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McGill Oct30th 2013 - part 3 of Lessons Learned

Teachers and staff

Alissa Sklar

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of McGill Oct30th 2013 - part 3 of Lessons Learned

Bullying: an overview
Practical tips for parents & kids:
Beyond Sticks & Stones:
What Educators Need to Know About Bullying

Writing a School Social Media Policy
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
(cc) photo by jimmyharris on Flickr
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
A definition of the "b-word":
Cyberbullying - bullying goes high tech
Bullying at school/ Bullying at home
Bill 56: What schools need to do:
Bullies: a profile
Preventing bullying and helping kids stay safe means everyone gets involved.
Creating a school protocol for handling bullying incidents
Bullying is physical, verbal and discriminatory abuse, harassment, threats, beatings, deliberate and persistent targeting, exclusion, shunning and isolation of targeted individuals.
With cyberbullying,
is increased: mean comments can be seen by everyone, get copied over and over, and blur line between public and private spaces.
Parents & Kids
The line between the two is increasingly fuzzy.
Schools often seen as responsible: this implies both
of bullying that spills over onto school grounds during school hours.
Schools must also consider their legal accountability for bullying incidents that may happen online or after school hours.
selectively friendly
indignant when challenged
seeks drama
emotionally immature
demanding of others
easily provoked
do not necessarily have low self-esteem
may seem like your average student
may be popular
may manipulate others into doing their "dirty work"
have a need to dominate or subdue others
often seek to blame their victims
may be a bullying victim seeking reprisal
It involves a
power imbalance
or struggle.
Bullying is
peer abuse
, not peer conflict.
Look for signs of
, not anger or miscommunication.
It can be face-to-face or indirect.
Bullying behaviours can involve other kids, teachers, parents, authority figures, school or institutional staff.
These forms of expression are often on-going, on purpose and hurtful.
Point isn't always to hurt to victim; often about struggle for social power.
victim is often less important
to the bully
than the bystanders
Students who would not necessarily be conventional bullies may do some mean things with the distance afforded by a computer.
Kids use of the Internet has changed dramatically in the last few years:
average age
for kids to get their 1st Facebook accounts is now
11 years old
Younger kids (starting at 5 or 6) are on
child-oriented versions of social networks
: Webkinz, Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, etc.
By Cycle II elementary, many kids are comfortable
surfing the Internet
, installing apps, even using email.
"A Magazine is an iPad that doesn't work"
Results of 2012 sec. I survey:
of kids have seen others harassed online
have experienced harassment online
admit harassing others online
of kids say their parents know either a little or nothing at all about what they are doing online.
also confess to having broken the rules their parents set up for their behaviour online.

But they are
don't have digital sophistication
They don't understand the
of the Internet
or its implications - the Internet is written in ink.
They don't understand
in the same way.
They don't worry about
protecting passwords, identity or personal information
They are
of superficial identification.
They don't appreciate the
hyper-public nature
of postings online.
were worried their kids might be victims of cyberbullying
were worried their kids might be hurtful to others online
worried about sexual predators online
worried that technology is changing the nature of teen friendships
Line between "just joking" and actionable threats (and libel) is blurry. Schools need to clarify in their policies what language is unacceptable.
What are the
school obligations
Schools are required to ensure they do not support a "deliberately dangerous learning environment" or "poisoned learning environment" (Davis vs. Munroe 1999; Ross vs. New Brunswick School District 15 1996)
Schools should ensure a "learning environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, and conducive to learning." (Jubran vs. North Vancouver School Distr. 44 2002; Robichaud vs. Canada 1987)
What isn't bullying?
Normal Conflict


