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Sandy Hook Mother Devises Program to Tackle School Violence and Bullying

Scarlett Lewis, mother of a student killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, has developed a free program that seeks to promote social and emotional learning and safety in schools and reduce bullying. Lewis says the Choose Love Enrichment Program is designed to bolster resiliency and other skills in students.

Survey Shows a Dip in Bullying Behavior

The number of 12- to 18-year-olds who report being bullied has declined, according to the federal School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Data shows that 20.8% reported being bulled in 2015, down from 31.7% in 2007. The survey covers bullying that takes place in schools, on school property, on a school bus, or going to or from school, and it defines bullying by students who report:

  • being made fun of, called names or insulted
  • being the subject of rumors
  • being threatened with harm
  • being pushed, shoved, tripped or spit on
  • being pressured into doing things they did not want to do
  • being excluded from activities on purpose
  • having had property destroyed on purpose


Students were also asked whether they're bullied based on their race, religion, ethnic background or national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation, which researchers documented as hate-related speech. The reported drops come as schools have increased their focus on bullying prevention and focused more intentionally on what's known as social and emotional learning in an effort to improve school climate. It should be noted that this survey was done before the 2016 election and the bump in bullying that many educators have reported anecdotally.

Should Schools Tell Parents About Bullying?

There’s a debate happening around the country about whether schools should be required to tell parents about bullying. At least eight states already have laws requiring notification, however some LBGT advocates argue that schools could be put in the position of outing a student to their parents. In New York State, Jacobe’s Law is a bill that is being pushed by parents of a 12-year-old who committed suicide after repeated bullying, and is possibly close to passage.

Electronic Bullying Sensors Add New Meaning to Spy in the Sky

New technology called Fly Sense is designed to pick up on unusual sounds, such as doors slamming or fighting, in school bathrooms to identify whether students are being bullied. The technology also can identify whether students are using e-cigarettes in the bathroom. Several schools across the country are trying out the technology this school year including the New York City Schools. It will be interesting to see what privacy advocates have to say about it.

Is Bullying on the Decline?

Bullying in schools is on the decline, but still, 1 in 5 middle- and high-school students reports being bullied, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Justice Department. Data show a higher rate of bullying among some student groups including thirty-four percent of students who identified as LGBT complaining of bullying, compared to 19 percent who identified as heterosexual. David Osher, vice president at the American Institutes for Research

noted that campaigns to raise awareness can only help so much in helping to fight all kinds of bullying. He called for programs that build empathy and self-awareness, provide support for students who have mental health problems, and foster a positive climate in schools.

Bullying Tied to Adverse Health Issues

A study in the journal Pediatrics found that youths who were bullied in fifth grade had a higher risk of developing depression symptoms by seventh grade, and of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana abuse by 10th grade, compared with peers who weren't bullied. The findings were based on 2004 to 2011 data involving nearly 4,300 children in Birmingham, Alabama, Los Angeles and Houston.

Superheroes and Bullies

If you think that watching superheroes defend, protect and help the weak may inculcate positive traits in kids, you may be wrong. Rather, early exposure to superheroes may trigger aggressive behaviors like bullying and reduce empathy for others, a study published recently in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology has found. The findings show that children who frequently engage with superhero culture are more likely to be physically and relationally aggressive. The children were also not more likely to be defenders of kids being picked on by bullies and were not more likely to be pro-social. The studies author, Brigham Young University family life professor Dr. Sarah M. Coyne, says that like everything in parenting, it is not time to do away with superheroes but instead to remember it is all about moderation and being sure that superheroes are just one of the many things kids are interested in.

Finding a Seat at the Lunch Table – There’s an App for That

Is your child looking for someone to sit with during lunch? There's an IOS app for that. The Sit With Us mobile app was created by a student who spent a year eating alone and wanted to make sure everyone has someone to sit with during lunch. The app allows students to sign up as ambassadors and post open lunch tables to help reach out to other kids who have no one to sit with.

Punishment, Bullying and Your Child

It is hard to imagine your child as a bully, but as bullying and cyberbullying rates continue to rise despite many attempts to prevent it, it is important to think about what you would do if you get the dreaded call from school or another parent that your child is involved in a bullying incident. Evidence shows there is a big difference between punishing your child for bullying (which usually doesn’t work) and coming up with an appropriate action once you figure out why your child was bullying in the first place. The best way to react, experts say, is to try to get the bully to take the perspective of the other child involved. If they trust you, they will answer questions like “How do you think he feels about coming to school tomorrow knowing he is going to see you again?'”

Twitter Takes Action on Online Abuse

Twitter recently addressed longtime complaints by banning certain users and making its exclusive "verified status" option to be more openly available. Verified accounts include those maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas. The accounts have a blue checkmark next to the user's name to show the user or organization has been vetted by Twitter and the user's phone number and email address are legitimate.


This action was a direct result of the abuse that "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones received from Milo Yiannopoulos, a tech editor at Breitbart.com who has been suspended in the past for violating Twitter's code of conduct. Yiannopoulos incited his followers to bombard Jones with tweets criticizing the "Ghostbusters" new release that features all-female leads. Digital rights activists and victims of online abuse have long called for more proactive solutions that would give users means to address harassment more quickly without waiting for a response from the site's complaint department, or to ban repeat offenders who switch accounts.

Changing Nature of Digital Life and Dealing with Bullies

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New Data Reveals (and Upends) Realities About Bullying at School and Online

Experts are using multiple sources of data about cyberbullying to come to new conclusions, some of which are counter to the prevailing thought on the subject.

Developing a School Culture to Help Curb Bullying

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Bullying and the Brain

Adding to years of psychological and psychiatric research, current studies by neuroscientists, using MRI imaging, show that bullying and other emotional abuse can leave permanent scars on the brain

Feds Warn About Bullying of Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education has sent a reminder to schools of their responsibility to address and prevent disability discrimination...