Ending Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation in Our Schools: The Hard Steps Not Yet Taken



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Ending Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation in Our Schools: The Hard Steps Not Yet Taken

  • Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology, Rutgers University Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab
  • Sel.rutgers.edu SELinSchools.org
  • 848-445-2444 RutgersMJE@AOL.COM

What Do We Stand For?

  • How we treat children in all aspects of our contact with them ‐as parents, teachers, policy makers or advocates ‐matters, including many small things that add up to make a big difference.
  • What matters most is the extent to which we act with respect, challenge, caring, safety, civility and encouragement of opportunity and resilience.
  • All children can succeed. Do we really believe it, and are we ready to act on that belief with no alibis, no excuses, and no exceptions?

The Hard Road Not Yet Taken

  • There is just no reason for schools to accept any form of bullying behavior. It is not a developmental norm, being a victim does not toughen up anybody, and letting students who bully “slide” only sets the stage for more serious and dangerous problems later on.

The Hard Road Not Yet Taken

  • Schools must make hard, prompt, relentless, and sustained professional decisions that will create a healthy, productive, safe learning environment for everyone, regardless of ability or other personal characteristics.

How Would You Like Your Children to be Treated in School?

How Would You Like Your Children to be Treated in School?

  • How about your Grandchildren?

From John W. Whitehead

  • Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.
  • So…..
  • What messages are we sending when we send children into less than optimal schools?

The Numbers Compel Action

  • Nearly 28% of students aged 12-18 had been bullied physically, verbally, or online at least once in the survey year, according to a U.S. Department of Education study.
  • U.S. Department of Education, 2013

What researchers have learned

  • Children subjected to bullying generally suffer high levels of depression and related internalizing problems such as social anxiety.
  • Reijntjes et al., 2010
  • Children subjected to bullying experience compromised academic achievement.
  • Juvonen, Yueyan, & Espinoza, 2011

Mental Health Consequences

  • Students who have been both bullied and have bullied others have been identified as demonstrating the worst outcomes in terms of psychosocial adjustment, as compared to either group alone.— Kelly et al., 2015
  • Peers who witness bullying may become fearful of being victimized and can be
  • preoccupied with safeguarding their own status within the peer group.
  • — Salmivalli, 2010

A Road Too Hard To Travel

  • “Bystanders who are victimized may not have the social supports they need after witnessing a bullying incident…. Intervening requires the defender to confront a powerful bully and his/her supporters, risk damaging his/her social status with outgroup peers, and consider the acceptability of behavior as perceived by ingroup peers.”— Werth, Nickerson et al., 2015, p. 304

Core tenets of universal bullying prevention approaches

  • Use sound theoretical foundation
  • Take whole-school, multi-tier approach
  • Create infrastructure
  • Promote positive school climate and assess
  • Involve and distribute leadership
  • Train teachers and staff on prevention of bullying

Core tenets of universal bullying prevention approaches

  • Emphasize SECD
  • Promote “upstanders” for school norms and values
  • Include systematic formative and summative evaluation
  • Aligned to be developmentally appropriate
  • Coordinate antibullying efforts at all tiers of service
  • Plan for sustainability

Core tenets of selected/indicated (Tiers 2-3) bullying prevention approaches

  • Effectively manage bullying incidents
  • Train teachers and staff on managing bullying
  • Create strong school-wide antibullying policy
  • Establish a functional HIBAT -- Harassment-Intimidation-Bullying Action Team.

