Monday, August 31, 2009 | Bullying

August 28, 2009 at 9:23 am | Posted in Coming Up | 12 Comments

Students are settling in for a new school year all over the region but it will be an unsettling year for the 38 percent of North Carolina students who report being bullied on more than one occasion. The Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice wants to reduce or eliminate bullying in schools and they join us to share some ideas. We’ll also meet a former bully and a victim of chronic bullying to hear their stories.

Lacey Williams
– Program Coordinator, Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice
Jose Hernandez-Paris – Diversity Specialist, Family and Community Services at CMS
Stan Davis – School Counselor, Author of Schools Where Everyone Belongs

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  1. Bullying is abuse, intentional and repetitive. We need to look at the origins of bullying in every bullying situation. No child was born a victim or a bully. We also need a more concentrated effort that allows and assists bystanders to feel safe and become more proactive.

  2. For over ten years, the North Carolina Outward Bound School has partnered with public school systems, such as CMS, on its Unity Project, an annual program designed to combat bullying in secondary schools by creating an environment where students are “taken out of their element” and encouraged to trust and support one another as a team. Earlier this month, I was privileged to see 48 students from Vance, Phillip O. Berry, Butler and Myers Park High Schools leave for the wilderness portion of their experience, where they spent 5 days in the Pisgah National Forest under the supervision of NCOBS instructors. For some of these students, this was their first trip away from home and for many it was their first experience in the wilderness. Many of them were interacting with each other for the first time.

    Over the next five days, the students were broken into “crews” or teams and, with the oversight of NCOBS, worked together to make and break camp, prepare meals, negotiate obstacles and, find their way from point A to point B in the forest. In the process, the barriers between the students fell, the crews gelled, trust developed and relationships were formed. The students, who barely knew each other at the start of the trip, supported one another and helped each other succeed.

    Since its inception in 1967, one of NCOBS enduring principles has been “compassion for others.” The students who participate in the Unity Program will be charged with returning to their schools with the goal of spreading that concept through the school, through their leadership, projects and initiatives. It is an uphill climb — students today can be fantastically cynical. However, every strong tree starts with a well planted sapling, rain and good soil. I believe that these students represent that sapling and that the rain and soil are the partnership between CMS and NCOBS.

    There is no realistic way to stamp out bullying in schools or anywhere. However, if we create an school environment where it is “cool” to be empathetic to others, where student leaders stand up for the weakest rather than turn a blind eye to bullying and intimidation and where students are more trusting of one another, the incidence of bullying will decline. Public/private partnerships, such as the one between CMS and NCOBS, have and will continue to play a role in that process.

  3. Most bullying takes place in poorly supervised situations – they’re not usually obvious to adults. Teachers and administrators need to be sensitive to all situations and highly visible in all places students congregate.

    My frustration as a teacher is finding a bullying situation and having it excused by a parent or administrator as “he’s just teasing” or “that’s just kids”. In my 38 years teaching I find that the worst fights have their origins traced to some kind of intimidation or bullying. Students who don’t feel safe withdraw from active participation in schools and classes or they lash out at their tormentors.

    The reason it is important to protect specific classes of students such as gay and lesbian is to force teachers and administrators to deal with all bullying incidents, not just those that they perceive as important.

    A few years ago I taught a student who had attended Columbine High School the year before the horrific incident there. She reported an acceptance of bullying and the “jock culture” was pervasive.

    CMS has an opportunity to take a lead, help students know that they are safe and secure, and teach civil behavior.

  4. Reduce or eliminate bullying in schools. Character education should be a gradable and credit worthy course from elementry thru high school (honesty, responsibility, etc) I think we are at that point now in our schools

  5. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the ED of Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice and I am so grateful that Mike Collins did this show. At this time, when there are so many unmet materials needs in our community, it would be easy to ignore this issue. But bullying has such grave consequences – truancy, poor grades, dropping-out, depression, drug and alcohol use, suicide and more – that we must all be grateful. We also need to recognize how much we as adults help perpetuate this problem. Every comment we make about an issue in the news, every conversation at the dinner table, every behavior we manifest towards someone who is different from us tells our children how they should feel and think about others. Children do listen to and more importantly observe their parents and others adult role models. The issues that we struggle with in our community are the ones that inform how our children relate to one another. Race, gender, economic status, religion, sexual orientation and ability status all have deep-rooted stereotypes attached to them and still all too often determine an individual’s lot in life. Beauty and material wealth are the cornerstones of popular culture. And how we process these things, from the dinner table to the boardroom to the electoral platform to the legislature is absorbed by our children. It is no accident that when the societal focus on immigration intensified, the plight of Latino children in our schools worsened, or that when the issue of marriage for same-sex couples made the ‘front page’ it was reflected in the taunts in our school corridors. And our endless fascination with the rich, ‘beautiful’ and famous sets a horrible example of what is valuable in our society.

    When it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion, we as individuals and as a community have to do a much better job for our children of challenging bigotry and modeling respectful behavior. It takes a village to raise a child – let’s get on with it Charlotte! CCSJ and other organizations addressing this issue need your help.

  6. Want to stop the bullying?

    Document bullying with audio and video.

    See a lawyer.

    Schools are liable for the welfare of the children in their care.

    What does anyone expect when hatred against some groups is preached to the children from the time they are babies in area churches.

    Doesn’t God hate specific minorities?

    • “Doesn’t God hate specific minorities?”

      According to Obama’s “spiritual mentor” Rev. Wright God isn’t all that fond of whites.

  7. I think that Columbine High School should be recalled. After the shooting, the community seemed in denial or oblivious that it was the direct outcome of the atmosphere of bulling. Was not a situation of perpetrators and victims, but an explosion of an incompatible situation. But now this discussion is about recognizing and facing this reality. Finally – and very necessary. As in Columbine, it may be suspected that there is a community social basis beyond school underlying this problem. From my perspective, because, as it is discussed it is so immensely complex, that the solution will be a completely new approach that will dissolve the obstruction to normal development: to dissolve stress that eclipses and disallows harmony and order. Cannot be solved on the level of thought, speech, and behavior

  8. People are bullied daily by media. I can’t believe the violence against women that is promoted by songs like Solja Boy and Don’t Trust a Ho both songs that are played on the radio and to my disgust at the YMCA where I work out. A cultural shift of kindness is needed. Would the same people singing these songs want their own children to be bullied? Why does our culture consume bullying as entertainment?
    I would like to hear a show on media and bullying.

  9. […] Charlotte talks did one them old-fashioned radio shows about a time honored childhood tradition.  MiniFail Supplement: listen to at least the first five minutes of this. I’m telling you […]

  10. FYI, the download is broken for the RSS feed of this podcast.

  11. […] on Charlotte Talks —- Bullying Discussion on Bullying on Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins Take a listen & help stop bullying in schools, workplaces, homes, etc. Do your part to help our […]

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