Monthly Archives: February 2012

Band hazing can be deadly

By Devyne Lloyd and Allen Martin
Staff writers

Bands are well known for initiations. New members come in under the old members, do as they’re told and at some point they hopefully become full members with full benefits. The continued success of an organization depends on the knowledge, dedication and traditions of its members. However, numerous reports find that collegiate and even high school bands use initiations that involve physical and mental abuse. This is hazing.

Musical instruments on sidewalk

© iStockphoto, Korhan Hasim Tsik

Robert Champion, a former drum major in the band at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, died from shock due to severe blood loss during a hazing ritual for the band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, Inc.,  in 2011. Several FAMU band members were suspended and charged after a girl’s thigh bone was broken in half while they beat her with instruments during another hazing ritual around November 2011. In 2006, the University of Wisconsin band was put on probation after a hazing incident involving alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct during a band trip. That prompted the assistant band director to resign. In 2008, the band was suspended for hazing incidents mirroring what happened in 2006.

In some cases, hazing occurs again and again at a college, even after someone is hurt. Band hazing can also carry from high school to college.

After Champion’s death, an investigation of his former high school in Georgia and 21 other Georgia high schools was launched by the district’s  administration. Two unnamed incidents occurred over the summer and Champion’s death prompted administration to investigate and suspend marching band activities for fear of inappropriate behavior among students.

Can rules stop bullying?

By Leslie Tilson
Staff writer

With each new tragedy, schools react by looking for effective ways to raise awareness and combat bullying within the walls of schools. Some schools implement new policy, but others are left wondering if that is the most effective course of action.
Many schools are implementing school-run programs and seeing results.

One such program is K.A.R.M.A, an initiative to end bullying in schools, founded by Jessica Brookshire, a contestant in the 2009 Miss Alabama pagent. K.A.R.M.A stands for Kids Against Ridicule, Meanness and Aggression. Brookshire says that her program began as a grassroots effort in Alabama schools and it is now her “dream that one day we will see a generation of children who encourage and help one another rather than tear each other down with words.”

Part of the program includes Brookshire educating students on how to ‘stand S.T.R.O.N.G.’ against bullies. Participants sign a pledge card stating that they will take action if they are a target witness of bullying. The acronym S.T.R.O.N.G stands for:

Say something.
Tell an adult.
Respect the feelings of others.
Offer a helping hand if you see someone in need.
Never use your words to hurt others.
Give your best every day.

For some schools, bringing in outside programs may be too costly, but many teacher education publications are now bringing up bullying issues and solutions in their content.

Youths turn to books on bullying

By Dustin Petty
Staff writer 

A. S. King's novel shows one young man's experiences with - and triumph over - his school bully.

Vampires and wizards are not the only subjects sweeping the youth literature market in recent years. But by looking a little deeper, at titles like Dear Bully, Hate List and Payback, one would see that books about bullying have flushed the market over the past several years.  And it wasn’t in response to the media attention on the subject.

Nicole DuFort is a District Sales and Marketing Manager for Random House, the world’s largest publisher of books for young readers.

“The initiative to publish literature with bullying themes doesn’t come from the publishers or editors, she said.  “It’s the authors who anticipated the national conversation and wrote about it.”

Manuscripts usually take one to two years before becoming published, said DuFort.

One such author is A.S. King, who penned Everybody Sees the Ants.  Ants is the story of Lucky Lindeman, a high school student who endures extensive bullying at the hands of a classmate while he dreams of a grandfather he never knew.

In her blog, she speaks about what led her to the theme.“When I wrote Ants, bullying was not a ‘hot topic,’” she said.  “In fact, I was asked by one editor to take the bullying out of the book.  Books take quite a while to go from my computer to the shelf.  What’s a hot topic today is not going to be a hot topic in three years.  And long after this ‘hot topic’ goes away and is replaced with another, those million a week will be suffering in silence, just like they/we always did.”

Books like King’s are being recognized for the solace they can give bullied youth and their parents.

Girls’ bullying can be almost secret

By Samantha Schmitt
Staff writer

Bullying is becoming more prevalent in conversations and within schools, the media and government.

David P. Farrington, professor of psychological criminology at Cambridge University, and other researchers seem to have come to a consensus that females mostly bully each other verbally and psychologically. While this may have always been true, the introduction of the Internet and the use of it by children of younger and younger ages seems to have increased the aggressiveness of the attacks.

Even with more harm being caused, it is still not always as easy to recognize bullying when it occurs among girls.

“Cyberbullying”, a 2007 report by Amanda Lenhart for the Pew Internet and American Life Project, says that girls are more likely than boys to gossip online, making them more subject to being the topic of online rumors.

In “Teenage Girls’ Perceptions of the Functions of Relationally Aggressive Behaviors”, Bridget Reynolds and Rena Repetti wrote that girls are also more likely to be relationally aggressive with other girls than boys are to be with each other. Relational aggression is a subtle and indirect tactic used to attack relationships between friends and hurting self-esteem. It can include rumors, denying friendships, ignoring or social exclusion from a group of friends.

