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Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
Attorney • (215) 840-6573

What is Your State Doing About Bullying?

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Bullying is a problem for kids. At some point, it is likely that you were bullied or have been a bully. The State of Delaware is doing something about it, in conjunction with Shout b cause, LLC …one t-shirt at a time!

I am interested in seeing how various states are taking up the fight against bullying. I want to hear from you about what is being done in your state. What creative ideas or programs does your state have? So I ask, "What is your state doing about bullying?" Here is an example of what is being done in one state, that might give you ideas for what your state could do. I hope that by hearing about many states' programs we can come up with an even larger list of ideas.

No Bully Delaware:

The State of Delaware has started at No Bully Schools Program and has passed new laws. In conjunction with Shout B Cause, using a friendly cartoon character named Jurdy and a series of "text message" slogans, Delaware is raising awareness about bringin an end to bullying.

At the younger school ages (elementary school), they have a program to sign kids up as "anti-bullying agents." Students get an agent ID card, stickers, poster and bookmark. All of them are branded with the anti-bullying message. Another message to students is to "be a hero" by preventing bullying as an agent. The idea is to make it fun and memorable and "cool" for the kids to be against bullying.

For the older students, Delaware is using t-shirts, wrist bands, posters, and bookmarks to raise awareness. These all have short message texting acronyms. For example, NBD is No Bully Delaware. BFF is Bullies Fizzle Fast, and nBFF is No Bully Friends Forever. These are then dsiplayed on the t-shirts and other materials, again allowing students to show off their support.

In addition, lesson plans have been developed that coincide with the items given to the students.

This is a very creative approach being taken by Delaware. What is your state doing?

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    On July 1, 2012, New York State enacted an Anti-Bullying law, DASA (Dignity for All Students Act), which is an effort to fight cyber bullying in schools. Prior to the enactment of the law, the DASA Task Force, a group of bullying experts from a variety of fields, including education, social services and government, researched and developed the best strategies for preventing bullying which involved education efforts that prize respect, tolerance, and difference are much more effective.

    The law, which stops short of making cyber bullying a crime, puts in place a number of steps designed to help prevent it inside and outside schools. School employees who witness or learn of online harassment must notify the school’s administration within one school day, and must file a written report within another two days. The law also requires teachers be trained on identifying and mitigating bullying incidents.

    New York City is also doing its part. The BRAVE (Building Respect, Acceptance, and Voice through Education) campaign was launched by the United Federation of Teachers in collaboration with the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), the New York City Council, and community groups. It connects students with clinicians and mental health professionals who can provide supportive listening, crisis intervention, suicide risk assessments and advice on crisis de-escalation.

    There are, however, not as many formal programs originating in other areas of the State; rather, there are more localized events and movements to raise awareness about bullying, often tied to the bullying of a specific child, which have sprung up. A couple of examples are the Annual Bowling Against Bullying Event in the Albany, NY area and the New York Families Against Bullying (NYFAB) 1st Annual fundraising Walk-a-Thon to promote education, legislation, and awareness on Long Island. I suspect we will continue to see the spread of grass roots campaigns as time goes on.

    Although laws certainly assist us in dealing with societal issues, I foresee that it will be the grass roots campaigns that make the difference, since that is where the community operates as a whole and shares ideas on a basic level. Parents and other role models within each community must teach their children to not only respect but truly care about other human beings.

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    We would love to help in any way we can…www.teachantibullying.com