Happens occasionally

Happens repeatedly
Done on purpose
Not serious
Serious - threat of harm
Equal emotional reaction
Strong emotional reaction from victim
Not seeking power or attention
Seeking power or control
Not trying to get something
Trying to gain material things or power
Remorseful - takes responsibility
No remorse - blames victim
Effort to solve the problem
No effort to solve the problem
The bullied: a profile
Children who are bullied are typically:
overpowered physically, emotionally or mentally
may be more anxious or unsure of themselves than other students
may have low self-esteem
may be non-assertive, cautious, quiet or anxious
OR may be aggressive
may be easily emotionally aroused
may cause disruption and irritation
often blamed by bullies for ensuing trouble
told they "can't take a joke"
The Bystander: a profile
May be anxious about drawing attention of the bully
Unwilling to be labelled a "snitch"
Unsure how to help
There is a diffusion of responsibility within a crowd.
Gender differences in bullies
Boys tend to use
direct physical or verbal aggression
Girls tend to use
relational aggression
: exclusion, social drama, words, rumours, manipulating friendships
Boys tend to bully in more
direct, physical ways
; girl bullying may be
indirect and harder to observe
Boys tend to bully those
than them; girls tend to bully others of the
same age
Boys are more likely to
bully one-on-one
; girls more likely to
bully in groups
, which can be emotionally devastating.
Boys more likely to
bully other boys
; girls tend to
involve both girls and boys
in their activities.
Boys more likely than girls to
understand their actions qualify as bullying.
There are three parts to any successful school anti-bullying strategy:
develop and communicate
effective policies for everyone
(students, parents, teachers, staff) - the action plan.
develop a
consistent approach to prevention
and awareness
ensure schools have
appropriate resources and training
to implement policies, prevention & follow-up.
Teaching students to use technology safely is a job for both parents & schools.
Develop a consistent approach to prevention and awareness
Choose and implement conflict resolution programs
Focus on turning bystanders into upstanders
Outreach to parents concerning policies, Internet safety
Identify at-risk students and direct them to support
Training and support for staff, teachers, administration
Guidance counsellors, referral channels established to community health care and mental health resources
Consult and empower students (particularly at the secondary level) for peer counselling, mediation, support groups, anti-bullying initiatives, etc.
Thank you!
The Teenage Brain
overdevelopment of emotional centre of the brain
overdevelopment of brain's reward centre
structure responsible for judgement, impulse control not fully developed until 24-25
change in sleep patterns
This DOESN'T mean it’s not your child's fault when they do something wrong;
it DOES mean parents need to tailor our expectations and our children's limits accordingly.
Parent guidelines for kids online:
Freedom is a
to be earned through
consistent responsible behaviour
There is no
magic age
when kids are ready.
Suggested household rules:
know all usernames and passwords
regularly review accounts/ text messages with your child
no deleting browsing histories
computers in common rooms (younger kids)/ with doors open (older kids)
help them set privacy controls
Protective factors
- connection, coping
Know your kids BUT listen to clues
protection of reputation trumps freedom of expression
-Quebec Civil Code
Set up a Google alert with your child's name.
Consider "digital contracts" with your kids:
what they are allowed to use, how often, and basic rules
Kids and privacy online - guidelines:
Avoid posting personal information that can
threaten personal safety
Never post material that may prove
embarassing or hurtful to yourself
later on;
Never, ever post anything that may prove
embarassing or hurtful to others
Sydney learns she has been
tagged in a photo on Facebook
by someone she knew at summer camp. She didn't know about the picture being taken and looks sort of awkward. She suspects the girl who posted it knew that and did it deliberately. Lots of people she doesn't know have commented on Facebook about the picture, and some have made hurtful comments about how she looks in a bathing suit. She's totally embarassed.
What would you tell Sydney to do?
Scenario #1
You can remove tags from FB photos on your own, without asking the person who posted it to do it for you.
In 2008 study:
50% of students surveyed said they'd been bullied online.
YET not one of 1,500 parents surveyed believed their kid had ever bullied anyone.
Scenario #2:
Zachary has been getting anonymous notes in his locker and desk saying mean things like "You're ugly" or "Nobody likes you." He doesn't know for sure who's doing it, but suspects they might be from some kids in his math class. He doesn't tell anyone about them.
But now he's learned from another student that this group is threatening to beat him up after school one day. Other kids who were friendly are starting to avoid him. He's feeling very anxious and having trouble sleeping and concentrating on schoolwork.

