True scale of bullying in schools to be exposed by new laws [The Irish News, by Simon Doyle, 21/11/2015]

The true scale of bullying in schools is to be exposed by new legislation to come before Stormont.

Schools are to be ordered for the first time to record all incidents, education minister John O’Dowd has confirmed.

There is no requirement to report every occurrence and no detailed figures for primary or secondary schools exist.

While there are about 200 suspensions every year for bullying, the full extent of the problem is said to be much greater.

The new bill was given the green light as Anti-Bullying Week drew to a close on Friday.

Schools organised activities around the theme What Bullying Means To Me.

On Friday children from Christ the Redeemer PS in Lagmore welcomed the GAA’s Cúl Heroes – footballer Finn Macúl and hurler Cúl Cullen.

The pair awarded anti-bullying ambassadors certificates to pupils as part of a day of GAA activities designed to beat bullying.

Mr O’Dowd said the new bill would be introduced as early as November 30 so legislation could be enacted within this assembly mandate.

The legislation has three main objectives: to provide a legal definition of bullying; to introduce a requirement for schools to record all incidents of bullying; and to require boards of governors to have specific responsibility for anti-bullying policy and practice within schools.

Bullying is a complex issue with no single, easy solution however, we all have a part to play in creating a society, and an education system, in which bullying behaviour is always challenged, and dealt with effectively, as soon as it rears its head,” Mr O’Dowd said.

How serious is sexting among teens? [9news, by Amanda Wright, 19/11/2015

KUSA – A recent sexting scandal at Cañon City High School shed some light on the issue of sexting.

Sexting is when someone texts another person something risqué, sometimes including nude images. In some cases, teens caught sexting could face lifelong consequences like being labeled a sex offender.

A new poll shows a lot of Colorado residents take the issue a little more lightly than expected.

According to the Quinnipiac survey, 42 percent of voters think sexting is a very serious problem. Thirty-three percent said it was “somewhat serious,” and in other poll, 69 percent didn’t believe a student should get expelled if caught.

(© 2015 KUSA)

Cyber Bullying: The effects and the signs [ Kulr8News, by Samantha Harrelson, 14/11/2015 ]

The face of bullying is changing and with that even more severe consequences. Cyber bullying is becoming more prevalent in our schools, and is not starting to effect children at a younger age.

Social media has given parents and schools a whole new issue to be concerned with. The effects of online bullying can be detrimental and long lasting, especially since comments made online can last forever.

Karen Kietzman, a clinical psychologist, she said it is important to talk to your kids about what bullying means. An open dialog will help them understand when it is happening to them and when to ask for help.

“It is almost like the schools have inherited this problem, because parents have turned around and given their kids all of the technology possible, thinking that it is going to make them more successful in life. In retrospect, what it is doing is distracting them and causing them mental health issues that we never could even imagine,” said Officer George Zorzakis, a school resources officer.

While it is not face to face, bullying online gives the attacker a sense of security and allows them to say things they would not say in person.

“Some of the bullying is, you know, ‘you are such a bad person, you should just be dead’. That is very severe verbal abuse so you have to help them correct that internally and help them realize that that was a lie, that it is wrong. But they don’t have that internal voice sometimes and you need to provide it,” said Kietzman.

Experts say it is important to keep tabs on your children and keep open communication to help know when there is a change in their behavior and when something may be going on.

Kietzman says signs can include behavior change, isolation and even obsessive behavior about social media.

“The ability to just to know your child and be involved with your child in their events and being open about media and so you can maybe catch it. Even if you catch it ‘late’, you can still get your child help,” said Kietzman.

If you notice signs of depression, go to a doctor or school counselor.

Back to School: Tips for dealing with anxiety, online grades and bullying [ abc7 Chicago, by Dr. Tiffany Sanders, 20/08/2014 ]

BACK-TO-SCHOOL ANXIETY
Students often feel anxious when they return to school. They worry about grades, their looks, getting into the top school and whether their friends like them. Anxiety in school can be normal, however it can feel very uncomfortable.

Encourage your child/teen to share their worries.

Don’t negate the worries they have by saying, “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”

Problem solve to reduce and manage the worries. Preferably say things like, “Let’s think of some ways you could handle that situation.”

ONLINE GRADES: MORE ACCESS, MORE STRESS
With the advent of Power School, parents can regularly check online grades and attendance, which can assure completion of the work and a successful school year. However, parents and children can obsess over the data, which can increase anxiety in both parent and child.

Balance the amount of time you spend checking PowerSchool. Don’t excessively check grades 4 or 5 times a day. Understand that although it gives real time access, it may not be the most up to date.

Check with the teacher as to when the grades are likely to be recorded and reflected in Power School. If they are updated twice a week, let that be the day when you monitor the “grades.”

If you find out the child didn’t perform well on an assignment, don’t panic. Ask the child what made the test or assignment challenging, and then problem solve ways to do better in the future.

BULLYING
Most kids will experience some form of bullying at school. There are things parents can do to help bully-proof their child.
Don’t promote retaliation, but teach your kid using roll play, how to stand up to the bully with confidence and humor.

Teach your child how not to reward the bully with tears, frustration and anger. It will only reinforce to the bully how to taunt you.

Inform the child’s teacher or a school administrator about the bullying so they can monitor the situation and apply discipline as necessary.