Claire Franksen created this digital story in the 2017 J-term class Documentary Video Challenge: Digital Storytelling for Social Justice.
Mitch Kedzior created this digital story in the Drake University J-term class SCS 153: Documentary Video Challenge: Digital Storytelling for Social Justice, taught by Professor Sandra Patton-Imani.
Relational Bullying is the opposite of physical bullying, yet just as damaging to self-esteem if not more so. The wounds from physical bullying may fade after time but wounds from relational bullying can last for years if not a lifetime. Some examples of relational bullying are peer pressure, gossip, social exclusion and feigning friendship to gain trust of the victim. According to a study by the University of Illinois by Rodkin et al, bullies have been known to either have high self-esteem, or worse, be former victims of bullying themselves (2015). Some of these perpetrators have been marginalized socially themselves, suffer from low self-esteem, and use bullying as a way to take their anguish out on someone else. Additionally, although some bullies come from good homes, just as many come from dysfunctional homes with abusive parents.
With the popularity of the internet, the amount of relational bullying has exploded. Victims are no longer able to escape their bullies by leaving the school and going home, instead the abuse continues at home online. Especially with the widespread use of smartphones now, at times it is inescapable. The abuse has intensified online as well. Perpetrators create Facebook pages for example, inviting peers to trade information about the victim and post pictures, all without permission. This particular method has resulted in countless suicides. Just recently, there was an article on npr.org about the announcement that for girls aged 15-19 suicide is now the #1 cause of death(2015). Although this statistic may not be entirely due to bullying, it is without a doubt it is a large factor.
There are many psychological temperaments that a bully may have. Some of these are: Anger, Depression, and Anxiety. Anger management should be part of teaching children in the no bullying area. Teaching children at a young age, on through adolescence on how to control their anger and even direct it in a more productive way. Anger and aggression are main components of bullying. Depression is common on victims of bullies and in bullies themselves. This area is important because depression leads to suicides, especially in middle-school aged children. Victims of bullies often have depression, therefore these children are the most at-risk. Anxiety is also a component of bullies and of bullied victims. Anxiety can cause students to miss school thus heightening anxiety for having to return and having to face peers and teachers and homework.
The feminist social justice approach is to treat the bullies and the victims the same. Meaning, teach each child the same for the symptoms and psychological aspects as listed above.
We should all be treated the same. The laws in this country allow all children to have a free education and therefore we all have to live together. Approaching the problem of bullying
From a psychological aspect should alleviate the bullying problems we are currently facing.
Preschoolers through adolescence have been bullies. Preschoolers do not have the verbal and cognitive skills to hide it as well as the older children, therefore it is easier to recognize.
As children age, they gain skills in which they could covertly bully other students. Being a victim of a bully also causes children to be rejected by their peers. Not only are they being victimized by the bully, but then rejected by others because they cannot defend themselves, nor will anyone assist the victim. Boys and girls are both equally bullies and victims.
Educators are more focused on physical bullying than relational bullying. Relational bullying is hard to recognize because it can be verbal, silent, on social media, through notes, whatever way the bully can get to the victim. It can be subtle, for example, “You can’t sit with us at lunch today.” or “You can’t be friends with us today.” The child would be alienated from their ‘normal’ group of friends. There is no evidence of this behavior and of course the bully will not admit it. Educators would not easily recognize this unless it is self-reported. By being aware of their students and care monitoring of these students, being able to identify bullies and victims would become more prevalent. Adults, though, typically ignore this type of bullying and disregard it as, oh, boys will be boys, or those girls always stay together.
To combat this, educators need to be aware of the subtle signs of relational bullying and not rely on the victim to speak out. Schools might even need to look into support staffs that are IT savvy who will take on the responsibility of monitoring social networking for signs of trouble. Schools could also have anonymous ways of reporting harassment for those who want to report instances of relational bullying. As bullying has evolved, methods to combat them need to evolve as well. Educators as well as administrators and staff need to think outside the box so to speak. Obviously we will never be able to eradicate peer to peer relational bullying completely, but we can at least try.
