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Doc Bonn Says: School Bullying Must Stop Now!

DocBonn, Dr. Scott Bonn, Bullying


October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  Bullying is a serious social problem in the U.S. and it’s the most common form of violence in schools. In a recent study released by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, teens between the ages of 15 and 18 attending public and private schools in California were surveyed about bullying. Over half of them reported that they had either been victims of bullying or had bullied other students.  If you project the California findings nationally, it means that millions of teens are currently involved in bullying. That does not even count the tens of thousands of pre-teens who are also involved.

 

To learn more about bullying and the events of National Bullying Prevention Month visit http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/

There are three wonderful, new must see films that highlight the dangers of bullying and provide suggestions to help the victims and their families.  Two of them are school films designed for teens and the other is a general cinematic release for the entire family.  I highly recommend them and I offer you the following thoughts on each.

For the Teen audience
Bully Bystanders: You Can Make a Difference
is a school film that follows Jason, a student whose rule of survival in high school is “mind your own business.” Jason watches passively as a female classmate is verbally harassed, excluded, and is the target of cyberbullying by her peers. When he hears that she has attempted suicide—or bullycide—he imagines how this could have been prevented if he had stepped in. The same bullying scenario is then dramatically replayed as Jason uses calm but assertive interjections to diffuse the situation and cause the tormenters to back off.  The dramatic reconstruction of the scenario is both informative and powerful.  The importance of bystanders intervening is highlighted in this realistic, must-see film.  Recommend it to your child’s school.

How to Be Assertive: Sticking Up for Yourself is a school film in which a diverse group of young actors dramatize various situations in which someone is being coerced to do something that they find uncomfortable.  Segments depict teens being pressured into drinking, using steroids, going to a party where drugs are being used, and having sex. Some of the vignettes are depicted three times with the teen responding passively, angrily, and assertively. This film does a fine job of presenting some very basic points about becoming assertive that would be useful to generate classroom discussion about bullying.  Recommend it to your child’s school.

For the Family audience

BULLY http://thebullyproject.com/indexflash.html is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary for the entire family. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, it opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders.  It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole. Everyone should see this film.

 

To learn more about the critical problem of bullying, its effects and how to get help visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/ Tweet @StopBullyingGov #stopbulling

 

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq.”  Follow him @DocBonn on Twitter or email him directly at docbonn1@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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