The HIBAT should:

  • A well-outlined protocol for reacting to
  • harassment, intimidation, and bullying
  • Include a summary report of the occurrences, including actions taken and recommendations to the principal
  • Ensure that an incident report has been made in compliance with their state’s reporting system

The HIBAT should:

  • Coordinate resources and services to the
  • bullying and the bullied child
  • Discuss the occurrence with an eye
  • toward systemic problems
  • Consider the occurrence in light of
  • professional development requirements
  • and any changes that may be needed

What research tells us about what works:

  • Improving School Climate
  • Bully/Victim Focus
  • Assemblies
  • TIPS: Don’t expect Bystanders to not bystand. That’s why they are called Bystanders. Active Bystanders is an oxymoron. Articulating values is essential for creating Upstanders. Changing Bystanders to “Upstanders” is a research-based strategy, consonant with improved school climate.
  • “Multi-faceted approaches to reducing bullying are more likely to succeed than single-component programs.”
  • Improving School Climate
  • DuPage (IL) Anti-Bullying Task Force Model Bullying Policy (2011)
  • Comprehensive Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD): A Coordinated Framework Provides Synergy
  • Programs without a Common Framework
  • A Common Framework Provides Synergy
  • Comprehensive SECD
  • Health Ed
  • Substance
  • Use Prev.
  • Violence
  • Prev
  • Character-related Ed
  • Service Learning
  • Sex Ed
  • Academic Skills
  • SCHOOL-FAMILY-COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
  • Sex Ed
  • Service Learning
  • Health Ed
  • Character-related Ed
  • Violence
  • Prev
  • Substance
  • Use Prev.
  • Academic Skills
  • Families
  • School-Wide Efforts

What is Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD)?

  • a set of skills and dispositions/essential life habits
  • that can be built developmentally if we do so with intentionality, focus, and continuity, and
  • schools are the place where most children can be reached systematically,
  • because the same set of skills and habits ultimately mediate academic, civic, and workplace success
  • and it relates to moral and performance character!
  • True academic and life success integrates the intellectual, emotional, and social facets of learning. These are inextricably interconnected.
  • How Can Standards-Based Education Succeed?
  • Positive, Character-Building
  • School
  • Climate
  • Explicit
  • Instruction
  • in SEL Skills
  • +
  • +
  • Habits of mind and patterns of thinking that include curiosity, explaining their reasoning, feedback process, asking questions, and defining and solving problems, and striving to communicate clearly and proudly.
  • Source: SEL and Academics: Research Brief,
  • Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, 2007.
  • Life
  • Success
  • Self-awareness
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship
  • skills
  • Responsible decision making
  • Self-management
  • Form positive relationships, work in teams, deal effectively with conflict
  • Make ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior
  • Manage emotions and behaviors to achieve one’s goals
  • Show understanding and empathy for others
  • Recognize one’s emotions, values, strengths, and limitations
  • What Skills are Needed for Success in School and Life/Participatory Competencies?
  • Good Science Links SECD to the Following Student Gains:
      • Social-emotional skills
      • Improved attitudes about self, others, and school
      • Positive classroom behavior
      • 10-11 percentile-point gains on standardized achievement tests
  • And Reduced Risks for Failure:
      • Conduct problems
      • Aggressive behavior
      • Emotional distress
  • Source: Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development. (available at www.casel.org) and M. Berkowitz & M. Bier, What works in character education. (Washington, DC: Character Education Partnership, 2006) (available at www.characterandcitizenship.org.)
  • Benefits of SECD

{Text} Complexity: The SEL of School and Life

  • Students will experience…
  • And so may need…..
  • Longer periods of engagement with text
  • Self-control as they get wiggly (Self-Management)
  • Self-motivation to stay engaged with text (Self-Management)
  • Perspective-taking as they make meaning of the text (Social Awareness)
  • Frustration with unfamiliar vocabulary or more complex text structure
  • Seeking help if they struggle with longer passages, unfamiliar vocabulary and structure (Relationship Skills)
  • Manage stress as they encounter more unfamiliar vocabulary than before (Self-Management)
  • Empathy for classmates who are struggling (Social Awareness)
  • Increased frequency working with peer groups to examine and problem solve around text
  • Setting and achieving goals (Self-Management)
  • Understanding social and ethical norms for behavior when working in peer groups (Social Awareness)
  • Communicating clearly and working cooperatively with peers (Relationship Skills)
  • Considering the well-being of self and others (Responsible Decision-Making)
  • The CCSS requires students to engage deeply in much more complex text than most have been exposed to previously. And not just read the text, but deeply engage in its vocabulary, point of view, and author’s intent, all while connecting to prior knowledge and prior reading.

