MS/HS Bullying Social Skills Packet This packet is Part One of the XXXX School Anti-Bullying Plan.
The Anti-Bullying Plan that XXXX School has implemented is below. Please understand that you are at the second level of intervention. You should have already met with a counselor, social worker, or administrator to discuss your behavior, and your parent/guardian has been contacted. If you continue to bully (perpetrate against) others, you may eventually move to the sixth level of intervention, which will result in expulsion from school. Please familiarize yourself with current Indiana Statutes regarding these types of behaviors.
SECTION 5. IC 20-33-8-0.2, AS ADDED BY P.L.106-2005, SECTION 6, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2013]:
Sec. 0.2. (a) As used in this chapter, "bullying" means overt, unwanted, repeated acts or gestures, including (1) verbal or
written communications or images transmitted in any manner (including digitally or electronically), (2) physical acts committed, aggression, or (3) any other behaviors, that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the other targeted student and create for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment that:
(1) places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to the targeted student's person or property;
(2) has a substantially detrimental effect on the targeted student's physical or mental health;
(3) has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student's academic performance; or
(4) has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, and privileges provided by the school.
(b) The term may not be interpreted to impose any burden or sanction on, or include in the definition of the term, the following:
(1) Participating in a religious event.
(2) Acting in an emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial danger.
(3) Participating in an activity consisting of the exercise of a student's rights protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, or both.
(4) Participating in an activity conducted by a nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, education training, or other care under the supervision of one (1) or more adults.
(5) Participating in an activity undertaken at the prior written direction of the student's parent.
(6) Engaging in interstate or international travel from a location outside Indiana to another location outside Indiana.
SOCIAL SKILLS PACKET PART ONE
The purpose of this packet is to teach you, the perpetrator, how the target might feel when you do something that hurts them. You are considered a perpetrator if you repeatedly physically, verbally, and/or non-verbally hurt someone. You are also considered a perpetrator if you isolate someone from your social group intentionally.
We would like you to think while you are completing the work in this packet. Try to understand how the students whom you are hurting feel when you make fun of them, hit them, embarrass them, or isolate them. When you do things that hurt others, this is an act that they may never forget. We hope you do not want to be remembered as someone who hurts others. You should want to be remembered for something positive you have accomplished.
You are required to complete the assignments in this packet on separate sheets of paper. Do not write in this packet. When you are finished you will turn it into XXXXX, who will review what you have written. This packet may also be shared with your school counselor or with the social worker. If you do not complete each part of this packet in its entirety, your disciplinary consequence may move on to the next level, level three.
Answer each of the following questions, using separate sheets of paper.
Describe the bullying incident you were involved in.
What was the target’s reaction to what you did?
How did you feel when you were hurting the target?
How do you think the target felt while you were hurting them?
What would you do if someone hurt one of your family members?
What would you do if someone hurt you the way that you hurt the student?
What is the happiest experience you have had while at XXX High School?
What is the worst experience you have had while at XXX High School?
What can you do to change your behavior?
Read the following statements about kids who have been bullied in school.
Statement 1: “I am having a rough time growing up. I look funny and feel scared all of the time. I don’t have a lot of money for clothes, so I dress weird too. I am a nice person, but no one wants to be my friend. To make things worse, I get teased all of the time. Not by just one person, but from a lot of people. I don’t know why they tease me. I wish they knew how much it hurts. They think it’s funny, but it’s not. I want so much to be liked. I feel like no one likes me. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t alive.”
Statement 2: “A boy at school continues to push me in the hall, hit me in the head, and make fun of me in front of other people. I don’t ever say anything back because I don’t want to get in trouble. I also don’t want the person to hurt me anymore. I try to ignore this, but sometimes when he hits me it hurts. I wish he knew how much he hurts me. After he hits me, I run into the bathroom and cry. I just want him to leave me alone. Why can’t he leave me alone?”
Statement 3: “A girl at school continues to make fun of me and talks about me not having a mom. I never told the girl this, but my mom is dead. It hurts me every time she mentions my mom, because I didn’t ask for my mom not to be around. I loved my mom and I still do, and it hurts me when they make fun of the fact that I don’t have a mom.”
