These are my notes from Dr. Allan L. Beane’s presentation “How to Create Bully Free Classrooms and Schools” at the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s annual “Safe and Healthy Schools Conference” in Oklahoma City on 29 Oct 20207. Dr. Beane’s website is www.bullyfree.com. I am recording this session with permission from Dr. Beane and will share it later as a podcast. My thoughts and reflections in the following notes are in ALL CAPS.

The official description of this session is:

This session includes a quick review of the nature of bullying and the rationale for preventing and stopping it. It also includes an examination of the components of an effective, antibullying program, practical and effective reearch-based strategies, activities, and curriculum. Participants will learn how to create classrooms and schools where all students feel safe and have a sense of belonging.

Bullying is the most common form of school violence.
This is a topic I could speak on for a week, I feel very passionate about this.
This topic has gripped many people around the nation and world.
Clip from the Forrest Gump Movie (flashback to first day of school riding the bus, meeting Jenny for the first time, being chased by the bullies who were throwing rocks at him and chasing him on his bike)

What you
- students mistreating
- peer victimization
- so students are so persistently mistreated, some days all day long, for years, they begin to feel victimized
- this is ABUSE: peer abuse
- we call it bullying, but it is ABUSE and VICTIMIZATION, those terms are much more descriptive

Goals
- to increase your understanding of the nature of bullying
- to present the rationale for preventing and stopping bullying

you need to fully understand this problem so you don’t just jump to a conclusion that leads to ineffectual responses

remember the day Jenny didn’t come to school in the movie “Forrest Gump?”
- their prayer to be a bird and fly far, far away

I am going to show you today how kids are trying to fly far away from these problems of ABUSE and VICTIMIZATION
- you have a very complete handout
- I’ve given you as many tips and suggestions in my handout
- 17 steps in a manual that are suggested: for kids age 3 and up

I believe people need to have a passion in life
- this is my passion, it is important, I see it, I want to deal with it
- I believe in the golden rule

“Treat others the way you want to be treated”
- can you imagine what your school would be like if everyone in your school followed this?
- not just kid to kid, but also teacher to student and adult to adult
- that is critical for all

Very important in any anti-bullying program for the teachers / adults to follow the golden rule too

we have too many adults today who are acting like kids, who are mistreating students
- that has become a major issue
- I’m tired of it, I’ve heard too much of this

Told story of his own 7th grade son and mistreatment he was getting at the hands of a bully
- eventually led to him becoming an emotional wreck, he wasn’t sharing about his bullying

it is pretty stupid teaching violence vs violence
- most bullies are cowards, but are often bigger and stronger than their victims
- when there is a power imbalance you have to

when I told my son initially to hit back, I ran many risks
- my son could get injured, or the bully
- I also sent the signal that he was on his own in handling this

most of the time when you fight back like that (retaliate) you make it worst and it lasts longer
- that bully turned many of the boys on the football team and others against my son
- they isolated my son, he was sitting in the cafeteria alone by himself for weeks
- that made me angry

I wondered if teachers realized something was wrong
- I took my son out of that school to another system
- sometimes that doesn’t work, sometimes the bully calls a cousin

At 15 my son was in a catastrophic auto accident, riding in the passenger seat
- several of his fingers were amputated, he went back to school and was called pizza hand, “the penguin,” his girlfiend dropped him because the world had taught her “you only want to be friends with the pretty people”

I have people who come up now and apologize for bullying my son
- they say “I was just doing it because everyone else was”

at 23 years old my son said “I met some new people Dad who will pay me some attention”
- that was the last time I saw my son alive
- the people who he had gotten with were doing drugs, and we believe that he took meth and it killed him
- the sherriff said it looked like my son was trying to go for help, had his

“The Bullyfree Classroom” was my first book, which I wrote as a result of this

My wife and I have dedicated the rest of lives to the goal of making sure NO STUDENT is mistreated
- my son is the reason for my passion, the reason I am here today
- here in Oklahoma City at our Governor’s safe-schools summit I spoke to 10,000 students, but that wasn’t nearly as scary as the 400 kindergarteners I spoke to once!

Definition of Bullying: Bullying is a form of overt and aggressive behavior that is intentional, hurtful (physical and/or psychological), and peristent (repeated). Bullied children are teased, harassed, and assulted (verbally and/or physically) by one or more individuals and often socially rejected by their peers. There is an imbalance of strength (power).

Criteria to determine if the situation is bullying comes from the definition:
1- was it intentional?
2- was it hurtful?
3- was it persistent? (repeated target)
4- is there an imbalance of strength (power)? (physical or psychological: little boys can bully big boys in some instances, or it can just be a matter of being outnumbered)

No one should have to learn to deal with persistent mistreatment
- that is not a rite of passage, should not be a part of school, should not be a part of growing up, and it does not always make you a stronger person

What is violence? Violence is any word, look, sign, or act that hurts a person’s body, feelings, or things

I believe bullying IS violence

From Dan in Norway, types of bullying:
1- direct (physical and verbal)
2- indirect (social/relational)
3- other (cyberbullying)

kids now are always connected
- they can get worried when they are not getting messages via IM or phone
- in many cases kids are using

story of a girl who was having her period and was in the bathroom, and some girls at her school and used cell phone to

story of high school girls using a permanent magic marker to write all over another girl’s face, while she was held down
- what kind of a heart does that sort of person have, to do or tolerate that sort of behavior?

