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Nov 20 2011in Whats New admin Comments Off on STANDING UP TO FEMALE BULLIES PREPARES HER FOR LIFE

Nancy (name was changed to protect her) was in the 5th grade and had learning disabilities. She was blond with blue eyes and very cute. Her learning problems were not noticeable. But there were several girls who decided to bully her. They called her names, pushed her into her locker, grabbed her backpack and dumped it in the trash. At recess, the girls put her in the center of a circle and pushed her hard from girl to girl, yelling insults, until forcing her out of the circle.

The bullies would put notes on her desk and stick them in her locker. The bullies had written Nancy’s name and scribbled, This is how you look, and pointed to faces where the nose was a penis, the eyes where breasts and the mouth was a vagina. Nancy came home from school nervous and crying, and said she did not want to go back to school.

Nancy felt intimidated and did not want to stand up to the bullies. When her mom saw the pictures and notes she knew she could go to the school, speak with the principal and create a ruckus. But instead she wanted Nancy to learn how to stand up for herself and gain the confidence she needed to not only deal with these bullies but how to deal with life. Nancy needed to know how to cope and deal with the negatives in life.

The school had a psychologist to help the kids with general problems. Nancy’s mom spoke with her daughter and told her to try and meet with the school psychologist and ask her to get these girls together and speak about the problem.

The school psychologist brought the girls together. Nancy had a chance to express the pain she was going through, and how much it hurt her. She asked the girls, “Why are you doing this to me?” They said, She was easy and would not put up a fight.

They girls said they thought it was fun. After that, the girls left Nancy alone, and they became her friend. Nancy learned from this experience and became much stronger. She also learned she could handle problems that might come up in her life with the bullies of the world.


When Severe Bullying Calls for Back Up From Law Enforcement

Oct 4 2011in Whats New admin Comments Off on When Severe Bullying Calls for Back Up From Law Enforcement

When to Call Law Enforcement in Severe Bullying Cases in School

An overwhelming amount of children are victimized each year by bullies in and out of the classroom. This problem has become so apparent in America’s schools that some state legislatures have enacted laws against bullying. Though these laws do not entirely criminalize all forms of bullying, it is the acts of some bullies which can trigger the need for law enforcement to play a role.

It is imperative for parents, teachers, and administrators to become familiar with their school policy on bullying. Each school system may have different steps or methods to dealing with bullying, but in order for the school to react to bullying they need to know how to handle low level and severe forms of bullying. If a child is in immediate physical danger then it is absolutely necessary to alert the police. Being a bully is not a crime itself, but there are several crimes a bully can be involved with that are, including assault, sexual harassment, Theft and hate crimes. It is important for parents to understand that notifying school authorities is their first line of defense. Parents need to work in conjunction with school officials in order to provide a safe environment for all children.

Sometimes parents, teachers, and administrators of victimized children do not know when to call the police. There are some distinct cases in which law enforcement agencies need to be informed. They should be called when school authorities have been negligent in the prevention of severe bullying incidents. When bullies use physical harm on their victims, this can be a form of Assault (Intent to cause violence, shoving, pushing,) and Battery (physically harming and individual). Assault and Battery can lead to hospitalization or even death to a child that has been victimized. When a target of bullying is assaulted or physically harmed, police should be notified immediately.

In addition to Assault and Battery, Hate crimes, which is defined by congress as an offense “in which the defendant’s conduct motivated by hatred bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of another individual or group of individual or group of individuals” can occur in or out of school (H.R. 4797, 102d Cong 2nd Session, 1992).

Another crime is Theft. An example of this crime is the theft of bikes, phones, video games, or money. Sexual Harassment & Battery are also serious crimes. In extreme cases of bullying, sexual offense occur, law enforcement and school officials should be notified immediately. Cyber-bullying is a fairly new form of bullying to parents. Though there is no federal laws against cyber-buying yet, cities ordinances in a few states ruled cyber-bullying as a misdemeanor. Much like harassment laws, it is however illegal to threaten to harm an individual via the internet (USC Title 18§ 875(c).

