Don’t Be a Bully, Be a Buddy | Corona, CA

bullyingNo one wants to be bullied, yet it seems like bullying is becoming more and more an issue in schools. Before you let you or your buddy become a victim, kit is important to know that there is something you can do. There are things you can do to keep yourself and the kids you know safe from bullying. No one should have to feel alone…

Stick with friends. There is safety in numbers. Avoid being alone in target areas like locker rooms, restrooms, and places where the bully hangs out.

Be assertive and confident. Use body language to show you are not afraid. Stand up straight and make eye contact.

Ignore the bully. Walk away. Don’t respond. Get out of the situation. Agree with the bully’s comments, then walk away.

Don’t seek revenge. Remember that using violence to solve problems only makes things worse.

Get help. If you are being bullied, don’t keep it a secret. Report all bullying incidents to friends or adults.

Don’t be a bystander. When no one speaks up, bullies learn they can get away with it.

Refuse to join in. Don’t take part in the bullying. Refuse to even watch.

Speak out. Distract the bully by changing the subject or using humor. Stand up for the victim. Tell them to stop.

Give support. Be a friend. Make an effort to include others who are normally left out or rejected.

Get an adult. Report any bullying you see to teachers or other adults. They can set clear, nonviolent consequences for future bullying behavior. Your friends can go with you to talk to a teacher, counselor, coach, or parent, in case you’re nervous to go alone.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

See Something, Say Something | Corona, CA

bullying

No one wants to be bullied, and no one wants to someone being bullied. Unfortunately, there are many ways students can get bullied growing up, especially since the creation of the internet. Sometimes it feels like there are more bullies than not. But there is a way we can prevent bullies from taking control and hurting others. So, you have to ask yourself – when you see or hear bullying, what should you do? Here are just a few suggestions…

Intervene immediately. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable, and victims will begin to believe that adults don’t understand or care. Intervene, even if you’re not sure it’s bullying. Observing children’s actions, words, body language, and facial expressions will help you determine if bullying is occurring. Separate them, if necessary, so as to stop the bullying behaviors.

Get help. If the bully is using physical force, or there is more than one bully, you may need to find another adult to help keep children safe and protect yourself.

Avoid lecturing the bully in front of his or her peers. Your goal is to end the behavior, not humiliate or shame the bully. Rather than serving as a deterrent, lecturing and scolding often give the bully the attention they’re craving. Allow yourself time to consider the incident and obtain any clarifying information—then decide the best course of action.

Give praise and show appreciation to helpful bystanders. Children who try to help the victim or stop the bully are key to bullying prevention. Thanking these little good Samaritans will only increase their desire to continue.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Is There a Difference Between a Bully and a Mean Person? | Corona, CA

It seems like these days, everyone feels the need to express everything they think and feel at any given moment. Not only in a good way, but more often than not, in a mean one. This has caused a wave of bullying between students that is tough to ignore. From TV to movies, it seems like everywhere you look someone is talking about bullying. But after some thinking, you have to ask yourself – is everyone that has something mean to say a bully? Is it possible to just be mean?

We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us. We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to. It doesn’t necessarily categorize anyone as a bully. There are rude people, and we need to learn how to deal with them accordingly. Bullying relies on unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance which includes actions like making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim. Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel. The brutal words and actions can create an impact on the heart and general behavior. If you notice that your child has begun to change their overall demeanor to a sadder, more closed off version of themselves, talk to them. They may be hesitant to open up but knowing you’re there when they do will help tremendously.

If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Reasons Kids May Not Mention Bullying | Corona, CA

No one wants to be bullied. Growing up is hard enough as it is. Unfortunately, many times you don’t get the choice. It is estimated that an average of 160,000 students around the country stay home daily out of fear of being bullied each day. And more often than not, parents are unaware that the bullying is taking place. But why? Here are the top five reasons your child may not be mentioning that they are getting bullied:

Tattle tales. We are taught as children that no one likes a tattle tale. However, it is vitally important that children learn the difference between tattling about unimportant things and telling someone when bullying is taking place.

Retaliation. While the adult may be able to address the issue with the child doing the bullying at the time, but they aren’t always going to be around. There is nothing scarier than having a bully retaliate.

Liar, liar. Some children are skittish to tell an adult for fear of not being believed. Some will even believe that maybe they did something to bring the bullying on themselves.

No help. A majority of children believe that telling an adult does nothing to stop the bullying. Sadly, research tends to support this thought. Often kids are told to “toughen up”, or “that it is just a part of growing up”.

Shame. When children are bullied, they often feel ashamed or embarrassed. These feelings alone can keep them from reporting issues, because they don’t want people to know that they were being bullied.

If you would like to learn more about simple acts of kindness, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Start the Year off with Simple Acts of Kindness | Corona, CA

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean our kind acts need to be. In fact, on your list of resolutions, why not add simple acts of kindness? There are several simple acts of care and kindness that could make someone’s entire day turn around, even after having a terrible start.

In this day and age, bullying is occurring more often, making a simple act of kindness that much more important now. It’s up to us as individuals to help show others kindness and positivity prevails in any situation. Here are 10 simple acts of care and kindness that could possibly turn someone’s frown upside down:

  • If people around are gossiping about another, chime in with something nice to say about them.
  • Smile at someone, just because. Smiles are contagious!
  • Try to make sure everyone in a group conversation feels included.
  • Write a little positive note to a friend.
  • Talk and make the new kid at school feel welcome.
  • If someone is being bullied, stand up for them.
  • Give your seat up to someone on the bus.
  • Make two lunches and give away one.
  • Talk to the shy person who’s sitting by themselves at lunch.
  • Be kind to everyone, even if they are bullying you. “Kill them with kindness.”