In “Bullying: What are the Differences between Boys and Girls?” Tanya Beran, professor of school psychology, wrote in an article that the secretive nature of this bullying may mean the attacker does not get caught. The attacks are then likely to become longer and more severe.

This kind of bullying is hard for adults to detect because indirectness allows the bully to avoid face-to-face confrontation. Since it is usually hidden from adults, there is no physical behavior to see.

Bullying between girls often happens within a group of friends, making it extremely difficult to not just see it as a typical conflict between teenage girl friends.

Korea suspects online gaming, bullying link

The South Korean government is considering further restrictions against online gaming because of a belief that gaming encourages bullying.

MSNBC reports that the “Cooling Off” law would shut down games played by people under 16 after two hours of play.

Gamers would be able to log in one more time during that 24-hour period, but only after 10 minutes of rest.

This proposed law, and a law passed in November that forbids online gaming by children under 16 from midnight to 6 a.m., are “to prevent school bullying and suicides,” MSNBC reports.

Hallways, stairwells are bullying hot spots

By Tony Briscoe
Staff writer

Bullying has become an increasingly popular topic to a major research group that indicates 28 percent of all students between 12 to 18 years old are victims of maltreatment.

School hallways and stairwells are the most common places. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, more than 47 percent of students who’ve reported they’ve been bullied said that it has occurred in those locations.

Another nine percent of targeted students said they were bullied in the bathroom or locker room while another six percent were harassed on the school bus.

This comes as no surprise to high school teacher Carman Smith. An English teacher at Wylie E. Groves High School in Beverly Hills, Mich., Smith said he has to intervene in bullying altercations at least once a day.

Bullies in video games: griefers

By Dmitri Barvinok
Staff writer

Andrew, 16 and in 10th grade, plays Minecraft at least an hour every day, usually after school. He spends his time building virtual castles and complex machinery in a game that combines the creative power of building blocks and the role-playing element of a video game. Most of the time, he and his friends play on servers where they are protected from griefers.

A griefer is a bully in the world of online games. Griefers don’t play by the rules and attempt to cause as much distress and discomfort for other players as possible.

In Minecraft, griefers go after the creations of other players.

“I’ve seen seven hours of work get completely destroyed,” Andrew said.

Though many servers have griefer protections in place, those protections sometimes get in the way of regular players, Andrew said. Sometimes, playing against a griefer can be fun, since it becomes a competition and the game suddenly has a villain. Other times, griefers trick their way into becoming administrators of a server and destroying everything the players have built, which could waste weeks of work.

Andrew admits to having griefed himself. It can be fun, he said.

Bullying attracts global audiences

By Tommy Franz
Staff writer

Americans have been paying more attention to bullying in the past 10 years. New laws, conferences, research and conversation has proliferated. But the issue is not just an American one. Much of the world is concerned about bullying. Take the example of a bullying incident that occurred in Australia in March, 2011:

“We had an incident here last March when a school bully got beaten up by his victim, and the video of the incident went viral,” Scott Parlett, a student at the University of New South Wales said. “All of the television networks worked to put their own spin on the event, including interviews with parents and the kid who recorded the fight.”

The 42-second YouTube clip of the fight had more than 6 million views by February, 2012. Although there are some who believe that Casey Heynes, the initial victim of the bully, was wrong to retaliate, the consensus is that he is viewed as a hero for standing up to the bully.

“Casey has now transferred schools and is classified by others as a true hero thanks to publicity and being able to fight against bullying,” Kate Giulano, a student at the University of Newcastle said. “Justin Beiber was touring Australia when this happened and he flew Casey and his family to his Melbourne show and got Casey up on stage during the performance to explain to the audience how much of a hero Casey was for standing up to bullying.”

Parlett said that technology has changed the way the two students, watched from around the

Teachers say that training must support laws

By Leslie Tilson
Staff writer

Although many schools already have anti-bullying policies in place, many teachers find themselves searching for more effective ways to combat bullying in their classrooms. Laws alone are not enough, they say, and training would help.

Most states have school bullying policies and are adding policies against cyberbullying and hazing, but many teachers wonder how effective laws can be.

“I think that Pennsylvania’s anti-bullying laws in schools are somewhat effective, although I wish it was more straightforward and gave the consequences of certain actions so each school is on the same page,” said Lauren Sady, a first, second and third grade teacher in the Philadelphia School District. She said complicated definitions of bullying can be a problem. “The law creates more obstacles for the administration because bullying is bullying and there should not have to be a long list of criteria to go through before a child faces consequences. This may allow for more time for the student to think that he /she did no wrong, or come up with more ways to bully other children.”

Although anti-bullying laws may create some hurdles for schools, they do give the school administration some legal ground to stand on.