Rodkin, P. C., Espelage, D. L., & Hanish, L. D. (2015). A relational framework for understanding bullying: Developmental antecedents and outcomes. American Psychologist, 70(4), 311-321. doi:10.1037/a0038658
Lea Kozulic, Susan Smith, Emily Tyler
We learned that the empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the that person’s frame of reference. In the movie Bully, noone really felt or experienced empathy with Alex besides his parents who went to see the principal who were devastated and desperate because they knew what their son was going through and they couldn’t have helped him on their own. Principal on the other hand, didn’t really show signs of empathy with the parents because she said she would help them in fall and she did not. Finally, she intervened and asked her assistant to work on the case but it didn’t end up being very effective because children kept teasing him and the boy ended up being scared even more. Same thing with the girl named Kelly who was a lesbian. In the end of the movie, she said that “maybe there’s other place she could go and make a difference”. But, not here.
Obviously, forcing the children to the things they don’t really want to do, won’t make them stop teasing other kids because they can’t think rationally – or ’empathically’ – at their age. Their emotional intelligence isn’t developed enough for them to percieve what is right or what is wrong. It’s all about how their idols or role models influence them. This is where the role of parents comes up. Parents are children’s role models at young age. They copy their moves and want to be like them. Throughout the readings and the book The Bluest Eye, we could learn and a lot and expand our views about the power of role models. There was a big difference in the attitude of Pecola and Claudia towards themselves and the fact they were black. It all depended a lot about their role models. Pecola didn’t have good role models because here parents were a mess themselves and didn’t appreciate their own lives. They accepted the life a misery which was something that started in their own heads at their very young age. On the other hand, Claudia was lucky enough to have a somehow stable family where people loved and supported each other.
This is why it’s important to give a good example of being a good and strong person to kids at the very young age. It’s important to teach them mannerism and good values. It’s important to teach them to respect other people and the differences between us. It is important to teach them that we are all equal but different as well. That is the art of nurturing. This is where empathy really is important. It is easy to identify with people who have very similar habits as you do, but how are you going to teach your kids to respect people who are different, but at the same time the same as you are? It all starts at young age and this is where parents teach their kids how to respect kids and identify themselves with others. One of the good ways would be to ask their kids how would they feel if they were bullied? How would they feel if they would have been in the bullied kid’s skin? Probably not very good. This is why we created a poster that would remind the children that it is their choice whether they are going to be bullies and to make it look bad. It is also important to treat those kids as young adults because that’s how they want to be treated so it reminds them that everyone has issues of their own that we need to respect.
Torina Gedler, Angela Geametto, Darpan Mehta, Pamela Mulhern
Bullying Final Post Draft
We’ve chosen two posters that a) Encourage students to get motivated by the Stand for the Silent program and b) Reminds the administration that tackling bullying is a big part of their responsibility. Our research indicated that the administration is usually very good at handling bullying cases that are overt (actual physical abuse such as punching or kicking or overt verbal actions such as name-calling and insulting) but not that great at handling the more covert aspects of Bullying. Covert bullying is the kind of bullying done out of sight and involves inflicting harm by damaging another’s social reputation, peer relationships and self-esteem. I.e. involving more relational bullying and threatening looks or hand gestures. Therefore, our posters need to tackle the more covert cases which we realize will be more difficult as we’re trying to bring about systemic changes and not just trying to implement a bullies get punished method.
As we’ve seen from our readings in this class and from the video ‘Bullying’, the conventional methods that have been used so far that focus more on an individual’s psyche don’t really address the problem. The bully is still likely to continue bullying. Instead, our method focuses on treating this as a systemic problem that can only be truly eradicated through making a change in student perceptions about bullying which the first poster aims to do. It is also very important to have a simple poster that encourages a child to look up a program that has much more information in it. Treating bullying is a vast subject and it’s more feasible to provide a starting point via a poster rather than cramming all the information in the poster itself. It also plays on the curiosity of students who are much more likely to learn that way instead of being subjected to posters and material that they are forced to learn.
Giving the bystander room to explore also addresses one of the main challenges of Bystander Programs. Most bystanders don’t step up even when they know bullying is occurring is because of lack of awareness of what steps to take to help stop the bullying. A Lack of awareness leads to lack of courage to step in as they aren’t sure as to what to do. A lot of bystander programs encourage students to step up but the students need to know how or want much more information before they take any action. Consider, also that different students are satisfied with different levels of awareness. Student ‘A’ might step when bullying occurs and tell the bully to cut it but Student ‘B’ might want to know more about what to do if the bully changes his focus to them or ignores them. A self-motivated approach that we propose via having a simple, yet inviting poster is to let the student decide how much awareness he/she needs herself before acting to do something.
