positive changes,” Dr. Horne said. “To be most successful, they need to take a proactive, strength-based, preventative approach. Addressing bullying head on goes a long way toward letting students know that their concerns truly matter and that their school administrators value the goal of making the school a safe and productive learning environment for everyone.”
A 2011 CDC report suggests that bullies, victims and bystanders can experience emotional and behavioral problems into adulthood, including low self-esteem and self-worth, depression, antisocial behavior, vandalism, drug use and abuse, criminal behavior, gang membership and suicide risk. Preventing bullying has far reaching benefits for individual children and for society as a whole.
• 30 percent of American adolescents report being involved in bullying
• 13 percent reported bullying others
• 11 percent reported being the target of bullies
• six percent said that they bullied others and were bullied themselves
• Boys are more likely to engage in physical aggression, while verbal aggression, often called relational aggression, is more common among girls.
• Youth who witness bullying often report increased feelings of guilt or helplessness for not confronting the bully and/or supporting the victim.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.