{Close} Reading: The SEL of School and Life

  • Elements of Close Reading Include:
  • Self-Management skills required
  • Relationship skills required
  • Responsible Decision Making skills required
  • Individual reading of complex text
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • Group exploration of complex text
  • Self control
  • Self motivation
  • Perspective Taking
  • Setting and Achieving goals
  • Considering the well-being of self and others
  • Recognizing one’s responsibility to behave ethically
  • Evaluating realistic consequences of various actions
  • Student-led discussion and analysis of text
  • Regulating one’s emotions
  • Self control
  • Self motivation
  • Perspective Taking
  • Setting and Achieving goals
  • Communicating clearly
  • Working collaboratively
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Seeking help
  • Considering the well-being of self and others
  • Recognizing one’s responsibility to behave ethically
  • Basing decisions on safety, social and ethical considerations
  • Evaluating realistic consequences of various actions
  • Close Reading is a set of strategies that allow students to productively struggle with complex text in ways that accelerate and deepen their learning.
  • Teach SECD/
  • Health/Civic
  • Participatory
  • Competencies
  • Provide
  • Opportunities for
  • Positive Contributions,
  • Recognition, and
  • A Sense of Purpose
  • And Pride in Being
  • Part of the School
  • Less Risky
  • Behavior, More
  • Assets, &
  • Positive
  • Development
  • Greater
  • Attachment,
  • Engagement, &
  • Commitment
  • to School
  • Better
  • Academic
  • Performance
  • and Success
  • in School
  • and Life
  • Evidence-
  • Based SECD
  • Programming
  • to Support
  • the
  • Whole Child
  • Safe, Caring,
  • Cooperative,
  • Well-Managed
  • Learning
  • Environments
  • Paths to Success in School and in Life:
  • Success Requires a Confluence of SECD and Classroom and School Environment

If You Had a Magic Wand, What Values Would You Wish Your Children Would Internalize Forever?

  • Friendship •Long Life
  • Peace •Riches
  • Wisdom •Popularity
  • Beauty •Family

challenges our youth carry around with them each day

  • Increased pace of life
  • Greater economic demands on parents
  • Alterations in family composition and stability
  • Breakdown of neighborhoods and extended families
  • Weakening of community institutions
  • Unraveling of parent-child bonds due to work, school demands, time, drugs, mental health, and economic burdens
  • Climate of war, terror, and societal bullying and intimidation
  • Ongoing exposure to an array of digital media and pervasive advertising that encourage violence as a problem-solving tool and other health-damaging behaviors and unrealistic lifestyles

The Path Down the Hard Road

  • Systematic, comprehensive, effective, multilevel and coordinated approaches to school-wide SECD are essential for school safety and all students’ academic and life success

Summary of Research Evidence on the Impact of School Climate/Belonging on Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying, and Academics

  • “There is … powerful evidence that school climate affects students’ self-esteem and self-concept. School climate also colors school-based risk-prevention efforts. Effective risk-prevention and health-promotion efforts are correlated with a nurturing school climate. It also promotes academic achievement. As a result of these findings, fostering socially, emotionally, and physically safer schools has become a primary focus of the U.S. Department of Justice and virtually all state education departments.” (Cohen, 2006, p. 212-213.) HIB is a school organizational/values problem that requires strong policy and follow-up for prevention and response. It can be addressed effectively.
  • From Cohen, J. (2006). Social, Emotional, Ethical, and Academic Education: Creating a Climate for Learning, Participation in Democracy, and Well-Being. Harvard Educational Review, 76 (2), 201-237.