What should Zachary do? Should he tell his parents? Should he tell a teacher or principal at school? How could the adults make this situation better? How might they make it worse?
What you need to know/ what you can do
Possession of images showing someone under 18 in anything less than a bathing suit is
posssession of child pornorgraphy and is a crime
Teens have been charged and become
registered sex offenders.
Check out CBC DocZone:
"Sext Up Kids"
Inform yourself - bullying can be against the law!
Aggravated sexting
" is seen as the next frontier in criminal law, and is related to bullying.
Turning bystanders into upstanders means giving kids
tools and strategies
to speak up when someone is bullied.
Boys and girls are different from the neck up too:
Amygdala - emotion processing
Hormonal - testosterone vs. oxytocin
2011/2012 Parent survey:
Sexting gets kids in BIG trouble
Scenario #3:
A boy in Matthew's class has been getting picked on by some other kids. Nobody says anything but it makes Matthew feel bad for the kid. He doesn't want to get picked on either, and she doesn't want to be a snitch. What could he do?
Keep all evidence of bullying: notes, text messages, emails, voice mails, photos of injuries.
You may need to show proof.
Parents: if school is involved, better not to confront the aggressor (or their parents) yourself.
If your child comes to you as a bullying target or a bystander, calmly collect all information and any evidence, offer support and contact the school/ camp/ sports coach, etc.
Kids: If something happens that a) makes you feel scared, anxious or stressed enough that it interferes with your day, speak to a trusted adult about it. And if it doesn't get better, find another adult to tell.
Parent survey: Kids and technology
What Bill 56 means for parents:
Schools had to develop an anti-bullying and anti-violence action plan by Dec. 31st, 2012;
Schools need to
this with parents;
Schools need to
invite parents and students
to be involved in planning prevention;
Principals need to
"promptly" notify parents
when their child has been involved in a bullying incident and follow-up;
Schools need to send out a
yearly evaluation
of how bullying incidents in their school were handled.
(prevention and awareness) not just
Parenting according to what we know about children's brain development
Overview of bullying
What is bullying - and what isn't
Your school's obligations
Practical tips
How you can help as a parent ambassador
Parent Ambassadors - what can
*Educate yourself and others:
Know the differences between bullying and normal misbehaviour, understand when school staff needs to be notified, know how to help your kids protect themselves online and off.
*Neutralize idle gossip about kids and staff.
Chatter tends to result in rumours, gossip and can ruin reputations. Kids may end up labelled as problems by other parents and socially ostracized. Gently steer conversation away from stories and back to issues and concrete solutions.
*Refer parents to the right school personnel where necessary.
Encourage your counterparts to speak to the right staff person.
*Be a resource for your peers
Parents concerned about bullying often talk to other parents. What’s normal and what isn’t? What does bullying really look and sound like? Help correct misinformation about bullying and other misbehaviour by educating yourself.
*Know your school policies related to bullying.
Familiarize yourself with your school’s action plan on violence and bullying, as well as any related documents.
*Encourage a culture of parental involvement.
Kids with actively involved parents and strong school communities are at decreased risk for bullying and many other high-risk behaviours. Set a good example yourself!
*Know your limits.
You aren't a teacher, counselor or administrator.
@alissasklar alissa@risk-within-reason.com
Should be notified when a new account is open
Be given username and password
Occasionally monitor
with your child
Your children have no right to privacy from you online until they have earned it by demonstrating consistent good judgement.
Protecting school personnel:
Teachers, principals and staff may be targeted with insults, lies, unflattering descriptions.
Reputations can be targetted with false accusations of sexual impropriety, pedophilia, child pornography, etc.
Teachers can be secretly photographed or videotaped, with these items put up on YouTube without permission.
The Canadian teacher's Federation called in 2008 for "cyber-bullying" to be added as a sanction to the Criminal Code but what they really meant was cyber-libel against teachers and school staff.
Bullying at school/ Bullying at home
The line between the two is increasingly blurred.
Schools are viewed as issue leaders due to their educational mandate: this implies both
of bullying that spills over onto school grounds during school hours.
Schools must also consider their legal accountability for bullying incidents that may happen online or after school hours.
Who is most vulnerable?
kids on the autism spectrum (including Asperger's);
kids with any physical, intellectual or cognitive disability;
kids with "different" appearance or body size;
kids with "different" race, religion or ethnicity;
kds from low-income households;
kids with anger management and impulse control issues;
kids dealing with sexual orientation issues (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender);
kids who have experienced sexual harassment (sexual images/sexts distributed to peers).
Protecting school personnel:

Teachers, principals and staff may be targeted with insults, lies, unflattering descriptions.
Reputations can be targeted with false accusations of sexual impropriety, pedophilia, child pornography, etc.
Teachers can be secretly photographed or videotaped, with these items put up on YouTube without permission.
The Canadian teacher's Federation called in 2008 for "cyber-bullying" to be added as a sanction to the Criminal Code but what they really meant was cyber-libel against teachers and school staff.
Provide overview of expectations for behaviour online, for students, staff, teachers and administrators.
Must be written in accessible language.
Should be part of student handbook.
Must be incorporated into classroom use to ensure it is read, understood and engaged with.
Example: Trafalgar School for Girls