Now that you have read these three statements, write down what each person can do to make the perpetrator understand that he/she needs to leave them alone. The targets don’t want these people to get into trouble, so what can they do to stop the bully that won’t get them in trouble? Also, add how you think each person is feeling in each situation. How would you feel if you were these victims?
Writing a script: Some students find themselves making the bold decision to confront a perpetrator. Think about why you are in Saturday School today. Write a script on how the person that you victimized could have confronted you to make you leave them alone. The following is the format for writing a script:
Alex: Well, look who it is! Little ugly Carla. You’re so ugly…
Carla: Stop! I’ve had enough of your bullying. I want you to leave me alone right now.
Try to make the conversation as real as possible. What kinds of things would you both say to each other? How would you go about resolving the problem? Try to express with words, the kinds of emotions that you both are feeling.
Begin your script with:
A narrator or someone telling the story
You as the perpetrator
The student or students who are the target(s)
You have come to the end of the first social skills packet. After completing the packet, do you think you will change your behavior and think before performing a bullying act? We as counselors, social workers, and teachers hope that you will. One thought we would like to leave you with is this:
When you are mean to someone else, it is a planned activity or a choice that you make. You are showing someone that you don’t care how they feel, but that you only care about the attention and the power that you get from hurting them.
SOCIAL SKILLS PACKET PART TWO
Writing a paragraph: Write a paragraph about a person who was teased or bullied in your school or neighborhood. Describe the person and then explain how others treated him or her. Make your description detailed enough so that your readers can picture the person clearly and understand what happened. Use a topic sentence such as “Gordon was bullied a lot by my eighth-grade classmates because of his unusual behavior.”
Writing an essay: What would you do if you were a counselor or social worker who was asked to come up with ideas to help students treat one another better? Write an essay in which you make detailed suggestions for what teachers and students could do to make your school a friendlier, more peaceful and accepting place.
The following is a story from a book about bullying called Bullying in Schools: What you need to know, by Paul Logan.
Preview: Rowing the Bus By Paul Logan
If you could go back in time and undo one thing you are sorry for, what would it be? Such a long-regretted moment is the focus of Paul Logan’s essay. While we can never turn back the clock, this story illustrates how we can do the next best thing: we can turn our regrets into valuable lessons in living.
When I was in elementary school, some older kids made me row the bus. Rowing meant that on the way to school I had to sit in the dirty bus aisle littered with paper, gum wads, and spitballs. Then I had to simulate the motion of rowing while the kids around me laughed and chanted, “Row, row, row the bus.” I was forced to do this by a group of bullies who spent most of their time picking on me.
I was the perfect target for them. I was small. I had no father. And my mother, though she worked hard to support me, was unable to afford clothes and sneakers that were “cool”. Instead she dressed me in outfits that we got from “the bags”, hand me downs given as donations to a local church.
Each Wednesday, she’d bring several bags of clothes to the house and pull out musty, wrinkled shirts and worn bell-bottom pants that other families no longer wanted. I knew that people were kind to give things to us, but I hated wearing clothes that might have been donated by my classmates. Each time I wore something from the bags, I feared that the other kids might recognize something that was theirs.
Besides my outdated clothes, I wore thick glasses, had crossed eyes, and spoke with a persistent lisp. For whatever reason, I had never learned to say the “s” sound properly, and I pronounced words that began with the “th” as if they began with a “d”. In addition, because of my severely crossed eyes, I lacked the hand and eye coordination necessary to hit or catch flying objects.
As a result, footballs, baseballs, soccer balls and basketballs became my enemies. I knew before I stepped onto the filed or court, that I would do something clumsy or foolish and that everyone would laugh at me. I feared humiliation so much that I became skillful at faking illnesses to get out of gym class. Eventually I learned how to give myself low grade fevers so that the nurse would write me an excuse. It worked for a while, until the gym teachers caught on. When I did have to play, I was always the last one chosen to be on any team. In fact, the captains did everything in their power to make their opponents get stuck with me. When the unlucky team captain was forced to call my name, I would trudge over to the team, knowing that no one there liked or wanted me. For four years, from second through fifth grade, I prayed nightly for God to give me school days in which I would not be insulted, embarrassed, or made to feel ashamed.
