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.

Cyber Bullying: The Complete Resource Guide | Riverside, CA

Zack W VanWe recently come across this amazing e-guide to cyber-bullying. We all know bullying is becoming more and more common these days, and cyber-bullying is the worst. Not only because a cyber bully believes he/she is safe behind the screen, but because they cannot see how their words can affect their target.

But what is cyber-bullying exactly? What makes it different from typical playground teasing amongst children? But most importantly, what kinds of things can we do to prevent it from becoming progressively worse? All of this is covered for you in one e-guide. For more information, read more:

http://backgroundchecks.org/cyber-bullying-helping-the-bullied-stopping-the-bullies.html

Thank you, Jenny Holt, for such an eloquent way of explaining what has become such a hurtful way to bring someone down, instead of lifting them up.

If you would like to learn more about cyber-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.

4 Simple Solutions We All Can Do To Stop Bullying | Corona, CA

Kids in classBeginning to foster a culture of caring, respect, and awareness starts with a few simple steps that make the biggest change:

1. Increase Your Own Awareness

Realizing when bullying is taking place is a necessary first step in finding solutions. By understanding the scope and roots of the problem, you will get an idea of how to start proactively working to address bullying, including teasing, name-calling, shunning, and physical intimidation or assault. Does your school, sports club, or youth group create a culture of respect, caring, and safety for everyone? Are children appropriately supervised during recess periods, lunch and before and after school?  Do educators have adequate support and training for addressing bullying?

2. Respond Forceful and Respectfully

If you see bullying take place or hear about it, remember that your reactions provide a context for how the kids involved will respond to and interpret the situation. Kids need to see adults being powerful and respectful in responding to problems. If parents or teachers get upset and overreact, kids are more likely to get upset and might even avoid telling adults about future problems. Staying calm, respectful, and persistent will make you more effective in talking to administrators, educators youth group leaders, or parents about their response to a bullying problem. Not everybody reacts in a helpful way when first approached so be prepared to persist.

3. Teach Your Kids Protective Skills

Positive peer relationship skills help to prevent and stop bullying. Tell your children that they have the confidence and power to walk away from any situation. Making safe choices like stepping out of a line or changing seats is sometimes all that is needed to make a bullying problem stop. Ensure that your child is persistent in getting help and is prepared to continue to ask for help even if an adult does not respond immediately.

4. Become Involved

Know what other parents and adults in your community are doing to stop bullying. Insist that your child’s school has a mandatory district-wide anti-bullying policy and educates their staff on diffusing and recognizing all forms and types of youth bullying. Write to your county- and state-level officials telling them of the seriousness of bullying and demand they make it a top priority in their campaigns.

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 regarding bullying.

What To Do If Your Child is Being Bullied

It’s extremely important that you talk to your children about bullying. Explain to your child what bullying is and tell him or her that it is never okay to be a bully. Not only can bullying make a child’s daily life very difficult, but it can also affect them down the road in life.

If your child is being bullied, there are a few things you as a parent can do about the situation, starting with telling him or her that it is not their fault. If your child approached you about the bullying go on to praise him or her and assure your child that you will help.  The following includes what action you should take if you child is being bullied:

Provide them with comfort and advice. Unfortunately, we can’t put a stop to bullying as immediately as we would like, but we can provide our children with tips for avoiding such harassment. If your child is being cyber bullied, you can walk them through the steps of privacy settings or discuss staying off the internet for a while to avoid the bully. Teach your child how to stay calm when responding to the bully, as reacting may encourage the bully more. Some experts have said to remove the bully’s incentives. For example, if your child’s lunch money is being stolen, try packing them a lunch instead. There is no shame is taking the high road. You should remind your children that if your advice does happen to fail, they are in no way at fault or responsible for being bullied.

Contact your child’s school. After talking with your child about the bullying situation, you should contact your child’s school. Though your child may be able to keep things to themselves, adult intervention is a necessary step in bringing the bullying to an end. Be sure to discuss the situation with your child’s teacher or principal, and make it clear that you want immediate efforts taken on their end. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with your school’s bullying code and any relevant state laws. If you feel that your child may potentially be in danger, you may also want to contact local legal authorities. Before you approach anyone, make sure that you know the bully’s name and the specific instances when the bullying occurred.

You, as a parent, should listen calmly and carefully if your child does approach you about being bullied, meaning you shouldn’t overreact. Yelling or crying may intimidate your child, and possibly stop them from communicating in the future. There’s no doubt it’s an emotional experience discovering that your child is being bullied, however your child’s comfort should come first.

Take your child seriously and avoid laughing the situation off, or again, they may cut communication in the future. Your goal should be to show your child you care and understand the challenges of being bullied. Assure that you will stop the bully together as a team.

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 regarding bullying.