Policy covers online interaction, privacy, plagiarism, respect for others, personal safety and cyber-bullying. It also explains there will be consequences but leaves them to discretion of school personnel handling an individual incident.
•Explanation from the alleged aggressor;
•Explanation from the target or aggressed individual;
•Explanation from any student bystanders;
•Explanation from adult witnesses;
•Evidence (notes, texts, Facebook posts, bloody nose, etc.)
•Perspective of the parents of students hearing the stories after the fact;
•School policy documents with definitions;
•The law – in cases of libel, slander, physical assault, harassment, theft, vandalism, etc.
Is it bullying or not?
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
(cc) photo by jimmyharris on Flickr
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
Creating a policy for handling bullying incidents
Bullying incident
Physical harm?

Laws broken?

Treat victim
Contact school board
Contact parents
Contact police
Contact school board
Contact parents
Checklist to determine response:
age of those involved (primary/ secondary)
school staff implicated?
was incident physical, verbal and/or online?
severity of incident (degree of harm)
unique incident or on-going problem?
Serious enough to follow up?
Discuss matter with students.
Impose any necessary consequences.
Consider whether to keep record of incident.
Follow School Board protocol for communicating with parents, police (if involved).
Make a record of the incident.
Determine consequences.
Determine board policy for media inquiries.
Consider what follow up is required for students involved, and if the matter was sufficiently serious or distressing, with the students population.
Debrief with school & Board administration.
Watch language carefully when dealing with parents. In initial discussion
avoid trigger words
like "bullying" that may set off defensive reactions. Develop a "script" that can be used in the initial phone call home concerning a bullying incident.
For example:
"Hello Mrs X. This is Jane Doe, Principal at Neighbourhood School. I'm calling because your son, John, was involved in an incident in which another child was hurt/ harassed. [Explain school policy and desired action]"
Dealing with emotional and difficult people
Dealing with difficult people:
innate reactions
to displays of dominance
Be aware of your
automatic defensive philosophies
, such as "I will not be treated this way - I won't let you get away with this" (fight); "My reputation is on the line if I fail" (flight) or "I must be above criticism" (freeze).
Maintain focus
on issues at hand.
Moving towards solutions:
Where appropriate, involve the parents in seekig solutions or settling this issue;
Offer them a voice - involve them in school prevention/ advocacy initiatives;
Communicate all steps of resolution and follow-through;
Leave a trail of comunication - emails, letters, notes about telephone calls and face-to-face correspondence;
Seek to maintain transparency, honesty, accessibility, flexibility and dignity of stakeholders.
Staying rational when confronting the difficult person
Ask the antagonist what exactly s/he is upset about, in order to show that you are
interested in communicating
rather than arguing.
Try to find
one kernel of truth
in a complaint with which to agree.
Defuse emotional heat
; you can more easily and tactfully settle an issue once they have cooled down.
Stand up for yourself by reiterating a specific error, but
refuse to be incorrectly labeled
Demonstrate a
willingness to understand the parent's frustration
without blame or defensiveness. Offer the angry parent your best guess as to what s/he is feeling and ask for feedback.
Resist the urge to fight to win an argument. Listening and asking questions
leads others to their own better conclusions
Is it bullying or not?
Unwanted, aggressive behavior
A real or perceived imbalance of power between the student(s) doing the bullying and the student(s) being bullied
Behavior that is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time

Clear example of bullying behavior—contains all three elements.
Behavior would concern me but it doesn’t rise to the level of bullying.
No clear indication based on the scenario—I would need to get more information.

5 r's
Intervene and de-escalate
Maintain Control of Your Emotions
DO: Appear calm, centered, and self-assured; use a modulated low tone of voice. Be aware of options. Be respectful even when firmly setting limits or calling for help. If you feel you are losing control, call on a colleague, an administrator, security, or (in serious cases) your school resource officer or the police for support.
DON’T: Be defensive even if the comments or insults are directed at you.

Communicate Effectively Nonverbally
DO: Allow extra physical space between you and the aggressor, get to the same eye level (kneel, sit, or stoop as needed), keep your hands out of your pockets to protect yourself, and stand at an angle to the student.
DON’T: Turn your back, stand full front to the student, maintain constant eye contact, point or shake your finger, smile, or argue.

De-escalate the Discussion
DO: Trust your instincts, empathize with feelings but not with the behavior, suggest alternatives, and explain limits in a firm but respectful tone.
DON’T: Get loud, yell, scream, argue, or analyze.
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