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From the Principal's Office: Hugh McDermott and Cindi Seddon Speak Out About Bullying (page 2)

From the Principal

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Updated on Mar 31, 2010

Education.com:

In your years as a principal, would you say bullying is a bigger problem than it was 5-10 years ago, or are things generally improving?

CS:

In schools and communities that have focused heavily on the issue there has been significant lowering of those kinds of behaviors. Unfortunately, we become complacent once there is a small improvement. Maintaining a positive school culture should always be of the utmost priority.

HM:

I think in my 18 years of being a middle school principal, bullying has increased in that we are being made more aware of it by our students, parents, and the media. Legislatures are passing “bullying laws” and requiring districts to have “bullying policies.” Unfortunately, I think students have learned some sly and sneaky ways to do their bullying. The use of technology such as cell phones, text messaging, and computers has certainly made bullying more prevalent because, like adults, middle school kids don't always think about how hurtful or awful the language they use and then send with the push of a button can be. These forms of communication are “faceless” and “impersonal,” and when students are very upset, are used without much if any thought.

Education.com:

Have you implemented any programs in your school to prevent bullying? Have they been successful?

CS:

My program Bully B’Ware Productions consists of books, a DVD, teacher resources, and a website all dedicated to tackling the issues that come with bullying. Currently we are focusing on cyberbullying. There is a huge demand for cyberbullying materials. We meet with parent groups. We train staff on how to deal with bullying in their schools and how to implement policies to prevent bullying on school and community levels. People can read more about what we do at www.bullybeware.com

HM:

At Irving Middle School we have implemented several strategies and programs to try to reduce bullying and prevent it all together. Our counselors have put together a presentation that they give to all classes at all three grade levels (6-8) during the school year. During these presentations, they talk about bullying, what students can do to recognize bullying, what they might do to resist or personally confront bullying, and multiple ways to take personal responsibility for stopping bullying. Over the course of the last 3-4 years, we have implemented a program with the University of Nebraska

Lincoln Department of Educational Psychology called “Target Bully Intervention Program” that provides detailed assessments of students who have a chronic issue bullying their peers.

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