Contacting law enforcement should be priority when there is imminent danger, loss of property, or when parents or school administrations have exhausted means to correct bullying behavior. It is important for individuals to recognize that everyone can be affected by bullying, even the bully themselves.

According to a study on bullies and criminal behavior, 55% of individuals who claim to be bullies received a conviction of a crime before they reached the age of 24 (Olweus, D. 2011). If bullies can be corrected at an early age, it can be possible to reduce conviction rates for bullies as well. The restorative perspective in criminal justice is a sentencing technique used by the court system in hope to prevent future offenses. The offender or bully is made aware of how he affected the victim and the community. The court system with the school administration can develop a punishment that can restore the community (usually through service work) and help negate the bullying behavior.

Olweus, D. (2011), Bullying at school and later criminality: Findings from three Swedish community samples of males. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 21: 151-156. doi: 10.1002/cbm.806

By Alan J. Stevenson, Veteran, Criminal Justice/Information Security and Assurance Student

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Bullies tend to Pick on People they Think are Uncool and Abnormal: A look at Peer Abuse

Sep 7 2011in Whats New admin Comments Off on Bullies tend to Pick on People they Think are Uncool and Abnormal: A look at Peer Abuse

Q&A Elizabeth Bennett

Q: You describe yourself as a survivor of peer abuse. When most people think about peer abuse or bullying, they often think that it is physical. Howwere you abused by your peers and how old were you when the abuse started?

A: I was three when it started. A child from across the street threw rocks at me. Some of mine was physical but also verbal, mental and emotional.

Q: Bullies tend to pick on and torment people they think are uncool or not normal. Do you think you were targeted because you stood out?

A: Oh yes…I was a sensitive child and I cried very easily. I did not know how to stand up for myself. By nature I am not combative and I know that is what got me in trouble so to speak.

Q: How can we teach teens that being cool is standing up for themselves or for people who are being bullied?

A: We need to get parents more involved to talk to their children and set consequences. There is such a lack of accountability today and if kids knew they were held accountable for these actions, it may decrease. Plus, children need to be learning empathy a lot more. They are growing up far too desensitized today to the pain of others. Adults need to model behavior that reflects what we are trying to teach children. It does not hurt to talk to and make children aware of how this behavior really hurts others. Schools need to be reinforcing the dangers bullying on a regular basis. Parents need to be monitoring and staying on top of internet use a lot more Children need to be taught how to use technology properly. If we reinforce kindness instead of brutality then I believe children can learn that it is not so bad to be kind. We need to teach kids how to handle conflict but this is not normal conflict. Peer Abuse is about just that…abuse.

Q: What advice would you give teens that are too afraid to go to school because people are spreading rumors about them?

A: They need to tell their parents what is going on and then go to the school and see what the policies are about stopping this. Also, document everything and save any notes, email, texts and voicemails, so evidence is there. As for the hurting teens, I would reinforce that they are wonderful kids and so much better than those who are spreading the lies. Suggest getting themselves in activities away from school. Also, get a journal and vent these frustrations out. If the rumors are severe, I would suggest they talk to their parents about homeschooling. When it gets to a point where people believe the rumors, and make them worse, it can become psychologically traumatizing. Targets then need to be in a healthy environment. Telling them to "ignore" it will just make it worse. This type of stuff leaves lasting scars on a person and does not "prepare them for the real world."

Q: If a teen is being told by his parent or another adult figure to grow a tougher skin, when he is being called names or made fun of because of his physical shape or size, what can he do?

A: Continue searching for an authority figure that WILL listen and take them seriously. To survive in this world we need to develop thicker skin. At the same time, not everyone is blessed in this area. Get them in activities where they can build their self-esteem and where people appreciate them. Also, educate these adults that it takes all kinds to make the world go around and not everyone is blessed with thick skin. I know I was not and have had to try and grow it the best that I can. At the same time, it is still not enough. I am not wired that way, bottom line.

Q: I've read that bullies have higher self-esteems than the average student. On the other hand, why would someone put someone down, if they feel good about themselves?

