Tangled Ball would like to clear up a few misconceptions for all elementary schools who are reluctant to step in when it comes to bullying prevention. (Prevention being the key word here -- meaning taking measures so something doesn't happen.)
This is what it isn't:
• It's not admitting that you have a problem.
• It's not taking away from "teaching" time.
• It doesn't have to hurt your budget.
• It doesn't have to be a "downer."
First, bullying happens at EVERY school and starts young. That is in no way blaming the school. Schools are full of people -- small and big -- who come with their own personalities and their own learned behavior. Bullying happens. No guilt necessary, unless, of course, you don't recognize this basic fact and step up to help dial it down.
There are countless of creative ways to introduce bullying prevention messages in core curriculum. If you want some suggestions, just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
• There are great free resources out there for schools and parents.
• It can be empowering and fun and positive. As a matter of fact, when you start prevention campaigns as early as Pre-K and upwards through elementary, it better be somewhat fun or it won't stick.
So to all those great principals out there who put their own ego aside and say,
Heck, yea, this is a problem and I'm not going to sit by and pretend it doesn't happen. I'm going to at least try to send the message in school that everyone counts.
A toast to you! You're awesome and the kids in your care are lucky. (I have to give a shout out to Mrs. Theresa Signorile at Our Lady Queen of Peace on Staten Island. She's a great example of stepping up for her students. The smiling happy kids in the picture above are part of the OLQP Leadership Campaign. The Be the One project includes the entire school and it's focus is to create a partnership between upper and lower grades to teach respect. Respect is the anti-bully.)
If you're a parent reading this, assist your school by doing a little research and helping the administration and teachers organize and implement a bullying prevention plan. Schools can always use an assist.
PTO Today is a one of the good resources out there supporting the parent/school relationship. It's a win-win.
And if you're a parent or principal and you're reading this and rolling your eyeballs and saying, "This is delusional. None of these things are going to solve the problem." You're half right. The problem will probably never be solved per se, but it may improve, and if a handful of kids don't end up carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders because you made an effort, is it still worth it? I'll let you answer that yourself.