NJDOE Advice for Reducing Bullying

  • Embed the anti-bullying initiative in the larger framework of SECD programming. Work on improving school culture.
  • Make your anti-bullying policy clear, indicating the procedure and how bullying will be dealt with.
  • Train ALL staff, volunteers, and others coming into school regularly so they know how to recognize & report bullying.
  • Use surveys to highlight problem areas & address them.
  • Take STEPS to Identify victims, dangerous spots.
  • Develop “Upstanders” to defuse situations.
  • Follow investigation & remediation procedures consistently.
  • Create 8-Week Action Planning cycles to flesh out policy and procedures.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: The Law requires schools to annually establish, implement, document and assess their bully prevention programs.

How to Get Unjumbled and Move towards Schools of Character and Academic Accomplishment: Six Lessons Learned from DSACS

  • School Identity Clarification, Integration, Social Marketing
    • Identify core values, essential life habits, themes, what the school stands for; consider Laws of Life-based interventions
    • Unjumble the school house developmentally in support of the core; prune before you plant
    • Integrate core elements throughout the curriculum and report cards
    • Articulate the role of SECD in reaching goals and the scope and sequence in assuring all students will improve SECD skills in systematic, continuous, coordinated ways
  • Infrastructure Development and Support
    • Work from and with existing climate, discipline, character, SEL, anti-bullying, etc. teams
    • Distribute leadership, help teams learn to work and problem-solve, obtain administrative support, and achieve and celebrate success

More Lessons Learned

  • Climate and Culture Assessment, Feedback, Planning
    • Climate Assessment of Students, Staff, Parents
    • Identification of other indicators and data gathering procedures to contribute to assessment and ongoing evaluation
    • Data Review and 8-week Planning Cycle Worksheets
  • Promote Student Voice and Engagement in Learning and the Life of the School and Community
    • Systematically build and provide SECD skills, service learning, student government, participation opportunities
    • Set powerful norms for respectful relationships in classrooms and elsewhere
    • Greet students, recognize absences and life events, and ensure all have a positive connection with staff or peer mentors

More Lessons Learned…

  • Connect to Existing Mandates
    • Show how SECD is essential to meeting existing mandates, including:
    • Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying/Violence Prevention Policies, ATOD Policies, etc.
    • School and District Goals
    • Effective implementation of Core Curriculum Content Standards
    • Expected/Mandated Behaviors of School Professionals and their Accountability Systems
  • Connect to Those Who Are Walking the Walk
  • -- those implementing other whole school models (CASEL/SEL;
  • CEP/NSOC; Responsive Classroom; Social Norms)
  • -- value your SECD colleagues and share and steal shamelessly

NJSHACC Guidelines for Successful Schools: The Culture of a Caring, Learning Organization

  • INSPIRING…………………of one another
  • CHALLENGING…………..take risks to improve
  • SUPPORTIVE…………….collective efficacy
  • SAFE AND HEALTHY……others’ keepers
  • ENGAGED…………………collaborative norms
  • RESPECTFUL……………...no-fear communication
  • COMMUNITIES OF LEARNERS…set and pursue goals for learning together
  • See: http://selinschools.org/new-jersey-culture-and-climate-coalition/

What are Essential Features of Your School Climate and Culture?

  • Identify dimensions important for your school; assessment often goes beyond a single climate survey instrument and depends on your emphases (e.g., walkthrough rubrics)

Guiding Questions for Data Review

  • 1. What are your school’s strengths?
  • 2. What is your school doing that makes these areas strong?
  • 3. What are your surprises from this survey?
  • 4. What results did you think would be different?
  • 5. What practices do you think led to these results?
  • 6. Do you notice patterns that stand out (e.g., grade level, ethnicity, gender)?
  • 7. What are your school’s challenges?
  • 8. What is your school doing systematically in each area of the SECD Logic Model- student attachment/contributions/engagement, positive recognition, SECD skill development, classroom climate improvement, to reach all students with “no alibis, no exceptions, no excuses”?