The administration needs to realize the effect that they can have on preventing and stopping bullying. Student’s are not likely to report their problems to the administration if they feel nothing is being done when they do report. The administration needs to do continuing education in these areas throughout their time teaching as we learn new techniques to deal with bullying all the time. Bullying is also something that every instructor will see at some point in their career and the importance of combating bullying needs to be remembered with each student encounter. Parents are leaving their kids at school with the belief that they will be in safe capable hands and administrators need to realize how important that makes their jobs. The internet opens a wide area of possibilities for administrators to help combat bullying in their own school. They can reach out to other schools that have had success in lowering incidence of bullying on what they did and how that worked. There are various workshops available to administrators currently on the subject of bullying and each school district should research the best one for their school to take part in.
The administrators also have the responsibility to bring bullying prevention exercises to the students. The administration will have to take what they learn from their own experiences to the students in a way that the students will take it seriously. Administration needs to show the students the importance of the program and the gravity of the situation for the program to have any success. Once the workshop of sort has been presented to the students the administration should make available options for students to join Stand for the Silent or to encourage the students to making their own anti-bullying program. This type of take charge stance on bullying should especially be encouraged in the students that have the most influence and power in the school such as those on the student council. This would be important because these students are essentially the administration of the students and they already know that they have to power to make changes. The administration needs to realize that while they have great power to end bullying they also still need the students’ cooperation and help in making these important changes.
Tasha Alexander, Zachary Berman, Ally Calvert, Hannah Hennessy, Reed Timmer
We researched the subject of the prohibitive culture of snitching. We found that there is a fear of snitching, not only because of the social repercussions of peers finding out, but also because of ineffective action taken by the confidant the person being bullied turned to for help. The documentary Bully tells the story of five students who struggle daily with bullying. Three of the students attempt to commit suicide, and two succeed. The adults in the film were ineffective in stopping the bullying or even exacerbated it. We also read a paper called Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Differences, by Audre Lorde. It discusses societal norms that each generation passes down to each other and questions why we continue carrying some of these norms if they preach inequality. This applies to bullying, as society teaches children that they are superior to others because of the intelligence, race, gender, or athletic ability. Rather, society should take feminist social justice approach, where people are treated as equals without uncontrollable factors giving certain people power.
The importance of Bully, is to show and tell stories of kids who might not get a chance to share their side of the story, because of the fact that they are scared to tell on the bully. The obvious repercussions of the movie are suicide and two out of the five kids who were bullied commit suicide. This shows how bullying people, cannot only change one person’s life, but everyone who was close to the person who was bullied. In Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Differences, demonstrates different inequalities that they go through, what they do to get through it, and how it changed their lives. It also shows how social norms can be considered bullying. Just because some one is different, doesn’t mean that they are not as important as a dominant class of people.
In relation to the prohibitive culture of snitching and what we found in our research, all the information we found can help change the way people understand and talk about bullying. Specifically, the education of all parties involved in a bullying situation needs to be implemented in order for bullying situations to be taken seriously and for them to stop. The ramifications however could be that the bullying situation gets worse as the snitch or the person trying to share information about the bullying situation could get picked on or hurt just as much as the victim. In order for this to be avoided, a number of people need to come forward in an effort to stop the bullying at its source all at the same time. There is power in numbers and if multiple people come after the situation to try and stop it, the bully then can’t in turn victimize the information sharer because there are so many people that would be involved. Sharing information and snitching can be a vital asset to a bullying situation in order to make sure the victim doesn’t go through any more harm, and another ramification could be that information or people snitching on a bullying situation could go away. In order to avoid this, it is important to make sure that the environment to share information is a friendly one with assurance that anyone who comes forward to help is doing a positive thing and does not have to worry whatsoever.