This year, let’s us all come together and contribute all sorts of simple acts of care and kindness. Bringing in a little bit of proverbial sunshine to someone’s life should be something everyone wants to do. Imagine the world if we did?

If you would like to learn more about simple acts of kindness, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

October is National Anti-Bullying Month | Corona, CA

Rumors, nasty comments, pushing, shoving, hitting – they have no place in our schools. It’s not just “kids being kids”. It’s not just something they will outgrow. Bullying and harassment are serious issues with serious consequences. Students who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, to think about and attempt suicide, and have behavior problems and difficulty learning.

Bullying contributes to poor school attendance, which is a barrier to improving student achievement for all. It affects efforts to close the achievement gap, a longstanding priority for the PTA. Nationally, an estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because of bullying. Prevention of bullying is a priority issue of the PTA because quite simply– children need to attend school in a safe environment.

Governor Jerry Brown signed important legislation sponsored by PTA to protect students from bullying and harassment. AB 1156, by Assembly member Mike Eng, gives students, their families and their teachers effective tools to help better ensure school is a place where everyone is free to learn and teach without the threat of harm. The bill requires training of school site personnel in the prevention of bullying, and it gives victims of bullying priority for transferring out of a school, if requested.

Training sessions on bullying prevention and intervention are now available through the California Department of Education for teachers, administrators, parents, students, certificated staff, risk management and community members. These sessions provide knowledge about the dynamics of bullying, a greater understanding of a systematic approach to bullying, and increase skills in identifying and implementing strategies to address bullying.

If you would like to learn more about National Anti-Bullying Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Mean Girls Isn’t Just a Movie | Corona, CA

If you’ve ever seen the classic movie, Mean Girls, you know that girls don’t really take feelings into consideration when they choose to prey on another girl. It’s a dog eat dog world, especially in schools and sadly, girls are often worse than boys in that they use verbal abuse over physical bullying. Most Anti-bullying programs don’t look at friendship issues, but for girls, that’s where the aggression usually happens. Here are some tips that can help:

Start by building strong connections at home. You want to be understanding and a good listener. But that doesn’t mean asking questions that can be leading or suggest that she has been wronged.

Validate the range of emotions she is experiencing are valid. Help your daughter understand that all emotions, both positive and negative, are normal.  Remind her that bad emotions don’t make her a bad girl. By allowing her anger or irritation to play out will help her calm down quicker than if you just play down the situation.

Avoid problem-solving for her. You want your daughter to learn how to handle herself in these situations and in life. Be there for her and don’t just tell her what to do. Helping her work through what is going on by asking her questions.

Try role play to work through the problem. Help your daughter hold her ground with her own strong but not aggressive statements. Sometimes, a better idea is to start developing new friendships and avoid that “friend.”

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Good or Bad, Words Matter | Corona, CA

One of the biggest problems we have in schools is bullying. Thankfully, we have a week every year focused on the impact of words in our communication. During Words Matter Week, we need to consider the importance of our words in our day-to-day lives. This isn’t about of talking just to talk, this is about carefully crafted language. Words Matter Week is a time to focus on banishing grammatically incorrect and hurtful words from our written and spoken communication.

The quote for Words Matter Week 2015 is simple – “If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it”.

Because it seems bullying starts at a young age, it is a good idea to speak to your students about the way various forms of speech affects others, both positively and negatively. Try these questions to spark a discussion in the classroom:

  • Words can change history. What word, speech, or document do you believe to be most important?
  • What writers make your heart sing? Why?
  • What word, said or unsaid, has or could change your life? How?
  • Communication breaks down when words are misused. What is the funniest or worst break-down you’ve ever observed?
  • What person in your life helped you understand the importance of choosing words carefully?
  • If you had to eliminate one word or phrase from the English language, what would it be? Why?

Words Matter Week is celebrated annually, with celebrations held online at www.WordsMatterWeek.com and at libraries, bookstores, and schools nationwide and is sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE).

If you would like to learn more about Words Matter Week and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

The History of Seth’s Law | Corona, CA

bullyingIn the current climate, it’s fitting that we take a moment to reflect on a law passed in California that protects public school children from bullying. That law? Seth’s Law. Seth’s Law is a 2012 law that strengthens existing state anti-bullying laws to protect all students. This law requires CA public schools to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, focusing on protecting students who are bullied based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.

California law says that all public school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.

Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address.

Under this law, school districts will adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that prohibits bullying and implement a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying. Additionally, publicize anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including support materials in all schools, offices and district websites.

Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.” (Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))]

If you would like to learn more about Seth’s Law and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Are You a Bully? | Corona, CA

BystanderWhen we think about the typical bully, we think of the big, tough kid on the playground who pushes everyone around. Sure, but those aren’t the only types of bullies. The cheerleader, the class clown, even the quiet kid can be a bully. Bullies can be any size, age, gender or grade.

So, what does it mean to be a bully? When someone uses words or actions to hurt someone who has a hard time defending themselves. Sometimes kids who bully think that it’s cool, but what is cool about hurting someone? Name calling, tripping someone, laughing at them, leaving them out, ignoring them on purpose – how can hurting someone possibly be “no big deal?” If kids think about why they are bullying, they can then deal with those reasons and change their behavior. Not only will they feel better about themselves, but others will think so too.

Do you think you are a bully? Do you think you know someone who is? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to rethink the way you treat others:

  • Do you hurt other kids on purpose?
  • Do you like to tease kids about how they look or act?
  • Are kids afraid of you?
  • Do you hit, threaten, or leave kids out?
  • Do you take or ruin other kids’ stuff?
  • Do you enjoy it when you upset other kids?
  • Do you blame others for your problems?
  • Do you say mean things about others, either in person or on social media?

If you would like to learn more about bullying and what you can do to prevent it, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.