DSACS Data on Bully-Climate- Voice Connection

  • Data from Years 3 and 4 of the DSACS project, the first years in which we collected anonymous data on students’ perception of bullying.
  • We examined the relationship between the degree of bullying in school and the extent to which students felt they were being given useful strategies to handle bullying, and their perception of the school climate. The overall data set represents 115 schools and 48 districts, and 48,000 students, across the full range of DFG’s in NJ, across the entire state geographically.
  • Across all data sets for both years, for disadvantaged schools vs. others, and for elementary, middle, and high schools, the finding were remarkably consistent.

Key Findings

      • Bullying is related to the climate of the school and is most strongly and significantly related to the respect that students feel in the school, especially among their peers.
      • Where there is a respectful environment, bullying is less likely to exist in schools.

Key Findings

      • The extent to which students feel they are truly learning strategies to cope with HIB in their schools is most strongly related to the:
      • extent to which they perceive teachers as being caring and supportive to students and to one-another, and
      • secondarily to extent to which students feel they are involved in shaping their school environment in positive ways.
      • Students appear to find HIB prevention and intervention messages valuable when staff members are seen as genuinely caring and when students are engaged in the school.

Best Practices for Fostering Youth Engagement and Building Students’ SECD

      • Meaningful, Participatory Student Government
      • Service Learning-- Lions-Quest International
      • Feedback/Sharing Opportunities
      • Open Forums for School Problem Solving
      • Staff/Student Committee Involvement
      • Having a Voice/Diversity Monitoring
      • Buddies, Mentors, and Tutors, across age and ability
      • Opportunities for Reflection
      • Opportunities for Identifying and Developing one’s Laws of Life/Sense of Purpose

Best Practices for a Welcoming, Fair, Inclusive School Climate

  • Involve students in all procedures for HIB response and prevention and enlist them as upstanders by articulating positive school values for all students and adults to live by.
  • Greet all students by name when they enter the school or classroom. Consider having a regular morning meeting in each classroom.
  • Create rules in the classroom that recognize positive behavior, such as cooperation, caring, helping, encouragement and support. Be sure that all conduct/ discipline rules and procedures are clear, firm, fair and consistent.
  • Begin and/or end individual classes/the school day with brief periods of time for students to reflect on what they have learned recently and what they might want to learn next. Consider student legacy cards, that ask students to articulate the school legacy they want to leave.
  • Give students a voice with project-based learning, service-learning, meaningful and representative student government.
  • Have regular, routine communication with parents.
  • A picture is worth 1000 words:
  • Ripple Effect Video
  • How can this and other videos be used as centerpieces for committed long-tern conversations about the future of schools?
  • Who should be part of your school’s conversations?
  • How will they get started and continue?

Ending HIB Requires Courage and Reconciliation

  • What is the position of the leaders in your school?
  • What is the position of opinion leaders?
  • What is the position of the students?
    • Similarities
    • Disparities
    • Challenges

Recommendations to Guide Policy

  • Each student should receive a minimum of one-half hour of explicit instruction per week in skills related to social-emotional and character development (SECD) as part of a comprehensive prek-12 scope and sequence (see Anchorage, Alaska, public schools for an example of such a framework, as well Appendix C of CASEL's Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators).

Building SECD Competencies

  • The Trigger Situation Monitor
  • What are YOUR trigger situations?
  • What do kids, colleagues do that drive YOU up the wall?
  • What drives your students up the wall and how can we give them a vocabulary, context, and process to improve how they respond?

