|May 31, 2012|
Schools reexamine bullying policies
Bullying is one of the more prolific problems that schools face, with high-profile instances being addressed every day - often accompanied by extensive media coverage. As such, it is also one of the top areas that many schools focus on improving, reducing occurrences of the phenomenon and making learning safer for everyone, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. While some schools focus on teaching students the facts about bullying or increasing punishments for bullies, others take a different approach.
Even politicians are not immune to the effects of bullying, according to the Stroud News & Journal. Debbie Young, a district councillor in Chalford, England, recently pulled her eight-year old daughter from her school after the girl was stabbed with a pencil. According to the report, the girl had been bullied for some time before the concerned mother removed her from the school in order to avoid more issues.
According to The Grove Examiner, a new bullying program focuses on educating children through empathy. Called Roots of Empathy, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to building more caring, peaceful and civil communities. The group works with schools, running nine-month programs to help teach empathy to students - something that is very difficult to impart through traditional instruction - by bringing in infants and the mothers and demonstrating to students how these new parents interact, and allowing the children to interact with them as well. The children are taught to recognize emotions and communication in a young infant once a month.
"Empathy is kind of hard to teach," Beverley Barker, the Family and Community Support development coordinator for the City of Spruce Grove, told the news source. "But it’s taught through role modeling because a baby is the most vulnerable creature to a child. The kids get to see the loving relationship between mom and the baby and how the parent is able to respond to and regulate the baby’s emotions. Empathy is born when the kids gain understanding and are able to describe their own feelings and relate to the feelings of others."
The visits with the infants are designed to not only show empathy, but an example of the love and bond between two human beings, according to the news source.
Schools can also implement improved communications to assist with anti-bullying solutions, such as uTip, the Bully Buster. Powered by e2Campus, uTip provides a reliable and anonymous way for students to report a bullying incident to school authorities using their own cellphone. This not only can help improve overall school security, but gives students a safe way to help, without putting themselves in danger of retribution from the bully, by remaining incognito.