Category Archives: Schools

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.

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.

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.

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.