Photo: Bullying in School
“This week marks the first time the government is paying attention to how kids treat other kids.” commented Dr. Susan Lipkins, NY child psychologist and expert on bullying prevention. “Up until know we’ve had laws and attention for inappropriate treatment of adults by other adults or of children by adults. But today, the White House put a face on a big problem—bullying. The fact that the president, himself, has raised this issue is an enormous step in preventing bullying.”
The White House welcomed students, parents, and teachers to the White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention to encourage organizations nationwide to join together to combat bullying. It was also announced that the CDC would be conducting research on the topic; that organizations such as Facebook and the Cartoon Network are implementing anti-bullying campaigns; and that a new website would act as a portal www.stopbullying.gov.
Dr. Lipkins, who has addressed this serious issue with Oprah as well as on numerous other national mediums, is ecstatic with these announcements. This is a huge step to help prevent bullying. Lipkins teaches bully prevention to teachers, administrators and counselors, along with school principal, Dr. Karen Siris.
“Our culture has gotten out of control. It’s no longer ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘tattling’—bystanders need to become upstanders and report. Slowly but surely through our education series and government efforts, systems will become the norm where any child can feel comfortable reporting and stopping bullying,” added Lipkins.
Their conference entitled: Bullying Prevention: Psychological and Educational Strategies discusses the recently passed “Dignity for All Students Act” which requires all schools in NY to have a bully intervention plan and a bully expert in each school by 2012. Key issues they cover include:
—The creation of “Bully Intervention Teams” for each school. Such groups will create appropriate policy and develop consequences for incidents of harassment and bullying.
—The training of superintendents, teachers, aides, bus drivers, the custodial staff, as well as parents and students so that each person will have the ability to recognize bullying, report it to the appropriate authority and when possible, stop it.
—The creation of reporting systems; with appropriately trained specialists to interview those who have been bullied, and with a reward system for those who are brave enough to report or intervene. Training groups of students to be “upstanders” rather than bystanders.