Sunday, December 22, 2013

Statistics and a call for change...

For a few years I have listened to the growing number of cries throughout the world.  I have listened.  I have sympathized.  I have acted.

I haven't always agreed.

Society has grabbed onto the word "bullying" and over-sensitized everyone.  I, for one, am not buying into it.

Recently I went to a conference and had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Marcia McEvoy.  Dr. McEvoy is a national speaker and certified psychologist.  Last year I read a post by Dr. McEvoy and I ask all of you to pause and click on the link:  Dr. Marcia McEvoy post

Dr. McEvoy states that research says only 1-2% of students are actually a bully.  The vast majority of these incidents are "mean behaviors".

In school I was a nice kid.  I did my school work, I helped others and I kept my nose clean. BUT I'll admit I am guilty of participating in Mean Behaviors.  I would have been Dr. McEvoy's first example (attempting to fit in with a group).  I remember it well.  One particular day after school a large group of us went out to the parking lot to drive home.  As I was walking to my vehicle with two others, we noticed a younger student heading to his car.  It was a beat up black escort with missing hubcaps and rust all over it.  My friends began to poke fun at the vehicle. They called it a clunker and a beater.

I laughed.

That's it, I simply laughed.  Looking back I didn't stop the mean behavior, in fact I added to it by laughing.

So I'll ask, am I a bully?

As I honestly reflect about myself, I see my moment as "Mean Behavior".  I needed to be talked to, I needed to have a consequence...but I don't believe I needed to be branded a bully.

Our students experience mean behaviors more than we ever want them to.  We need to deal with the "Mean Behaviors" head-on.  Dr. McEvoy shared an interesting statistic. She said only "29% of adults deal with mean behaviors when they see them."  WOW! This may be the root of the entire problem. Think of yourself. Have you ever witnessed a mean behavior and chosen to not address it?  Maybe it wasn't your child.  Maybe it was a good kid and you didn't think much of it.  Maybe you were busy and couldn't deal with it in the moment.  For me that statistic resonates...29% of adults deal with the mean behaviors they see...that means 71% don't deal with every mean behavior.  I don't expect 100% of adults to deal with mean behaviors, but I can hope for 80%.  If 80% of adults dealt with mean behaviors when they saw them our students would have much clearer boundaries and expectations.

So where do we go from here?

This is the plan.

First, it starts with educating parents, community members and teachers.  The education of the adults is vital.  The message needs to shift from bullying to mean behavior.  All individuals are capable of mean behaviors, but not everyone is a bully.  We must educate the adults to deal with mean behaviors when we see them.  Second, we must be united in our efforts to educate our children.  Let us all realize that a student that commits a mean behavior is not a bad person, they have simply made a bad choice and need to have consistent consequences to remedy this.  As we educate our children a clear and concise rubric will allow everyone to send the same consistent message.  I believe students desire a clear target and our behavior rubric will give them the clear target.  Third, as we turn the page to 2014 I will be educating staff on the 15 second intervention.  And we will deal with "mean behaviors" when we see them.

This is change, but this is a change for the good of our school, our community and for the good of society. How much better would our world be if everyone stood up to mean behavior?

Articles Worth Reading:

A Bully Too Close To Home by @handsfreemama

Discipline not Punishment by @Angela_Watson

The Holidays with ADHD Children

50 Happiness Quotes to Change Your Thinking by @marcandangel

Social Media is the New Fridge... @Joesanfelippofc

Videos Worth Watching:

Absolutely Beautiful! (5 min)

Teamwork!  Are you the voice that says we can't? Or are you the positive voice that urges people to try? (3 min)

If we all chose kind think of how great our world would be... (5 min)