I thought my prayers were answered when my mother decided to move during the summer before sixth grade. The move meant that I got to start sixth grade in a different school, a place where I had no reputation. Although the older kids laughed and snorted at me as soon as I got on my new bus, they couldn’t miss my thick glasses and strange clothes, I soon discovered that there was another kid who received the brunt of their insults. His name was George, and everyone made fun of him. The kids taunted him because he was skinny; they belittled him because he had acne that blotched his face, and they teased him because his voice was squeaky. During my first physical education class at my new school, I wasn’t the last one chosen for kickball; George was.
George tried hard to be friends with me, coming up to me in the cafeteria on the first day of school. “Hi. My name’s George. Can I sit with you?” he asked with a peculiar squeakiness that made each word high pitched and raspy. As I nodded for him to sit down, I noticed an uncomfortable silence in the cafeteria. Many of the students who had mocked George’s clumsiness during physical education class began watching the two of us whispering among themselves. By letting him sit with me, I had violated an unspoken law of school, a sinister code of childhood that demands there must always be someone to pick on. I began to realize two things. If I befriended George, I would soon receive the same treatment that I had gotten at my old school. If I stayed away from him, I might actually have a chance to escape being at the bottom.
Within days, the kids started taunting us whenever we were together. “Who’s your new little buddy, Georgie?” In the hallways groups of students began mumbling just loud enough for me to hear, Look, its George’s ugly boyfriend.” On the bus rides to and from school, wads of paper and wet chewing gum were tossed at me by the bigger, older kids in the back of the bus.
It became clear that my friendship with George was going to cause me several more years of misery at my new school. I decided to stop being friends with George. In class and at lunch, I spent less and less time with him. Sometimes I told him I was too busy to talk; other times I acted distracted and gave one-word responses to whatever he said. Our classmates, sensing that they had created a rift between George and me, intensified their attacks on him. Each day, George grew more desperate as he realized that the one person who could prevent him from being completely isolated was closing him off. I knew that I shouldn’t avoid him, that he was feeling the same way I felt for so long, but I was so afraid that my life would become the hell it had been in my old school that I continued to ignore him.
Then one day, the meanest kid in the school, Chris, decided he had had enough of George. He vowed that he was going to beat up George and anyone else who claimed to be his friend. A mob of kids formed and came after me. Chris led the way and cornered me by my shirt and raised his fist over my head. A huge gathering of kids surrounded us in the hall, urging him to beat me up, taunting “Go Chris, go!”
“You’re Georgie’s new little boyfriend, aren’t you?” he yelled. The hot blast of his breath carried droplets of his spit into my face. In a complete betrayal of the only kid who was nice to me, I denied George’s friendship.
“No, I’m not George’s friend. I don’t like him. He’s stupid.” I blurted out. Several kids snickered and mumbled under their breath. Chris stared at me for a few seconds and then threw me to the ground.
“Wimp. Where’s George?” he demanded, standing over me. Someone pointed to George sitting alone on top of the monkey bars about thirty yards from where we were. He was watching me. Chris and his followers sprinted over to George and yanked him off the bars to the ground. Although the mob quickly encircled them, I could still see both boys at the center of the crowd, looking at each other. George seemed strangely frozen, staring straight through Chris. I heard the familiar chant of “Go, Chris, go!” and watched as his fists began slamming into George’s head and body. His face bloodied and his nose broken, George crumpled to the ground and sobbed without having even thrown a punch. The mob cheered with pleasure and darted off into the hallway to avoid an approaching teacher.
Chris was suspended, and after a few days George came back to school. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him how he was, and to apologize for leaving him alone and for not trying to stop him from getting hurt. But I couldn’t go near him. Filled with shame for denying George and angered by my own cowardice, I never spoke to him again.
