Category Archives: Solutions

Slate’s Emily Bazelon Takes On Bullying in ‘Sticks and Stones’

A new book by Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon is worth a read if you’re concerned about bullying.

“Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” takes the issue around the corner, beyond bullying and toward solutions. Many books try to do that, as we did in “The New Bullying,” but Bazelon seems to have built her book around the solution, rather than the problem.

An attorney with long experience in the social and legal consequences of bullying among teens, she has done a good job of advancing the debate, both in the book and on the circuit.

The book is getting mostly favorable reviews, but it is also opening conversations with people who see things differently than she does. And that is to be expected on this subject.

West Bloomfield teen fights bullying with compliments

Career Coach addresses bullies at work

The Washington Post’s Career Coach has a column up with advice about addressing bullies in the workplace.

Writer Joyce E.A. Russell keys off the 2011 book, “The Bully-Free Workplace: Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes From Killing Your Organization,” by Gary and Ruth Namie, then addresses the definition of workplace bullying and some behaviors. Russell says the solution lies in stronger bosses and policies.

In the United States, the concern over bullying began with schools and has moved on to other areas. In other places, such as the United Kingddom, anti-bullying movements actual began with workplace bullying.

Online bullying course helps teachers

In July, California State University-Fullerton will offer an online course for K-12 educators, “Understanding and Addressing Bullying.” It is another sign that bullying has changed.

The five-week onine course will include faculty from women and gender studies, psychology and education.

A university release describes Karyl E. Ketchum as a driving force behind development of the course and quotes her as saying that her daughter was cyberbullied in high school.

In the release, Ketchum sys, “Bullying is a significant problem in schools locally and nationwide. There’s a mistaken notion that things have gotten better, but schools are unsure of how to respond to bullying and receive little to no training on this issue. The goal of this course is to give educators an effective set of tools to address this problem.”

For information on the bullying course.


School transitions can be a time of trouble

Hallways, stairwells are bullying hot spots

Teachers say that training must support laws

Michigan hospital opens anti-bullying center

By Tony Briscoe and J.T. Bohland
Staff writers

Michigan was the 48th state to pass anti-bullying legislation, but it may be one of the first to develop clinical treatment for those affected by bullying.

William Beaumont Hospital, of Royal Oak, is expected to open a clinic to help victims of bullying, bullies, bystanders and families on May 4.

Kevin Epling, a major proponent of Michigan’s anti-bullying law, said the concept is on the cutting-edge of bullying therapy.

“I’ve not heard of anything like this taking place in a hospital,” said Epling. “Most of these are providers that parents would have to find such as counselors or someone at the general community health office.”

Dr. Marlene Seltzer, director of the No Bullying Live Empowered (NoBLE) Center, stumbled upon the idea while practicing gynecology through the years.

Cartoon Network takes a stand

By Devyne Lloyd
Staff writer

Children’s television channel Cartoon Network realized how important bullying is and decided to take a stand. It started with a definition. According to the Cartoon Network website, bullying is “when someone repeatedly hurts or threatens another person on purpose. Bullying comes in many forms. And it can happen in person, in writing, online, on cell phones, in school, on the bus, at home, anywhere.” The last part of the definition is the most important: “Wherever it happens, it’s NOT acceptable.”

During the fall of 2011, Cartoon Network created and marketed a campaign to promote anti-bullying. It started with a few commercials starring Ali, Jackson and CJ from the show “Dude, What Would Happen.” They present a situation where a newcomer is bullied by another child, and an innocent bystander runs to an adult for help. At the end, they say bullying is wrong and if you see something, say something.

A few months later, more and more anti-bullying commercials began airing on the network. The commercials feature cartoon characters, actors from various shows and celebrities who have been bullied, all joining together for the Stop Bullying, Speak Up initiative. Programming suddenly switched from the Dude commercial to a huge variety: there was an anti-bullying advertisement being played almost every commercial break.

Suicides spurred global anti-bullying strategy

By Tommy Franz
Staff writer

Dan Olweus, a psychology professor in Norway, is often cited as the first major researcher of bullying.

Olweus began thoroughly researching the subject in the early 1980’s following the suicides of three boys aged 10-14, all three were potentially consequences of bullying in school.

Following these suicides, Olweus went to work to prevent bullying. According to the program’s website, the method led to a reduction of 50% or more in student reports of bullying in Norway. The report also provided evidence for marked reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, fighting, theft and truancy.

Following such success in Norway, the Olweus Program to prevent bullying in schools has been implemented elsewhere. In 1999, after the killings at a school in Columbine, Colo., the U.S. Department of Justice selected the Olweus Bully Prevention Program as a model for its national violence prevention strategy.

