Using Data to Teach About Sexual Abuse Prevention

It was the middle of summer, and all I could think was, “I wish I had all my fifth graders together.” This is not usually the kind of thought I have in July, but three things had happened: Jerry Sandusky had been convicted of sexually abusing ten boys, the NCAA had announced sanctions against Penn State, and a local couple had confessed to sexual assault against a 13-year-old. I knew that many of our students would have seen and heard lots about these incidents, from the media and from adult discussion around them. If school had been in session (more…)

Brave, Bold First Graders

In my previous post, I outlined how I used a comprehensive counseling approach to address a first grade bullying situation through classroom teaching, small groups, and individual counseling.  (Read about it here.) In this and upcoming posts, I’ll share the lessons from the new first grade bullying unit I developed. (Related ASCA standards are listed at the end of this post.) The objective for the bullying unit was:

When students experience or witness bullying they will be able to:

  1. differentiate between mean and bullying behaviors.
  2. recognize that bullying should be reported to school staff.
  3. use a script to report bullying to school staff.
  4. tell another school staff member if the first adult does not believe or understand the report. (more…)

Responding to a “Perfect Storm” of Bullying

This is not a tale of the high seas. It’s about one stormy year in kindergarten, when a combination of individual students’ behaviors developed into a “perfect storm” of bullying. A couple of kids didn’t know how make and keep friends without using intimidation. Some others’ impulsivity hindered their ability to think before they acted. Some did not know how to be assertive, and reacted in a way (tears, giving in to intimidation) that reinforced the bullying. A few did not know how to make good friendship choices, and consistently put themselves back into situations in which someone else might be mean to them. Some had annoying behaviors that unwittingly provoked (more…)

Spiraling Bullying Prevention

Last week the counselors in my district were asked to present information on how bullying is addressed in each of our schools, and I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of what my counseling partner, Erica, and I shared.

We start from the premise that bullying, bystander, and target behaviors are often a result of lagging skills in the areas of empathy, problem solving, conflict resolution, social thinking, self-monitoring, and/or self-advocacy. To build kids’ skills, we teach a developmental, spiraling bullying prevention curriculum K-5.  For each grade, bullying is defined in a way that is (more…)

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