Palms does not tolerate bullying or cyberbullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are frequent behaviors and experiences in middle school but should not be considered "part of growing up."
Bullying occurs at every school but some schools pretend the problem doesn't exist. Palms confronts the problem head-on. As a middle school parent you should too.
Education and Action
The anti-bullying program at Palms relies on education and action.
- Education. Palms provides student education, staff education, and parent education about bullying and cyberbullying. Everyone in the school community should be aware of the problems and what can be done about them.
- Action. Action is taken when the school staff learns of bullying or cyberbullying incidents from victims, bystanders, parents, or staff members who observe bullying behavior. Each and every case is taken seriously.
We teach students to recognize inappropriate behavior, explain that bystanders should say something or do something, and show how tease-proofing works. We give presentations, show video clips, do role-playing, and share information from Bullies to Buddies and other sources. We hold grade-level assemblies but also work with students one classroom at a time.
What is Bullying?
- Bullying is a form of intimidation where someone belittles, threatens, or hurts someone else using name-calling, taunting, spreading rumors, gesturing, or by physically shoving, tripping, etc.
- A disagreement between pals or a similar argument between equals is not bullying. Bullying occurs when students are in some way unequal, and one student is taking unfair advantage of a difference.
- Example: A student taunts another student based on social status, popularity, body size, grade level, appearance, success in academics or sports, or some other perceived advantage.
What is Cyberbullying?
- Electronic communications are part of modern life and are often part of a student's social development.
- Cyberbullying means online intimidation using electronic communications such as e-mail, text and picture messaging, cell phone calls, videochat, multiuser online gaming, and interacting at message boards and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
- Cyberbullying most often occurs off-campus, not during school hours. Cyberspace can be much like an extension of the school grounds. For that reason, it can affect students and school performance just like on-campus bullying.
Facts about bullying
- When a student is victimized by intimidation outside school, the most likely perpetrators are school classmates or kids they know from the neighborhood, sports teams, clubs, off-campus classes, summer camp, etc. Anonymous cyberbullying is less common.
- In surveys a majority of 12- to 17-year-olds report being bullied and/or cyberbullied at least once. Victims are usually fairly sure who the bully is.
- Students who are bullied at school are more likely to be cyberbullied online. Students who use the Internet are more likely to encounter cyberbullying if they have pages on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
- Nine out of 10 victims don't tell an adult. They may think it's their problem to handle on their own, may feel guilty, worry about retribution, or fear getting in trouble with parents. They may fear losing their technology privileges if they report cyberbullying.
- It's a myth that bullies are insecure outcasts. They are often the most popular among their peers.
- Repeated bullying can have long-lasting effects, including poor school performance, loss of interest, general unhappiness, and students learning to see themselves as victims even after bullying stops.
- Having a racially and culturally rich school (like Palms) can reduce bullying because every day students are learning to accept and appreciate differences.
It's the Law
- Cyberbullying has been illegal in California since 2009.
- In October 2011 California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1156, a bill sponsored by the California State PTA. AB 1156 mandates staff training in the prevention of bullying, expands the definition of bullying to include cyberbullying, and gives victims of bullying priority for transferring out of a school if they request it. See news item.
- As of January 2012, California state law allows schools to suspend students for bullying classmates on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium
The Sixth Annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium, for students, educators, and parents, will be held on Wednesday October 29, 2014 at The California Endowment, 1000 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
The event will include workshops on
- Social Media and Internet Dangers
- Cyber-Related Legal Challenges
- Digital Reputation
Representatives will be there from
- The FBI
- The L.A. City Attorney's Office
- The U.S. Attorney's Office
- Local law enforcement
- Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center
- The Anti-Defamation League
There is limited space per school. See the ICAN website for details and a registration link.