Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Elizabeth Lasky , a leader in social work, specializing in bullying, cyberbullying and relationship issues, spoke at a conference in NYC recently. I was struck by her grasp of the bullying issue and her common sense approach.
She works with kids on their own turf and seems to really understand how their world works. Often, there's a disconnect between what an expert will advise and what really works for kids.
The reason I followed up with her is that while she was on the panel, she said that she asks kids to write down on a piece of paper the name of the person they would go talk to if they had an issue.
In other words, who would be their Go-To Adult? This is key. You can't advise kids to talk to a trusted adult when they haven't thought of who that person would be or if that person doesn't have the tools to be the "trusted adult."
Liz kindly contributed her tips to our Be the One Go-To Adult Campaign. She kept them simple but powerful:
5 TIPS FOR THE GO-TO PARENT
1. TALK TO YOUR KIDS!
2. Treat your kids as the expert!
3. Be supportive. If there’s a problem, work together patiently.
4. Promote good digital citizenship.
5. Seek help – help your child create a web of support.
5 TIPS FOR THE GO-TO TEACHER
1. Get to know your school policy
2. If you see bullying, INTERVENE IMMEDIATELY
3. Report the incident to the right person
4. Make your classroom a safe place that embraces tolerance and respect.
5. As a follow up, check in with all students after any incident.
One that is not often discussed is if you're a teacher, 1.)"Get to know your school policy."
Believe it or not, many principals don't know their school policy...or if they have one. If the school isn't clear about a bullying policy, help them. Do a little research and find out what other schools are doing. Some states, such as Massachusetts and New Jersey have public school policies in place by law (and I'm a little on the fence about them). But what about the other states...and what about private and/or parochial schools?
This is an area where parents and teachers can make a huge contribution by being an advocate. Don't get mad. Do something.