What happens when bullies become adults?

By Devyne Lloyd
Staff writer

Everyone knows someone who has been affected by bullying during grade school. Most discussion about bullying revolves around the victim. However, there is another victim in this situation: the bullies themselves. While we encourage and nurture the bullied, we often ignore the bully, which can lead to them falling through the cracks.

Many people think bullies are dim-witted, large and over-aggressive, such as Helga from Hey Arnold! and Roger from Doug. In reality, most bullies are intelligent, popular and highly charismatic. They also may show traits of anger, aggression, hyperactivity and violence, according to, a privately funded site.

Just as victims might grow up to have issues later in life, bullies can also encounter issues. According to Utterly Global, an organization dedicated to anti bullying, children who were bullies in grades six to nine are 60 percent more likely to have a criminal conviction by the age of 24. A bully is also five times more likely than a victim to have a serious criminal record in adulthood. Even bullies who grow up to work in an office instead of entering the judicial system cause problems for others. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workplace bullying causes $3 billion in lost productivity and a staggering $19 billion loss in employment every year.

Matt DeLisi, sociologist and head of the Iowa State University criminal justice program, writes in an article for the for the ISU sociology department that as bullies age, they are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior. According to DeLisi, adults who were bullies as children are 10 times more likely to lie, six times more likely to fight and almost three times as likely to engage in harassment than adults who were not bullies. “Bullies are 11 times more likely to have had conduct disorder than non-bullies. That giant fact shows you that bullies are antisocial anyway. When you get into personality disorders, you’ll see that in anti-social personalities there is almost an eight times difference,” wrote DeLisi.

The bullies themselves are victims, too, and need help just like the children they bully. “Because bullies are so aggressive, they are viewed by peers to be so difficult to deal with, so they are rejected,” writes DeLisi. Many bullies experience some type of abuse at home, and bullying others is simply a coping mechanism. Counseling can be provided as an avenue for bullies to talk about their feelings. Bullying may be a growing problem, but we can stop it by treating all victims: the bullied and the bullies.

Teens’ online world can be mean

By Joe Grimm
Staff writer

In November 2011, a report on teens’ impressions of social media gave a glimpse of what it feels like to be young and online.

“Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites,” was written by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The study asked teens about their online experiences and how they respond when they see mean or unkind behavior. The targets of cyber aggression report that it affects their whole lives, making them anxious about going to school or leading to physical fights. Although some teens pile on and others turn to each other for help, most just don’t get involved when they see it,

The study was based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of 799 U.S. teens aged 12 to 17 years old and their parents.

While most teens report positive online experiences, according to Pew, “some are caught in an online feedback loop of meanness and negative experiences.”

Twenty percent flatly responded that their peers are mostly unkind, and an additional 11% responded “it depends.”

Girls aged 12-13 active on social media were considerably more likely than other teens to say that people seemed to be mostly unkind. Thirty-three percent of them reported this to be their experience.

More than a quarter of all girls at this age said that they felt anxious about going to school the day after a bad online experience. Teens in other group reported anxieties, too.

While bullying continues to happen mostly in person, Pew reported that a substantial number of teens said they are bullied with technology. The study showed that 9 percent of teens aged 12-17 said they had been bullied by text, another 8 percent reported bullying by email, a social network site or instant messaging, and 7 percent said they have been bullied by phone.

A large majority of teens said they see digital bullying, even though they may not be its target. Eighty-eight percent told Pew they have seen peers being mean or cruel to others online. Twelve percent said this happens frequently. The report said teens who were not aware of much online cruelty are the ones who do not use social media very much.

About 55 percent of all teens said that the most frequent response of their peers to mean behavior online is to ignore it. Almost equal numbers — about 20 percent in each camp — said the responses they see to cruel behavior are to either tell someone to stop being mean or to join in the harassment.

The Pew report said teens might ignore mean behavior because it can be difficult to know what the aggression is all about and that some teens might ignore meanness to discourage it. It might also be that teens are intervening in private ways, such as direct messages

Bully documentary challenges relationships

This is the trailer for Bully, a documentary film to be released in select theaters on March 30.

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — The documentary film Bully tests relationships, just as school bullying does.

After an advance screening March 10 at the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham, parents, school administrators and children had a strained but civil exchange.

One mother told a school superintendent that schools had done nothing to stop the bullying of her daughter, who watched the film with her. Seventh grader Ethan Wolf and his father, Richard participating on a panel, accused schools of inaction. Ethan Wolf said he had been bullied.

Greater parental responsibility, by parents and of bullies and their targets, was raised in the film and resonated in the discussion afterward.