A: This form of abuse is about control and power. It is about going after those who are different because these abusers cannot handle those being different from them. For them, this is entertainment and a lack of tolerance of others. It is important for them to remain on top and will do whatever it takes. Peers look up to them and feed them constantly with praise. For them, they must have their following so they can control and keep getting praised. These abusers actually make great leaders which is one reason I believe that people flock to them. At the same time, they misuse this to satisfy their own needs. Now, I do not doubt that they have insecurities in them. Our world today is basically insecure but I can assure you that they are pleased with themselves for the most part.

Q: As an adult, you write a Blog and have written books about bullying. If you could go back to school with what you know now, what would you do differently?

A: I would work on trying not to be accepted so much. I would stand up for myself as I have the confidence now that I never had then. I was beaten down so badly as a kid that I had NO self-worth and NO self-esteem and did not know how to fight back. Now I do have these skills. I would document everything and stay on top of the policies at school. Not get down to the abusers level but let them hang themselves with their own actions via documentation.

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of "Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying from a Psychological Perspective" along with the e-book "Child Safety Online: Top Tips to Protect your Child from Internet Predators.

By Melissa Sherman, Executive Director, Beyond Bullies

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How to Face Bullies with Confidence

May 2 2011in Whats New admin Comments Off on How to Face Bullies with Confidence

Looking Bullies in the Eyes: Bullying Tips for Teens & Adults



Michele Sherman, MFT

Many parents are looking for answers and ways to help their children from becoming a target of bullying, a bystander or a bully. In this article, Michele Sherman, MFT, who has worked with families for more than fifteen years, stresses the importance of teaching and encouraging children to develop their communication skills in order to help them resolve internal and external conflicts.

How can you help a shy and withdrawn child who is bullied?

A shy and withdrawn teenager who struggles with feelings of insecurity and anxiousness may benefit from several different techniques. Keeping a journal and encouraging your child to write about their feelings, may help them to better understand themselves. Michele also recommends teaching your child to make new friends and to stop looking for approval from people who don’t appreciate or accept their gifts and talents.

Why is my child so angry all the time? Could he/she be a bully?

Michele says it important to understand why they are angry and the source of their pain. Sometimes youth turn to bullying to assert influence and power over others when they’re feeling hurt or push others down that they perceive as different from them or mimic behavior they see from adults.

Many youth experience distressing thoughts, stressors and feel pressured in many areas of their lives, so their aggressive actions often express vulnerabilities that aren’t expressed in effective ways. In essence, they are acting out because they are unable to express their feelings and deal with their emotions in constructive ways.

Are there key words or phrases that can help my child when they are being harassed?

Working with I statements helps a person be more direct in their communication, focus on the issue and not be manipulated by other people’s negative comments. Teach your child so say No, I do not like being called names. If you role play with them at home, you will give them more confidence to go back to school.

  • Pretend you are the bully. Poke your child gently and have them say very firmly and loudly, NO. Stop. I don’t like being pushed around! If you don’t stop then I will walk away.
  • Be sure to teach them to look the bully in the eye and walk away with confidence.
  • Encourage them to report the incident to an adult.


What should I do if my son or daughter is too afraid to go school?

Parent’s need to get involved and talk to their teenagers about what is going on at school As a parent, Michele says, I would talk to my child about his/her feelings while developing a plan of action. That may consist of talking to a school counselor and pursuing activities that can take momentarily take their focus away from their negative feelings about themselves and their personal lives. Having distractions and/or activities can often help children & adolescents feel better about themselves, which enables them to think and behave in more neutral ways.

Michele also recommends giving children articles about bullying and showing what other kids have experienced, and how they got through it. The bottom line, she says, they are not alone and there is life after high school. As a parent, your involvement in their lives at home and at school can help them overcome bullying.

For more information about therapy for individuals or families contact Michele Sherman.

Michele Sherman, M.A., MFT

16055 Ventura Blvd., Suite 719


(818) 725-2488


Interview with Cyberbullying expert Les Parsons

Q: What exactly is cyberbullying?

