No matter how proactive you are, the reality is that students may still very well witness or experience cyberbullying. Acknowledging this and understanding how to deal with the aftermath is just as important as knowing how you can prevent it.
Changing the culture of how we prevent and respond to cyberbullying can lead to powerful effects in the larger community. Rather than simply focusing on the aftermath, we must guide students to understand that they have a choice in all of their online relationships. They can say something positive or say something mean. They can create great community support around activities or interests, or they can misuse the public nature of online communities to tear others down.
To best help students make the right decisions, it’s important that schools and communities understand all facets of cyberbullying and digital drama.
As a teacher-librarian, I spend most of my days answering questions, teaching research, and helping students find good books. It’s the best job in the world.
Last spring, it seemed not a day went by when I wasn’t asked about the book Thirteen Reasons Why. With the premiere of the Netflix series, parents and teachers wanted to talk about their concerns with the show. Students wanted to get their hands on the book on which the series was based. Jay Asher’s book was not the first, nor would it be the last, to address bullying and the effects it can have on victims, bystanders, and the bullies themselves.
The beauty of books, more so than television shows, is that they can help us develop empathy or allow us to see inside a character’s head for awhile. Kids who are bullied may feel a little less alone if they read about a character being bullied in a book. Kids who are bystanders or bullies may be motivated to change, even just a little, if they see themselves mirrored in a paragraph or two.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, here are some educational resources for your classroom:
1. National Bullying Prevention Center has a page full of resources with facts, informational handouts, toolkits, and educational activities.
2. Facing History, Facing Ourselves is a website dedicated to combatting racism and prejudice. Find resources that will take you beyond anti-bullying month. You will find lesson plans, videos, podcasts, webinars and much more on topics such as antisemitism, civil rights, and genocide.
3. Go to The Learning Network for writing and discussion starters, articles, and links to other resources on the Web.
As Connecticut Grieves, We All Grieve
Teachers work incredibly hard to create safe and welcoming classrooms. We pay attention to how students interact with each other, implement zero-tolerance policies on bullying, and greet students with smiles as they walk in the door. All in the name of love, all in the name of learning.
And then something as devastating as the Connecticut tragedy happens.
Solution-Focused Resources You Can Use Now
The issue of bullying in school is front and center this week, as the much talked about documentary, “Bully,” hits the theaters. The film has been in the headlines for the past few weeks because its controversial “R” rating angered many who felt it would be a barrier to the young people who would most benefit from seeing the film.