Photo Credit: ivillage
Talk to any educator and they’ll likely mention bullying as one of the top concerns in the classroom. If a student is bullied, he can’t focus or concentrate -- and can't learn. And with cyber-bullying, the name-calling, harassment and attacks are no longer restricted to the playground after school. They can happen anywhere and anytime.
During my time at CBS News, I learned about a unique program at a Long Island Elementary School. Instead of just focusing on the bully and the bullied, Walter S. Boardman Elementary in Oceanside, N.Y., targets the bystanders -- all the kids who witness the bullying as it happens.
When I visited the school, I met 36 sixth-graders hoping to become “Caring Majority Ambassadors,” who spread the word that caring is cool and bullying is not. They learn what to do from former ambassadors, seventh graders like Alec, who told us, “I’m trying to get the kids to understand that something should be done and never be ignored.”
The results speak for themselves: The number of bullying incidents and suspensions in the middle schools in Oceanside has gone down since it started implementing this anti-bullying approach, according to Herb Brown, Oceanside’s superintendent of schools. The brainchild of the program, Karen Siris, Boardman’s principal, credits the kids with its success. “I think that’s where the power is, that the kids are spreading the word, and the kids are telling other kids that it’s important to stand-up for yourself.”
Siris’ program is now being implemented in all the other elementary schools in Oceanside. Now I hope other schools nationwide will follow their lead.
What do you think is the key to ending the bullying problem? Chime in below!