Direct bullying examples
- hitting, slapping, elbowing and shouldering (slamming)
- pushing and shoving
- kicking
- stealing, damaging and defacing property
- restraining
- flushing someone’s head in the toilet
- cramming someone into his/her locker
- sexual harassment
- pinching
- restraining
- “tea bagging” is a bully coming up behind a boy and hitting their scrotum

Verbal bullying
- name-calling
- insulting remarks and put downs
- have you heard of “304?” Write it down, now turn it upside down (hoe)
- repeated teasing
- racist remarks and harassment
- threats and intimidation
- whispering about someone behind his or her back

Social and Relational Bullying
- lots happening in locker rooms where there was not adult supervision
- destroying and manipulating relationships
- destroying someone’s reputation
- embarrassment and humiliation
- negative body language (facial expressions, turning your back to someone)
- threatening gestures
- ranking (socially classifying someone)
- hurtful graffiti
- excluding someone from a group (social rejection and isolation)
- mean and nasty notes passed around or sent to someone
- hate petitions (promising to hate someone)

IF THIS IS ANYTHING, IT IS A DESPERATE CRY FOR REAL LEADERSHIP IN SCHOOLS TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST INHUMANE TREATMENT OF OTHER HUMAN BEINGS, TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST VIOLENCE

the cognitive and psychological path of why victims to got violence

All you really need is

in one school 25 kids promised to hate another girl (hate petition)

BOY DO WE EVER LIVE IN A FALLING AND HURTING WORLD….

It doesn’t do a lot of good if you believe something and it doesn’t affect your behavior
- it has got to become a conviction
- we emphasize that in our program

IN TERMS OF WHAT TO DO ABOUT THIS, I RETURN TO GLOBAL NOMADS RWANDA VIDEOCONFERENCES AND THE HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR STORIES I’VE HEARD, WHICH SHOW WHERE HATE LEADS. THIS IS ABOUT HATE, INTOLERANCE

Cyberbullying
- often the victims turn into bullies
- they can feel stronger online, have a lot of anger
- don’t want to be bullied everywhere, so they
- can be more difficult to

TDTM = talk dirty to me
YBS – you’ll be sorry
UR DED (you’re dead)

teachers say some students

kids are afraid to tell parents about cyberbullying because the parent will take away technology or restrict access to technology (cell phone, computer)

Truth: some students experience ALL forms of bullying behavior
- sometimes students don’t realize how hurtful they are being

a lot of good kids are doing this
- maybe some of your own
- they don’t want to become the victim themselves so it can be easier for them to join in on this
- we can change those kids the quickest as soon as you show them the pain
- many of those bullies don’t realize how hurtful they are being

audio clip of Wanda, who was a student who experienced all forms of bullying
- from www.thereadings.net “Wanda” by The Readings

how are boys and girls different in their bullying behavior?
- we used to think boys bully more than girls, now we’re not so sure: we know many girls are sneaky

a reliable instrument like ours shows 20% – 58% of students have reported being bullied every day (varies from school to school)
- if you have ONE kid who is mistreated every day, all day, isn’t that a big probblem
- school personnel underestimate thse numbers
- most of it occurs in secret
- we generally underestimate this as professionals, kids keep this a secret and don’t tell adults

by the time kids tell you, in many cases they are desperate and need help NOW

good kids are doing this!
- get out of your mind what you experienced in school, thinking about just a few bullies
- lots of good kids with good hearts have been convinced to get in on this

Survey of 558 students in a midwestern middle school
- 80% of students reported they had recently bullied someone else

4th and 5th grade, it gets more physical
- kids get labeled a “rejectee”

age of school shooters: freshman and sophomores, they have been bullied for five more years after 4th or 5th grade

this gets worse in middle school

Where does it happen?
- we help schools identify the high risk areas
- just ask kids, they know, they will tell you
- wherever students are waiting, whenever the teacher leaves the classroom unsupervised (hello lawsuit at that point)

Some kids report, when the teacher walks out of the room, out come the cell phones

characteristics of these areas
- lack of adult supervision, or none
- lockerrooms, stairwells, in some hallways: often no adult supervision

not enough supervision and poor supervision are big problems
- there are WAYS to supervise, we have handouts for this for teachers
- in some schools teachers get mad when they are asked to supervise hallways

lack of structure is also a characteristic
- you let kids sit where they want
- one school using my program is using a software program now to randomly assign kids to different tables, those kids are now learning a new life skill of how to start a conversation with someone you don’t know

If you improve supervision, supervision quality, and add structure and use technology you will

“bullying happens because we adults have allowed it”

