Friday, February 5, 2010

School Bullying Program Worth a Listen

Thanks to Barbara Fiehn for recommending this broadcast via LM_NET. It is about bullying, both face to face and cyberbullying. In particular the story of Phoebe Prince, a beautiful 16 year old high school student who moved to Massachusetts this fall from her childhood home in Ireland. While there were some efforts to deal with bullying at her new school, South Hadley High, but not enough. The bullying never stopped, and the perpetrators were unrepentant even after her death. Even now her Facebook page is being defaced and the culprits are making light of her death. The striking thing about Phoebe is that she was beautiful, smart, and very unlike the sort of young person you might expect to be bullied.

We all know this happens. I have uncomfortable memories of my own. First, I remember as a child standing by as a classmate was ridiculed about her size. She was overweight and the kids were calling her "elephant." She was also my next door neighbor. I did not join in, but I did nothing to stop the taunts. I still feel ashamed of this many years later. Also I remember being aware of bullying in the schools where I used to work. I certainly stepped in and put a stop to such behavior, and I worked especially hard to create a safe and safe zone in the junior high library where I worked. I allowed students who were particularly targeted to eat their lunches in a back room. School cafeterias can be terrible for victims of such harassment. But could I have done more? Absolutely yes. We all could do more, I suspect. This program is well worth the 16 minutes that it takes to listen

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