A: Cyberbullying is the intentional attempt to harm someone else through information and communication technologies. Usually, harmful texts or images are posted via email, cell phone, instant messaging, Blogs, or chat rooms. Cyberbullying usually occurs more than once. A single episode, of course, can be devastating to the targeted individual.

Q:  How are cyberbullying and bullying related?  Â

A:  While cyberbullying may be related to other forms of face-to-face bullying, each  incident needs to be understood on its own terms. One person, for example, may be targeted at school as well as online. Another student may be targeted at school and retaliate online. Still another individual, targeted at school, may disclose online their anger or depression.

Q:  What forms can cyberbullying take?

A:  Young people need to understand the kinds of bullying they may meet online. If they have met any of the following kinds of behaviours, they are being bullied:

  • harassment (repeatedly bothering or tormenting someone, often with hurtful and offensive notes)
  • bad-mouthing (claiming that someone is a bad person by attacking their character or reputation, often by posting rumors or gossip)
  • impersonation (pretending to be someone else and trying to get them into trouble)
  • rejection (trying to turn a group against someone and repeatedly leaving them out of things)
  • outing (posting a secret or embarrassing information or image)
  • threatening (trying to frighten someone by revealing that you may say or do something to harm them; if someone is bothered, tormented, or threatened so badly or so often that they become afraid for their safety, the term cyberstalking is sometimes used)

(Flaming or sending messages with extremely angry, disgusting, or mean-spirited language are an inappropriate behavior that is relatively common online; in extreme or repeated occurrences, it may be deemed to be cyberbullying.)

Q: Why are people so reluctant to get help with cyberbullying?

A:  In spite of the distress, fear, and emotional and social damage suffered by students online, they are notoriously reluctant to report incidents of cyberbullying. The number one reason, of course, is that they expect that parents will unduly supervise or severely restrict their online activity.  Some teenagers believe not using their cell phone or computers, seems to be a fate worse than the bullying they endure while they are there.

Many students hold the mistaken belief that there are no rules on the internet: therefore, bullies think they can say anything they want. In the same vein, students may have been targeted while engaging in risky or unwise behaviours online, behaviour they may rationalize as permitted in the “wild west” environment of the internet but still punishable by their parents. Finally, just as in real life, targets may feel that if the bully gets in trouble, the friends of the bully might retaliate.

Q: What can teenagers do to protect themselves from cyberbullying?

A:  Young people should “cyberproof” their behaviours, from protecting personal information of all kinds to “netiquette.” The number one rule, of course, is never to put anything online that would allow someone to find the person in real life. Young people need to understand that they aren’t invisible online.

When a person is bullied, they should not immediately respond to the attack; the cyberbully loses power if the attack has been ignored. If the targets want to respond after an interval has passed, they should reflect on what they want to say, in what form they want to say it, and why they want to say it. Then challenge the bully from the strength of that reflection.

Les is the author of numerous books, including The Classroom Troubleshooter and Grammarama. His latest book is, Bullied Teacher: Bullied Student.  For more information, contact Les at clifpar@rogers.com.



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Mean Girls Aren’t Cool Founder was Inspired after being dropped by High School Friends

Nov 30 2010in Whats New admin Comments Off on Mean Girls Aren’t Cool Founder was Inspired after being dropped by High School Friends

Q&A with Kelsey Ann Jackson

Q. How were you bullied in high school?

A. When I was fourteen-years-old I was left out and wasn’t included in cliques and invited to parties. It was more psychological than overt.

Q. Can you explain what you mean by psychological?

A. The bullying was not physical. One day my friends decided to drop me and I felt very sad and alone. This type of bullying happens all the time and it is very painful.

Q. Did you try to talk to the girls who bullied you?

A. The group leader, known as the Queen Bee, happened to be by next door neighbor. When I tried to talk to her mom about being bullied by her daughter, she said that she’d rather have her daughter be in the popular group than be nice to me.

Q. Did you speak to a teacher or an adult about what happened to you?

A. I was too scared. I thought it would only get worse. I thought if I told anyone they would think I was a tattle tale.

Q. How were you able to finally get help?

A. My mother noticed that something was wrong. I told her what happened to me in school. My mom helped me find resources and encouraged me to speak to a teacher.