Take Action against Bullying Today | SACK of Corona, CA

teasing/bullyingBullying can stop but it won’t magically happen. According to research, if parents or caregivers gave their undivided attention to their children for at least 15 minutes, remarkable things can happen. Also, research has shown that children really do look up to their parents, but you shouldn’t need research to already know that.

Bullying can affect everyone around you. Whether you’re the target, a witness, or the person bullying, it’s something that creates fear, which affects your peers, your school, and sometimes the entire community. When we fail to identify and stop bulling as it occurs, we are essentially promoting violence. We are letting the bully get away with his/her actions, and making the victim feel they are not worth protecting. Be sure not to dismiss any acts of bullying, it’s everyone’s responsibility to take action against bullying and to keep our schools safe.

What Can I Do To Take Action Again Bullying?

  • Take the First Step- Get started by assessing your schools prevention and intervention efforts concerning student behavior, including violence and substance use. You may be able to help your school build upon them, while also integrating bullying prevention strategies.
  • Evaluate Bullying in Your School- Conduct assessments in your school to determine how often bullying occurs, where is happens and how students and adults interfere. This way you can also determine whether or not your efforts are working.
  • Engage Parents and Youth- It’s important for everyone in your community to work together to send a unified message out against bullying. You can launch a campaign to make sure that the objectives are known by the school, parents and entire community.
  • Make Policies and Rules- You could create a code of conduct, school-wide rules and a bullying reporting system. This can help organize a climate in where bullying is not acceptable.
  • Build a Safe Environment- Aim to establish a school of acceptance, tolerance and most of all respect. You can use staff meetings, assemblies, class meetings, PTA meetings, newsletters to the families and even the schools website to help establish a safe and positive school environment.
  • Educate School Staff and Students- Integrate bullying prevention material into the school curriculum and activities. Also, train the teachers and staff the schools rules and policies. This will give them the skills to intervene persistently and appropriately.

For more information regarding bullying prevention, call us at 866-459-7225 or visit our website at www.simpleacts.org learn more about Simple Acts of Care and Kindness (SACK).

Understanding & Overcoming Bullying | SACK of Corona, Ca

ThinkstockPhotos-480003524Individuals bully for a number of reasons, understanding why they bully can help you overcome bullying or help others who may be being bullied move past it as well. The truth is bullies are basically lashing out as a form of concealing their own troubles or shortcomings.

Reasons why a bully is bullying:

-To look or appear powerful

-Because they themselves are being bullied

-To make themselves popular

-They are jealous of you

-To escape their own problems

Tip #1: Understand the truth about bullying

  • Walk away from the bully. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions so don’t react with anger or retaliate with physical force. If you walk away, ignore them, or calmly and assertively tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say, you’re demonstrating that they don’t have control over you.
  • Protect yourself. If you can’t walk away and are being physically hurt, protect yourself so you can get away. Your safety is the first priority.
  • Report the bullying to a trusted adult. If you don’t report threats and assaults, a bully will often become more and more aggressive. In many cases adults can find ways to help with the problem without letting the bully know it was you who reported them.
  • Repeat as necessary. Like the bully, you may have to be relentless. Report each and every bullying incident until it stops. There is no reason for you to ever put up with bullying.

Tip #2: Reframe the problem of bullying

By changing your attitude towards bullying you can help regain a sense of control.

  • Try to view bullying from a different perspective. The bully is an unhappy, frustrated person who wants to have control over your feelings so that you feel as badly as they do. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
  • Look at the big picture. Bullying can be extremely painful, but try asking yourself how important it will seem to you in the long run. Will it matter in a year? Is it worth getting so upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
  • Focus on the positive. Reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. Make a list and refer to it whenever you feel down.
  • Find the humor. If you’re relaxed enough to recognize the absurdity of a bullying situation, and to comment on it with humor, you’ll likely no longer be an interesting target for a bully.
  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control—including the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to bullies.

Tip #3: Find support from those who don’t bully

Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience when being bullied. Reach out to connect with family and real friends (those who don’t participate in bullying) or explore ways of making new friends. There are plenty of people who will love and appreciate you for who you are.

  • Find others who share your same values and interests. You may be able to make friends at a youth group, book club, or religious organization. Learn a new sport, join a team, or take up a new hobby such as chess, art, or music.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a parent, counselor, coach, religious leader, or trusted friend. Expressing what you’re going through can make a huge difference to the way you feel, even if it doesn’t change the situation.
  • Boost your confidence. Exercise is a great way to help you feel good about yourself, as well as reduce stress. Punch a mattress or take a kick boxing class to work off your anger.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t make a bullying incident worse by dwelling on it or replaying it over and over in your head. Instead, focus on positive experiences you’ve had(Source: help guide.org).

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s probably the bully thats actually suffering and not to dwell on it or think you’re less than. Recovering from bullying can take time, and everyone heals at his or her own pace. However, if you do find yourself dwelling on the incident(s), it’s important for you to seek help from a parent, school counselors, a teacher or a professional therapist.