SAD 61 anti-bullying effort: See, say & do something
By Wayne E. Rivet
Christian Martin still remembers being called “names” by fellow classmates.
He didn’t like it then.
And, he decided to write about it now.
As part of a campaign to educate and eliminate bullying in SAD 61 schools and on district school buses, Christian (a seventh grader) joined forces with bass guitarist Ella Forbes (an eighth-grader) and drummer Max Evans (a freshman) to produce a song, which they performed Monday night at the SAD 61 School Board meeting. The musicians received help from Larry Forbes and Paul Greenstone.
The threesome will take their song on the road Sept. 19 when they perform at the Blaine House in Augusta.
“I used some of the things that happened to me,” Christian said. “When the kids were calling me names, I didn’t want to go back to school.”
Although Christian is no longer a target, he sees bullying happening to others in the school community.
“My message is for people to open their ears to what is happening,” he said.
The song goes like this:
You never stand out in the crowd
You never know if they are talkin’ ’bout you
Cause every time you turn around
You always see them laughing at you
But it’s not funny, it was never funny
’Cause you gotta stand up, do what you believe in
Come on stand up, do what your heart wants, not your head
Stand up, come on stand on up
Stand up, come on stand on up
I gotta say, I’m kinda tired of people picking on us.
You never wanted to be stuck in this rut
But it always seems like they will never accept you for who you are
But you gotta push through it and stand up for who you are
Sometimes you just wish you could start all over
Start all over, start all over
Sometimes you gotta do what you feel is right,
But you can’t let them do this to you
The threesome received a loud ovation from those in attendance at Crooked River School Monday night.
Andy Madura, director of Transportation, Food Service and Maintenance at SAD 61, told directors that when he reviewed referrals made by bus drivers during the last school year, 50% were from bullying incidents. Madura called in his two training officers, Line Mulcahy and Mary Cleveland, and handed them a project — develop an anti-bullying campaign.
Bullying is a national crisis. With the development of high-tech communication devices from cell phones to the Internet, bullying has reached tragic levels. Across the country, young children and teens have commited suicide because of bullying.
Mulcahy remembers back when she was younger, name calling along with pushing and shoving were all actions of “kids being kids.” Adults simply responded, “Let them work it out.”
“Remember the old saying, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Well, not today. Words can kill in our world,” she said. “What do we do about it? We educate, educate, educate our students, our staff and our community.”
Part of the creating awareness process includes posters inside buses and bright yellow t-shirts claiming SAD 61 a bully-free zone.
The campaign slogan is simple and direct: If you see something, say something, do something.
There will be awareness programs and training — using videos and national TV feature segments on bullying produced by “Dateline” and “20/20” — for every member of the school community. Brochures have also been created, outlining what to do if you or someone you see is being bullied.
“We won’t stop bullying overnight,” Mulcahy said. “But, we’re going to take a stand against it.”
Stop bullying on the spot
• When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time.
• Do: Intervene immediately; separate the kids involved; make sure everyone is safe.
• Avoid: Don’t ignore it, don’t think kids can work it out without adult help; don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw; don’t question the children involved in front of other kids; don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
• What can family do? Be watchful for possible signs — loss interest in school; appears sad; moody, teary or depressed; complains of headaches or other physical ailments.
• Zero tolerance: Ignoring name-calling and hurtful teasing allows it to continue and possibly get worse. If other students do not see action, they get the message that there is nothing wrong with it. Harassment does not go away on its own.
Contact: If anyone has questions or concerns and thinks a child is being bullied on a bus, talk with the bus driver, school principal or contact the Transportation Director.
Bullying is a form of child abuse and 4 out of 10 children will drop out of high school this year because they are being bullied at school or abused at home.
• 30% of U.S. students in grades six through ten are involved in moderate or frequent bullying — as bullies, as victims, or as both — according to the results of the first national school bullying statistics and cyberbullying statistics survey on this subject.
• School bullying and cyberbullying are increasingly viewed as an important contributor to youth violence, including homicide and suicide. (Case studies of the shooting at Columbine High School and other U.S. schools have suggested that bullying was a factor in many of the incidents.)
• 1 out of 4 kids are bullied.
• 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically. Cyberbullying statistics are rapidly approaching similar numbers, with 43% experiencing cyberbullying.
• Of the 77% of students that said they had been bullied, 14% of those who were bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse.
• 1 in 5 students admit to being a bully, or doing some “bullying.”
• Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.
• 43% of kids fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
• Playground school bullying statistics: Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention, 4%. Peer intervention, 11%. No intervention, 85%.
School Crime and Safety:
(According to The Bureau of Justice School Bullying and Cyberbullying statistics study)
• Teenagers say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
• 87% said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
• 86% said, “Other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
• Students recognize that being a victim of abuse at home or witnessing others being abused at home may cause violence in school according to recent school bullying statistics and cyberbullying statistics.
• 61% said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
• 54% said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
• The school bullying statistics and cyberbullying statistics showed that students say their schools are not safe.
The study indicated that those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high school.