Several months later, without telling any students, George transferred to another school. Once in a while, in those last weeks before he left, I caught him watching me as I sat with the rest of the kids in the cafeteria. He never yelled at me or expressed anger, disappointment, or even sadness. Instead he just looked at me.
In the years that followed, George’s silent stare remained with me. It was there in eighth grade when I saw a gang of popular kids beat up a sixth-grader because, they said, he was “ugly and stupid.” It was there my first year in high school when I saw a group of older kids steal another freshman’s clothes and throw them into the showers. I was there a year later, when I watched several seniors press a wad of chewing gum into the hair of a new girl on the bus. Each time I witnessed another awkward, uncomfortable, scared kid being tormented, I thought of George, and gradually his haunting stare began to speak to me. No longer silent, it told me that every child who is picked on and taunted deserves better, that no one-no matter how big, strong, attractive, or popular, has the right to abuse another person.
Finally, in my junior year when a loud mouthed bully named Donald, began picking on two freshmen on the bus, I could no longer deny George. Donald was crumpling a large wad of paper and preparing to bounce it off the back of the head of one of the young students when I interrupted him.
“Leave them alone, Don,” I said. By then I was six inches taller and, after two years of high school wrestling, thirty pounds heavier than I had been in my freshman year. Though Donald was a year older than me, he wasn’t much bigger. He stopped what he was doing, squinted and stared at me.
“What’s your problem, Paul?” I felt the way I had many years earlier when I watched the mob of kids begin to surround George on the school playground. “Just leave them alone. They aren’t bothering you.” I responded quietly.
“What’s it to you?” He challenged. A glimpse of my own past of rowing the bus, of being mocked for my clothes, my lisp, my glasses, and my absent father, flashed in my mind.
“Just don’t mess with them. That’s all I am saying, Don.” My fingertips were tingling. The bus was silent. He got up from his seat and leaned over me, and I rose from my seat to face him. For a minute, both of just stood there, without a word, staring.
“I’m just playing with them, Paul.” He said chuckling. “You don’t have to go psycho on me or anything.” Then he shook his head, slapped me firmly on the chest with the back of his hand and sat down. But he never threw that wad of paper. For the rest of the year, whenever I was on the bus, Don and the other trouble makers were noticeably quiet.
Although it has been years since my days in the hall and the school bus, George’s look still haunts me. Today, I see it on the faces of a few scared kids at my sister’s school; she is in fifth grade. Or once in awhile I’ll catch a glimpse of someone like George on the evening news, in a story about a child who brought a gun to school to stop the kids from picking on him, or in a feature about a teenager who killed himself because everyone teased him. In each school, in almost every classroom, there is a George, hoping that someone nearby will be strong enough, brave enough, and kind enough to stand up against people who attack, tease or hurt those who are vulnerable.
If asked about their behavior, I’m sure the bullies would say, “What’s it to you? It’s just a joke.” But to George and me, and everyone else who has been humiliated or laughed at or spat on, it is everything. No one should row the bus.
Questions to answer:
Why do you think people were so mean to George and Paul?
Why do you think Paul denied George as his friend?
If you were in a situation like Paul was, where you might get beat up if you are friends with the school “nerd,” would you do the same thing that he did? Why or why not?
Have you ever been in a situation where you were bullied?
You are in Saturday School because you have bullied someone. Rewrite the situation where Paul was made to row the bus. What would you say if you were Paul? How would you confront those who were laughing at him? Now rewrite the part in the story where Paul denied George as his friend. If you were confronted like Paul was, what would you do or say to get out of it, without denying George?
Write down what you think about how the story ended. How would you end the story?
The novelist, Henry James, once said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” Are there things that teachers, school administrators, parents and other concerned adults can do to encourage young people to treat one another with kindness rather than cruelty?
You have come to the end of your Social Skills Packet.
After completing this packet, do you think you will change your behavior and think before performing a bullying act? We as counselors and administrators hope that you will. One thought we would like to leave you with is this: When you are mean to someone else, that is a planned activity or a choice that you make. You are showing someone that you don’t care how they feel, and that you only care about the attention and the power that you get from hurting them.