Category Archives: Schools

West Bloomfield teen fights bullying with compliments

National Anti-Bullying Month is October

Several groups are rallying around October as a time to raise awareness about anti-bullying efforts.

A key component of modern bullying and a key emphasis of “The New Bullying” is cyberbullying, and that has played a role in two current cases.

* In Canada, 15-year-old Amanda Todd made a video detailing the ways she was bullied. Her story, reported by the Associated Press and others, includes videos, sexting, emails, Facebook bullying and physical violence. She took her life Oct. 10, a day that had been designated for people to wear pink in support of bullying victims.

* In Maryland, a 15-year-old boy was charged with assault for bullying a high school student who was about to be interviewed by a television news crew on Oct. 8 about years of bullying he had suffered. The bullying was caught on camera.

* Early in October, Wisconsin news anchor Jennifer Livingston read an email on air that a viewer had written, telling her that she was obese and socially irresponsible for appearing that way. She made an issue of the bullying and spoke about the issue on national TV.

— Joe Grimm

Bullying targets autism, report says

A report released Monday says that the bullying of autism-spectrum students is a “profound public health problem.”

The study was conducted by Paul R. Sterzing, assistant professor at the school of social welfare at the University of California-Berkeley.

Sterzing said that students diagnosed with Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder were also singled out for bullying.

The report was released in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. It said that the students most likely to be targeted are those who are in mainstream classes but whose behaviors make them stand out to other children.

The New York Times Health & Science report on the study

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

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.

Bullying and rampage school shootings

By Lynn Bentley
Staff writer

Since the school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in 1999, parents, educators and government officials have been worried about a link between bullying and school shootings.

Before killing themselves in the school library, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 11 students, one teacher and wounded 23 others. The number of students and faculty killed would have been in the hundreds if the bombs they had planted in the cafeteria and their cars had gone off as planned.

Initial reports on the Columbine shooting indicated that the shootings might be in retaliation for the two boys having been bullied. Because it made people fear that there was a connection between bullying and school massacres or suicide, Columbine changed the way many people treat bullying. In Georgia, those fears soon led to the passage of anti-bullying legislation. Almost all states have since followed. Bill Belsey, the Canadian educator who created and, says that Columbine helped motivate him to be an anti-bullying activist.

However, 13 years later, after reviewing journals, videos and other evidence, psychologists, law enforcement officials and other experts have concluded that the shootings were the actions of individuals with personality disorders.

Exploring the suicide connection

By Lynn Bentley
Staff writer

When journalist Neil Marr and his co-author, Tim Field, coined the word “bullycide” in their 2001 book, “Bullycide: Death at Playtime,” they brought the world’s attention to the devastating link between bullying and suicide.  Bullycide: Death at Playtime was first published in the United Kingdom but has since been published in 30 countries including the United States.

Since then, some 49 states have enacted some form of anti-bullying legislation, leading schools to review, rewrite or create anti-bullying policies in hopes of preventing bullying and the devastation of suicide sometimes brought on by bullying.  And the word bullycide has become the accepted term to describe the bullying-related suicide of a child or young adult.

The re-release of Marr’s book in February of 2011 on the 10th anniversary of its release has prompted a re-examination of this use of bullycide to describe a suicide linked to bullying.

Suicide prevention professionals call the term bullycide misleading because it implies a direct link between the bullying and the suicide when a direct cause-and-effect link is hard to establish.

School transitions are trouble spots

By Hayley Beitman
Staff writer

Most people are familiar with classic “first day of school” movie scenes where freshmen are portrayed carrying seniors’ books, doing their chores or being pushed around.

The transition from middle school to high school, or even elementary to middle school, can be a difficult one, already filled with changes and uncomfortable situations. The American Civil Liberties Union has worked to eliminate racial and gender hazing, and protect children who are the most vulnerable, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

An 8th grade history teacher at a private middle school in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. shared his views on the difficult transition to high school and how pressures to fit in are a factor. He said that bullying is a problem in all types of schools, in all grades, in all social groups.

He said the major reason for bullying is that kids go from being “top dog” of their school to the bottom of the social ladder.

Private-school bullying

By Nicholas Roddy
Staff writer

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Forty-eight states now have anti-bullying laws, and most require public school districts to have a policy on bullying. Bullying does not happen only at public schools, though.

There are more than 33,000 private schools in the United States. About 5.5 million students attend those schools. However, state laws do not cover private schools. It is up to private school administrations to create and enforce policies on bullying.

Parents now send their children to private schools to avoid bullying, according to At private schools, there are generally more teachers per student and that would lead to a higher probability of bullying being detected. Private schools also have more resources and programs to help students stay out of trouble. Studies by the National Center for Education Statistics show that bullying is less prevalent in private schools than in public schools.

Boys are the more physical bullies

By Sam Schmitt
Staff writer

The behaviors of boys and girls that bully can be similar, but spotting bullying among boys is much easier than it is with girls.

David P. Farrington, professor of psychological criminology at Cambridge University, says that boys that bully are more physical than girls.

Psychiatrist Ann Ruth Turkel says boys are more physical because of they way they are raised. Boys are encouraged to kick their negative feelings away, while girls are taught to avoid direct confrontation.

She also says that boys usually bully strangers or acquaintances, while girls bully within their group of friends.

Alex Schmitt, a college freshman at Michigan Tech University, talked to me about his experiences with bullying during high school.