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Free To Be Me.

What Is Bullying, Anyway?

Different people have different definitions of bullying, but four characteristics qualify a situation as bullying: the behavior has to be intentional, be repetitive, be hurtful, and involve an imbalance of power.
Intentional—Children can hurt other children by accident. Bullying, however, is always intentional and meant to cause some sort of harm, whether it is physical or verbal. This behavior may persist even after the victim has asked the bully to stop.

1.  Repetitive – In most cases, bullying happens repeatedly. Bullies often target children who they know will not do anything about the behavior, so they can continue bullying as long as they like.

2.  Hurtful  – Bullying is a negative behavior that may include physical or verbal harm. The types of hurtful behavior that qualify as bullying are varied, but they all cause harm of some sort to the victim.

3.  Imbalance of power – If two children hold an equal amount of power, one cannot bully the other. This imbalance of power can come from different sources, including age, size, strength, and social status.

As educators we know what bullying is. Many times however, our students do no realize they may be taking part in bullying without even knowing it!, see the list below for examples:

•    Name calling
•    Teasing
•    Spreading False Rumors
•    Ignoring others

All these can be forms of bullying. Children tend to think of bullying as someone who is always getting beat up by somebody else. As educators we know that you can bully somebody without ever physically touching them. Many children are surprised when they learn that their behavior is really bullying. Once they realize what bullying really is it’s much easier to convince them to stop.

Free To Be Me is an anti-bullying program that centers around three main concepts:

1. What bullying is and how to recognize when you or a friend is being bullied.

2. Recognizing different types of hurtful behavior

3.  How to stand up for yourself & your friends, while putting a stop to bullying.  This is the most powerful section of the program because its where students become empowered to be free to be me.  They learn that no matter where they come from, what their background is, and what makes them different – we are all unique and wonderful  and deserve to again, be free to be me.

What to Do about Bullying

•    Try to stay with a group of people if possible. It can be more difficult to face a bully alone.

•    Directly and respectfully stand up to bullies, even if you aren’t the person being picked on. Stay calm and let the bully know that unkind behavior is not okay.

•    Avoid fighting. Speaking up is the right thing to do, but being verbally aggressive or using physical force will likely make the situation more dangerous.

•    Tell adults what is going on. If an adult is not available during the situation, be sure to report it later. Parents, teachers, and counselors can help you stay safe and solve the problem.
Together we can help stop the growing problem of Bullying in our schools. It’s my intention to be a positive tool to help bullying become a thing of the past. I look forward to working with you soon.

*** I also provide a teachers guide for discussion after the program is over.