“this bullying issue is a heart problem”
- not a clearn school backpack

we have to change the hearts of kids, you have to make this a way of living
- this isn’t just “no name calling week” or have the counselor come in and do a lesson every once in awahile

Why don’t students report it
- sometimes kids are crying and begging me for help, when their peers are in the room
- kids say to me, they tell me because the know I care, they know I understand, I am a safe place for them to tell– that is what YOU have to become

“you have to create a telling environment in your school”

bullying must be prevented and stopped
- in every school
- more technology used
- Rachel Siemens author of “The Odd Girl Out”
- creates a fearful; environment
- poor school attendance and dropouts
- negative impact on learning

this has a big impact on funding via school attendance

this comes down for many to perceptions of the environment not being safe

creates cognitive disorganization for some students

- creates toxic shame
- self-harm (mutilation)
- suicide

story of girls who were convinced by other girls that they deserved to be abused

THERE IS WAY TOO MUCH FEAR PREDOMINANTING AND MULTIPLE LEVELS IN OUR SCHOOLS: FEARS ABOUT REPORTING BULLYING, FEARS ABOUT TESTING, FEARS ABOUT LAWSUITS, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR STRONG, ETHICAL LEADERSHIP. WHAT A HURTING WORLD WE LIVE IN. HOW BASIC IS IT TO CONSIDER THAT HUMAN BEINGS NEED SAFE ENVIRONMENTS WHERE THEY KNOW PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THEM, AND THEY CAN THRIVE BECAUSE THEY ARE SAFE?

several students have come up to me after sessions in the past year and told me they have tried to kill themselves over bullying
- some people say we have 35 kids per year that kill themselves because of bullying, but that is rubbish: the number is MUCH higher

story of three girls who committed suicide

many bullies don’t know about all the other “junk in the trunk” of other kids
- many kids have a terrible home life, and when school life becomes terrible they no longer have something to live for

do you see the pain?

there are still adults who don’t get it

DR BEAN SHOULD USE SOME DIGITAL STORIES OF KIDS TALKING ABOUT BULLYING, ITS EFFECTS, SOME OF THE STORIES HE IS TELLING US

There are 33 young kids who killed themselves because of bullying

NOW HE IS SHOWING A MOVIEMAKER VIDEO OF THOSE 33 KIDS, TO THE SONG “DON’T LAUGH AT ME”
- I DON’T THINK THERE IS A SOUL IN THIS ROOM OF 200+ FOLKS WHO IS NOT BEING DEEPLY TOUCHED BY THIS PRESENTATION. I KNOW I CERTAINLY AM.

I WONDER IF THIS VIDEO IS ON YOUTUBE? I BET IT IS.

Research indicates the fears from the bullying environment….

37 school shootings
- 75% were boys who retailiate because of
- from deep hate, to …… to revenge

NOW WE’RE SEEING A DIGITAL STORY OF A SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR FROM KENTUCKY WHO WAS SHOT AND IS NOW PARALYZED
- KID WHO DID THE SHOOTING SAID HE BROUGHT THE GUN TO SCHOOL TO GET REPECT

SO THIS IS TERRORISM HAPPENING RIGHT HERE, IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, WITH KIDS TERRORIZING OTHER KIDS
- ARE WE TALKING AND THINKING MUCH ABOUT THIS WAR ON TERROR?

THE SURVIVOR IS ALSO EMPHASIZING THE GOLDEN RULE
- her name is Missy Jenkins, is a social worker for an alternative school

Sometimes school shooters go in and target specific people who had bullied them, and then strike out at anyone because they no longer care

YOU are in that world
- it doesn’t matter how kind you were to those individuals
- your children, your colleagues are in this

school shootings are a complex problem
- bullying is clearly a major contributing factor
- we have to look beyond our anger, and look at what the contributing factors are

story of people in a community who are doing everything they can to ban a specific book that is about

the violence in the video games, the books, and the movies did not cause the hurt, the anxiety, the hate
- they may have fueled it
- but it did not give them the hate
- we falsely blame the technologies

we have got to wake up and figure out that the root of the problem is how kids are treating each other

your school safety plans are not complete unless you are addressing this problem

I’ve had principals tell me, “Alan we have a good discipline plan”
- hello?!
- aren’t we concerned about what is causing the anger in the first place

people get mad at me and ask if I’m suggesting we have empathy for school shooters
- Virginia tech shooter we found out he had been bullied in high school

kids running away from home, gang membership, cult membership, hate groups

story of a vampire group: if you can’t be a jock or a cheerleader, you can always become one of us

sometimes the “gothic kids” ask for a private meeting with Dr Beane
- some of them tell him they want to belong, be accepted

that desire to belong and be accepted

in our program we try to help schools create more places for kids to get connected, to belong

- drugs
- sex
- teen pregnancies: kids want someone who will love them unconditionally
- depression and anxiety disorders
- long lasting emotional effects
- creates societal problems

60% of bullies grow up to abuse spouses, children, animals, and they become your coworkers and your boss

bullying
- weakens the mind, heart, body, and spirit

look to the handout about suggestions to implement

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