Bullying in the news

anti-bullying signThe recent suicides of two teenagers has brought school bullying into the national spotlight again, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I was asked to write a story on this troubling subject. The thing is, I don’t want it to be the predictable sort we’ve all read (and I’ve probably written), filled with quotes from experts and advocates and maybe an anecdote or two.

Which is why I’m coming to you. If you’ve been following the school bullying coverage, what has the news media gotten right, and what aspects of the issue have we missed?

How does bullying manifest itself at your school, or outside of school? What do school staff — or other kids — do to stop it, or to keep it from happening in the first place? What doesn’t your school do that it could be doing?

Have you seen the restorative justice approach applied to bullying? How has it worked out?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sue

    I briefly considered suggesting my younger son’s perspective – 8th grade GATE student at Montera. But then I decided that wouldn’t be in his best interests.

    He’s really tall, towering overmost of his classmates, but he’s really slim (I’ve lived with remarks about being anorexic most of my life, but I outweigh him by 10-15 pounds, and I’m 2-3 inches shorter than he is), and he handles himself pretty well socially in spite of his physical appearance making him something of a bully-target.

    When the “mean kids” are trying to pick on or provoke him, he’s thick-skinned enough that they don’t upset him. When we talk about these incidents, he says he feels kind of sorry for the other kid, because he knows that kid is just jealous of him because he’s smarter than they are. And he can talk circles around pretty much anyone, but he doesn’t choose to use some of the best comeback lines I’ve given him, because they could/would provoke a bully to immediately take a swing at him. He’s wise enough to seek the presence of security guards or teachers/other staff if a situation might become physical.

    He’ll sometimes use his verbal abilities to defend his friends from bullying. That’s the level of risk he chooses and is comfortable with, and I respect his judgement. But if his name and views on bullying were published in the Tribune, that might make him a prime target, and I have no wish to put him in that position.

  • Sue

    Oh, and I forgot to mention his 3rd grade “Conflict Resolution Manager” training from Carl B Munck’s anti-bullying programs (I hope they’ve continuted since that was under a previous Munck principal). He still uses the skills he learned back then, and I think they’re still pretty effective for him.

  • Hot r

    Bullying of gay students is a constant problem at the modern high school. But the best defense is a strong offense. That means a “Day of Silence” allowing both gay and sympathetic students to show their solidarity, Leadership classes and clubs to lead by example and most importantly educators to speak to their classes about acceptance and diversity. This constant message guides impressionable students and shames the minority who can’t get past their prejudice and misunderstanding. Of course having a diverse staff puts a face on the fact “it gets better.”

  • Just a Mom

    my 9th grade son pants was pulled down to his ankels. This all happen in front of the school while 50 student saw he was in the car rider area, By a boy who has picked on my son since 7th grade. I have a meeting with the VP in the morning.