Bullying in Middle School
Is it possible to deliver an important message to kids about bullying in schools and at the same time keep them entertained?
This week at the Weatherly Middle School the answer to that question was, undeniably, an overwhelming “Yes” as president of Report Bullying Jim Jordan spoke to students from grades K through 8, about a serious problem in some of our schools today, bullying in schools and what to do about it.
Jim talked not about how to confront a bully, but what to do to keep it from growing into a serious problem. He incorporated a mixture of games, jokes, balloon animals, video, and magic tricks to entertain the students and thus maintain their interest in the real subject of the seminar, how to properly handle the problem of bullying in schools and elsewhere.
He told the students that there are two forms of bullying. They are “direct” bullying and “indirect” bullying. Boys typically do more of the direct bullying which might consist of physical actions such as punching, kicking, throwing things at people, etc. While girls typically do more of the indirect bullying such as gossiping, exclusion, the rude stare, etc.
A bully wants you to feel “small”. A bully tries to make you feel small so that you can feel big. He explained to them that bullying is repetitive, happening over and over and over.
Jim explained to them that they have the power to stop bullying in schools by using a campfire analogy where you need three elements. They are ignition, fuel, and Oxygen. Bullying is the same way. The bully is the “ignitor” in that they start the confrontation. The “fuel” is the victim. The bystanders that allow the bully to do whatever they want are the “Oxygen”. You become the Oxygen when you are complacent and do nothing.
The approach Jim was trying to teach the kids is to be “proactive”, not “reactive”. Reactive means trying to stop a problem after it has already developed while proactive means trying to stop it “before” it develops into a problem. In other words, do not try to confront a bully who is causing trouble as this is being reactive to the problem. Do not confront the bully as they thrive on attention. Instead, be proactive, SPEAK UP! Tell an adult such as a parent, a teacher, or a police officer about it. He stressed to the students that, in this case, telling is not tattling.
The bullying in school assembly was attended by a very good turnout of students. They were enthusiastic and very receptive to his message.
The event was coordinated by the Weatherly Area School District allowing the use of the facilities. Sponsors for this important evening were the Weatherly Community Chest and the American Legion.