Integration of SECD into Lessons

  • FEELINGS
  • Reading
  • Identify how passages reflect
  • emotions
  • Art
  • Draw where people feel emotions; feelings and colors
  • Math
  • Collect and graph
  • “feelings” data; track
  • emotions during
  • problem solving
  • Written Expression
  • Use feelings vocabulary
  • in journal entries, poetry,
  • essay writing; read
  • wordless books
  • Computer
  • Literacy
  • Computer generated
  • illustrations of feelings;
  • download songs
  • reflecting emotions
  • SECD Lessons
  • Build skills via games,
  • videos; practice with
  • role plays and application
  • to group work

Integration of SECD into Lesson Content and Process: Fill in the Blanks

  • Respect/
  • Intimidation
  • Reading
  • Art
  • Math/
  • Other Subject
  • Written
  • Expression
  • Social Studies
  • SECD Lessons

Background: The Laws of Life Essay Journey

  • What is the Laws of Life Essay Journey?
  • Case example: Plainfield Public School District, Plainfield, NJ and the book, Urban Dreams
  • Extending the effects into everyday interactions, homes and communities: Learning to live one’s Laws of Life (not really a paradox….)

Values-Linked Goal-setting Contracts

  • Step-by-step exercise to help youth identify a goal and make effective plans for goal achievement
  • A promise people make to themselves
  • Includes a “buddy” for mutual accountability/ responsibility

Recommendations to Guide Policy

  • Every teacher, student support services provider, and administrator should have demonstrated competence in implementing evidence-based SECD programming and positive climate promotion at the classroom and/or school level (as appropriate).

Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools SELinSchools.org

  • Address the gap in professional development of school leaders and teachers that exists today and to create a community for on-going mentoring, resource support, and sharing of experiences from walking the talk!
  • The Academy offers a virtual Professional Learning Community and two certificate programs.
  • Certificate for School Leadership in Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development.
  • Certificate for Direct Instruction of Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development.
  • Academy Overview Video:
  • http://sel.cse.edu/academy/

Ongoing Supports on Your SEL/Character Journey: Earn a Certificate for Direct Instruction in Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development

  • sel.rutgers.edu
  • Rutgers University and the College of Saint Elizabeth are pleased to announce online courses leading to a certificate in Direct Instruction in Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Character Development (CD) in Schools and After-School Programs.

The 3 course program that leads to the certificate allows instructors to:

  • Acquire a foundation of knowledge and research
  • Build SECD skills and mindsets
  • Develop skill in pedagogical strategies
  • Address issues such as harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and substance abuse prevention

The 3 course program that leads to the certificate allows participants to:

  • Learn best practices for implementing social skills groups in and after school, service learning, and conflict resolution programs
  • Participate in a supervised practicum
  • Engage fellow educators and group leaders
  • Take an accelerated track for those with SEL/CD experience

What is the Online Professional Development Community?

  • A unique feature of the courses and the certificate is participants’ involvement in a virtual Professional Learning Community (vPLC). Beginning with participation in one’s classes and practicum, there is an emphasis on being part of a community of learners who support and assist one-another during the courses– and beyond.

From Vision to Actuality on the Hard Road Toward Becoming a School of Character: Troubleshooting

  • Ask yourself these questions:

Where is the opposition my school becoming a School of Character? What strengths can I mobilize to address this opposition? What are the compelling rationales? Images? Stories?

  • Where is the opposition my school becoming a School of Character? What strengths can I mobilize to address this opposition? What are the compelling rationales? Images? Stories?
  • How can I compensate for opposition?
  • Offset it?
  • What infrastructure must we build?

What are the actions I most need to take…

  • What are the actions I most need to take…
  • … in the next week?
  • … in the next two weeks?
  • … in the next month?
  • … in the next 2-3 months?
  • … in preparation for the end of the school year?
  • … in preparation for the start of the next school
  • year?
  • … who else must be involved?

You Cannot Effectively Convey What You Do Not Show: The Courage of Expressing Your Convictions

  • “Don’t let what you
  • cannot do interfere
  • with what you can do.”
  • John Wooden
  • “The children are waiting.”
  • Ted Sizer


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