Q. Why do you think it’s necessary to tell a teacher at school about your experience?

A. Many teachers don’t know what it feels like to be bullied. No one likes to get in trouble. Bullies need to know that they are not going to get away with it.

Q. Now that you have started your own program called, Mean Girls Aren’t Cool, to help girls who have been targets of bullies, what has it been like for you to see the girls who once bullied you?

A. Today, I am thankful to those girls because I wouldn’t have started a program to help girls, if it wasn’t for what I went through.

For more information, visit meangirlsnotcool.com You can e-mail Kelsey Ann Jackson at meangirlsnotcool@bellsouth.net.

By Melissa Sherman, Executive Director, Beyond Bullies

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International Bullying Program is Tribute to Son’s Life

Oct 26 2010in Whats New admin Comments Off on International Bullying Program is Tribute to Son’s Life

 Q&A with Dr. Allan Beane 

Q: Why is bullying such an important cause for you? 

 A: Our son, Curtis, was bullied in seventh grade and in high school. Bullying contributed to his depression and anxiety and his need to turn to an illegal drug at the age of 23. He took METH to release the pain of bullying and it killed him. Since then, my wife and I formed a company called, Bully Free Systems, LLC.Q: I’m sorry to hear about your loss. How do most people cope with being bullied and where can it lead if it’s not addressed?

A: Thank you. Bullying destroyed our son. He eventually turned to METH to fly away from the problem.  Many people who suffer from bullying experience depression, anxiety disorders, school phobia, eating disorders, school shootings, suicides, alcohol and drug abuse and much more. Sometimes students join gangs, cults, hate groups and drug groups to have a place to belong and to be accepted. Bullies go up and commit crimes, abuse their spouse, their children and their animals. They also cause heartache in the workplace as adults. So, they also need our help.

 Q: What is bullying?

A: Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentionally hurtful (physical or psychological) and is persistent (repeated). Since it involves a power imbalance (physical or psychological), it is often threatening. So bullying is not accidentally hurting someone. It has to be intent to hurt and the person must be a repeated target. The person also must feel over powered. It does not have to be the same person or the same behavior, but the person is persistently mistreated.

 Q: Bullying is not exactly something new.  What had happened in the last years that it became so much more harmful and common?

 A: Bullying is more prevalent and more intense today because there are more students who are participating in it. Many of these students may not initiate bullying but they often encourage the bully to mistreat someone, they laugh when someone is mistreated or they join in on the mistreatment. In addition, students today constantly have some technology device turned on and are constantly communicating with one another. Unfortunately, they are using these means of communicate to hurt, humiliate, threaten individuals and often seek to destroy their reputations and their relationships with others.

 Q: How can parents help their children from being targets, a bystander or a bully?

 A: It also appears that more parents are not using effective discipline in their homes to help their children develop self-control. We have more children who are all “gas” and no “brakes.” Perhaps parents are spending less time with their children to develop empathy, sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others and the Golden Rule – “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

 Q: What would you say to someone who is being bullied?

 A: If you are being bullied or you know someone who is bullied, report it to the appropriate officials. If action is not taken, report it again to someone else. Document everything: who, what, when and where, and the other witnesses who were involved, and then report it. If you are mistreating others, stop it. You may push them too far – because they have been bullied for years and/or because they are also mentally ill. Grow up. Stop mistreating others. The fact is no one deserves to be mistreated. Even individuals who irritate you or provoke you do not deserve to be mistreated. The Golden Rule does not say treat others the way you want to be treated, if they do not irritate you. If you are encouraging it by giving the bully an audience or by laughing, stop it. Grow up. Be the good person you were designed to be. Don’t let others control your good heart. It is also time to “wake-up.” When we mistreat others we are being destructive to a human life and we may be putting lives at-risk – even our own. Our society seems to be devaluing human life. If that continues, we can expect more cruelty, more sickness, more suicides, and more shootings.

 For more information, visit www.bullyfree.com. You can e-mail Dr. Beane at abeane@bullyfree.com

By Melissa Sherman, Executive Director, Beyond Bullies

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