Michigan hospital opens anti-bullying center

Dr. Marlene Seltzer and Alonzo Lewis are building an innovative center to combat bullying from the medical perspective at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. Video, story. More »

Next wave: anti-hazing laws

With virtually all states having adopted anti-bullying laws for public schools, the next wave of legislation seems to be anti-hazing laws for schools and colleges. Glenn Stutzky and others say hazing is More »

Military Hazing: Rite or Wrong?

Hazing has been used as an initiation rite in the military for years and still goes on today. It is protected by a shield of silence and shame. Few will talk about More »

The case for bullying legislation

Activist Kevin Epling fought for years after the suicide of his son for passage of a school anti-bullying law in Michigan. Passage of Matt's Law made Michigan the 48th state with such More »

Girls’ bullying can be almost secret

Studies show that girls are more likely to engage in non-verbal, emotional bullying and social exclusion. This can be even more harmful than the physical bullying more frequently attributed to boys and More »

FAMU band hazing suspension extended to 2013

The Florida A&M University marching band, suspended after the November hazing death of a drum major, Robert Champion, will remain suspended for at least one more school year.

Eleven band members face felony charges in the death. Two others are charged with misdemeanors. Champion died aboard a band bus in Orlando. FAMU is in Tallahassee.

University President James Ammons said the band should not perform until a new band director is hired and new rules have been adopted. Band Director Julian White recently retired, having survived an attempt by Ammons to remove him. Ammons said Monday he has no intention of resigning himself.

Related: Band hazing can be deadly

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

Romney charges fuel debate on bullying

Bullying became an issue in the 2012 presidential election this week, with allegations that Mitt Romney bullied high school classmates in the 1960s.

The Washington Post was first with the story, reporting allegations that Romney bullied other students. The Post led with an incident in which Romney led a group of students to hunt down John Lauber, a student rumored to be gay, and who had bleached his long hair over spring break. Led by Romney, who brandished scissors, the pack teased Lauber and then held hom down while Romney snipped off chunks of hair.

The Post also described Romney calling out, “Atta girl,” to a closeted gay student when he tried to speak in English class.

Romney attended Cranbrook, an exclusive school in his home state of Michigan.

Romney quickly went on Fox News Radio, saying he did not remember either incident and that, “Back in high school, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that. … I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.”

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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.

Next wave: anti-hazing laws

By Hayley Beitman
Staff writer

As states and universities adopt more anti-hazing laws, there is evidence that hazing is a legal issue around the world. The Philippines, for example, has a national anti-hazing law. In the United States, hazing is regulated at state and local levels.

Hazing laws vary by state, so one collective definition does not yet exist. Hazing as defined by Jacinda Boucher, author of Hazing and Higher Education, “encompasses an extensive range of behaviors and activities, ranging from seemingly innocuous activities such as blindfolding and scavenger hunts, to more dangerous and extreme physical punishments, including sleep deprivation and excessive exercise.”

Hank Nuwer, hazing author and public speaker, defines bullying as mean or dangerous behavior meant to exclude someone from a group; His contrasting definition of hazing is bringing someone into a group, even if it is silly or demeaning. The problem according to Nuwer is that hazing can also be bullying in such cases like a football team not wanting a member to join.

Glenn Stutzky, clinical social worker at Michigan State University, defines hazing as group bullying. Everyone’s definition is a little different which makes talking about the same thing difficult.

Media ease taboo on suicide news

By Joe Grimm
Staff writer

The connection between bullying and suicide is elusive, but news coverage of suicide has clearly become more acceptable.

Erosion of the old taboo leads to more coverage of suicides and the natural impression is that they must be increasing.

Main headline on front page describes a teen's death. Photo by Hayley Beitman

According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control, a decline in youth suicide rates from 1990 to 2003 was followed by a rise in 2004 and, from 1999 to 2009, attempts by students in grades 9–12 requiring medical attention decreased 26.9%.

However, suicide news has become more frequent and more prominent as newsrooms continue to relax what had been a largely unwritten rule against covering suicides.

The Hastings Star Gazette in Minnesota described its policy change in January, 2012.

The newspaper told readers, “Essentially, we were sweeping the problem under the rug.”

“This week we changed that policy. We will write about mental health issues in the police report … It’s a significant use of police resources, and the public ought to know how their department is spending its time. …

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.

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 cyberbulling.ca and bullying.org, 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.