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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Homeschool Presentation On the Subject of Bullying

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ASPCC):
"Each day an estimated 160,000 students in the USA refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers.  Many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression. It’s reported that 6 out of 10 American youth witness bullying at least once a day.  Bullying can result in a reluctance to go to school and truancy, headaches and stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, anxiety, irritability, aggression and depression. Bullying is a direct attack on a student’s status, sense of belonging and core identity, and often results in low self-esteem. The effects of bullying often continue many years into adulthood. In the most extreme cases, targets have taken out their anger and despair through school shootings or by committing suicide.  While the target of the bullying bears the brunt of the harm, there are negative consequences to everyone as well."
Yesterday I woke up to the devastating news that a student had shot and killed another student, and wounded four others in a high school shooting in Chardon, Ohio.  I don't know what lead this particular shooter to do something so horrific, but I found it uncanny that I had scheduled my children to attend a class about bullying on the same day that this dreadful event occurred.  

Mr. Jeff Burlingame, Chief Instructor, Kyoshi Nanadan (7th Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu, came to speak to a group of Homeschool students about the subject of bullying.  It was a very informative class and the children who attended ranged in ages from 5 to 16.

After the presentation I asked my older son to tell me what he had learned from the class.  Here is what he shared:
  • Most often bullies don't want to fight, they just want to intimidate you.
  • Bullies can make fun of you with their words.
  • Words can hurt more than physical contact.
  • Bullies can try to start a fight with you.
  • They may try to get something that belongs to you.
  • Sometimes bullying occurs because the bully doesn't want to be bullied himself.
  • 80% of middle school children will experience bullying.
  • Cyber bullying can really hurt people.  This can be done over the computer or the telephone via texting.
  • If your phone is on, bullying can happen any time of the day or night.
  • People have committed suicide because of bullying.
  • Bullying is ILLEGAL.
How to deal with bullying:
  • When confronting a bully look confident, but not too confident.
  • Your body language can give signs to a bully; stand up straight when challenged.
  • Look at him, do not look down and seem scared.
  • Keep your distance away from a bully.
  • Try talking to him; maybe you can get him to stop and walk away.
  • If you are bullied, tell others about it.
  • You have a right to defend yourself, but no one has a right to touch anyone else.

In this day and age, bullying can occur anywhere.  My five-year-old was bullied by a young boy in our neighborhood.  My husband quickly handled the situation by making it clear to the child that he would not be welcomed back to our home unless he apologized to our son. He was also made to understand that under no circumstance should something like that happen again.  A few days later the child came back and apologized.

We were lucky that we were there to put a quick stop to this behavior, but what if it would have happened elsewhere? 

I would highly recommend that you seek to have your children attend a bullying class in your area.  Call your local police station to see if they could have someone come and talk to your children.  Another suggestion is to contact a local martial arts business and inquire if they would be willing to teach a class.  You can also do a web search for "bullying classes."  By doing so, you will find a variety of online information.

Update:  Our family loves watching The Andy Griffith Show.  Here are two episodes that have to do with bullying.

Opie and the Bully

One Punch Opie (Part 1, 2, and 3)

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