By Janet Sasson Edgette, Psy.D Sharing the quiet neighborhood in which I grew up was a girl I’ll call Marcie. Marcie wasn’t a particularly nice girl, but that didn’t stop me or any of the other kids in the neighborhood from trying to be her friend. She toyed sadistically and expertly with our wishes to be part of her “in” group. One summer she made each of us pinkie swear that we believed her story about there being the decapitated Frankenstein heads underneath the sewer lids on our street. I didn’t believe in Frankenstein, but I was afraid to not believe in Marcie. I spent one whole year engrossed in the terrible, tantalizing fantasy of lifting off those lids and finding heads in varying states of decay.
In this piece from MTV's A Thin Line blog, Liz Stark talks about the Not In Our School model. Ever since we were little, we have listened to lessons about kindness and respect. Treat people the way you wish to be treated. The Golden Rule. I have always thought that the “Golden Rule” got its nickname because chemical gold is an inert metal; in a sense, it never rusts and never fades. The Golden Rule isunyielding and timeless; a universal truth.
By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director All of us have experienced cruel behavior, either as a participant, victim or witness. The Not In Our School “Break Bullying”public service announcement, donated by the MAKE ad agency, appears to bring back those bad memories. The announcement depicts adults in a professional environment re-enacting the personal middle school bullying experience of the director, Mike Nelson. His point: If we would not stand for this at work, why do we stand for it happening to kids in schools? The purpose of the PSA is to make us want to do something—to intervene, unlike the co-workers who watch their colleague pushed to the floor.
For educators, National Bullying Prevention Month is a great opportunity to discuss cyberbullying in the classroom. In this Not In Our School video, “Students Take On Cyberbullying,” high school students tackle the problem of cyberbullying in their schools through a class discussion and presentation. They log onto Facebook and create a more positive online environment, addressing the problem of cyberbullying head-on. Watch this short film with your students: Discuss: 1. What strategies might students use to address the issue of cyberbullying?2. What challenges might students confront?3. What might be the consequences of doing nothing? Several students in this film were invited to participate in a town hall for New York Digital Citizenship Day cohosted by Common Sense Media and MTV. Stay tuned for more later this week!
As the nation responds to the devastating effects of bullying, it is important to highlight the crucial role of an upstander. An upstander is a person who speaks up or stands up to bullying and intolerance, either to prevent or intervene when someone is being harmed. By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director I, for one, would not be here if it were not for an upstander. My father’s family barely escaped the Holocaust after Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” in Berlin on Nov. 9, 1938. He and his family found refuge in Shanghai, China.
What's happening across the country for Bullying Prevention Month—and this is just the first week! StopBullying.gov is sponsoring the Stop Bullying Challenge, a PSA campaign for youth to make videos to show how they’re more than a bystanderThis contest gives young people another way to create a more positive and healthy environment in their schools and communities. Youth between 13 and 18 years old are invited to submit original PSAs, 30-60 seconds long by Oct. 14 at 11 p.m. EST. Watch this invitation from Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education Pacer, the national organization that initiated Bullying Prevention Month is promoting Unite Against Bullying Wednesday, Oct. 10 is Unity Day, a special event during National Bullying Prevention Month. The key message is, “Make it Orange, Make it End!”
By Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director Not In Our School was honored to be part of the SF Bay Area Stop Bullying Summit, the kick-off event in a series of anti-bullying activities across the Bay Area. The summit was part of a larger initiative where thousands of students—literally all middle and high school students in the San Francisco Unified and Oakland School Districts—viewed the Bully documentary directed by Lee Hirsch. Students in San Mateo County will view the film in October. NIOS participated in planning, served on a panel of effective strategies, and also facilitated a Q&A for Oakland students who viewed Bully. San Francisco Summit: Leaders ConvergeThe summit, sponsored by Northern California District U.S. Attorney's Office, featured a lineup of civic leaders, school superintendents, the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and community organizations. Convened by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, speakers included Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez (read his speech here).
“It’s not just, oh, you get bullied and the next year it gradually tapers off and you’re a normal person. It sticks with you your entire life. I still get these occasional feelings, like I’m not good enough. I never felt anything like that before the ninth grade.” Mike Nelson, now a successful ad agency producer, knows how devastating bullying can be. He brought his own experience to a video PSA, "Break Bullying," that shows how shockingly degrading and harmful bullying can look if seen it from the perspective of an adult. (See Nelson’s bullying story below.) “Kids aren’t going to accept something that’s watered down,” said Nelson, head of production at MAKE. “Let’s get real about this.” MAKE is based in Minneapolis, Minn. and does commercial work for companies such as McDonalds, Target, Burger King and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Two years ago, the team began creating PSAs pro bono around issues they were passionate about and donating the PSAs to organizations they supported, including the Salvation Army, Animal Humane Society, Second Harvest Food Bank and the National Fatherhood Initiative.
With Not In Our School, move into action for a safe, accepting and inclusive school. Six simple solutions: If you are being bullied: tell them to stop, get away from the situation, and tell a trusted adult. If you see someone being bullied, be an upstander: Tell the person to stop, get a trusted adult, reach out and be friends. With your children: Listen and support your children. Work with the school to be sure your child is safe. In Your School: Learn and help train all adults and youth on how to recognize and respond to bullying. With Others Who Care: Start a Not In Our School Anti-bullying Club where youth lead in finding solutions. In Your School and the Entire Community: Create an identity-safe climate where all people are respected. Start today to address bullying and intolerance with these additional resources from Stopbullying.gov: Stop It On the Spot — Respond — Prevent and Build a Safe Community
The NSLC group is composed of high school students. International students from American University's Discover the World of Communications summer program also participated in the activities. Photo. This summer, NIOS presented at UC Berkeley to high school students from the National Student Leadership Conference and American University’s Discover the World of Communications summer programs. Students from around the U.S. and as far away as Dubai, Syria, Australia, Korea and China shared their insights and learned more about the bullying prevention work of Not in Our School.