Our recommendation for social change is to get every school involved with the Stand for the Silent organization. This organization has made great strides in the past five years to raise awareness of bullying and to help prevent further bullying. The organization has been a support group for families that have lost children from bullying. In the subject of snitching, we want students to know that it is okay to stand up for someone in need. Children are sponges for learning and already support many organizations that are personal to them, cancer being a big one. Educating kids on the techniques of helping someone that is being bullied can save hundreds of lives. Stand for the Silent is a support organization kids, families, and schools can get heavily involved in. Making the cases of bullying relatable to each student will help them take the stand that is necessary.
Posted by Darpan Mehta and Angela Giannetto at Friday, May 22, 2015 1:32:11 PM CDT
Our area of research is into Bystander programs as a method of social justice to try and solve the issue of bullying in schools. Bystanders are individuals that know about the existence of bullying around them, often right in front of them. There are mainly two types of bystanders, hurtful and helpful. In the video Bully, the girl who informed the school officials of Alex being bullied is a helpful bystander. So is Ty’s friend who stands up for him and tells the Bully to back off. Unfortunately, we see instances of hurtful bystanders much more often in the video, even in real life. The kids who egg the bully on and tell him “give it to him good” when the bully is hurting Alex, the kids who remain silent and provide an audience for the bully all contribute to justify bullying. Worse even are the school officials who are supposed to protect the children but don’t do anything about the bullying. They ignore the problem, pretend it doesn’t exist, believe the victim was asking for it by annoying the bully or even reprimanding the victim for not wanting to shake his bully’s hand. Sometimes they offer to help, but often just get the story from the bully’s side, and simply reprimand the bully with words. After talking to the bully they then speak to the victim, in this case Alex, who they ask if he trusts them to take care of the problem, getting defensive when he suggests that he doesn’t. These factors show that there is something glaringly wrong with the current system of dealing with Bullying as an individualistic problem instead of a social one. They are simply facing it on a case by case basis, assuming that they are acknowledging the problem even exists in the first place. The failure of this system, and the avoidable deaths of children that occur scream for a new social justice approach of attempting to solve the bullying epidemic.
The social justice approach of dealing with bullying recognizes bullying as a systemic issue and tries to address the underlying gender socialization issues that lead to bullying, including the underlying social inequalities. It is a program that aims to educate the children on “emotional literacy, social injustice and inequality,” through the curriculum in order to bring forth social change to reduce bullying. The social justice way of dealing with bullying raises awareness with the aim of reducing, if not altogether eliminating the social structure that has led to children taking their own lives. An example of a program that does so is the “Stand for the silent” program created partly in honor of Ty Smalley, an 11 year old child who took his life because of bullying. The program reaches out to schools and educates the students on just how harmful the effects of bullying can be and how to be a helpful instead of a hurtful bystander. So far the program has 1,053,000 kids in 1,043 schools as shown on their website. This massive campaign is slowly changing what the norm has been for students to do when they are bystanders in bullying. Because of this program more children have the knowledge of what they can do to help and address the situation effectively, instead of staying silent and providing a form of justification that what the bully is doing is okay.
School administrators should have participation in a program, such as Stand for the Silent, be mandatory for all teaching staff. They are really the first line in stopping bullying because although the kids in the school that see things like this happening can speak up, they really have no power over the bully to prevent retaliation back on them. These kids that speak up should know that if they go to the administration something will be done to help the situation. At this point in time they have absolutely no faith that will happen. The administration likes to stand behind saying, “Well there is nothing I can do. Kids will be kids.” But there is something they can do; taking the school bus as an example the kids that are constantly being written up for bullying should lose bus privileges. They should not be allowed to ride the bus when they are constantly making threats and hurting students. The parents of the bully will see this as an inconvenience and possibly actually talk to their child about the issue and maybe this will stop the student. Other examples would be detention and mandatory write ups in the child’s file if they are caught bullying. The blaming of the victim which seemed to happen a lot in the video needs to stop. The school board needs to show these children that they will protect them because once they step through those doors onto that bus they are in the school’s care until they step off of that bus at the end of the day.
The kids as bystanders need to realize when they are seeing bullying. Part of the problem when the kids on Alex’s bus went to report the issues was many of them said that, “They were just kidding around.” Maybe that has something to do with culture that they really do not understand how hurtful bullying can be. Videos like Bully and other programs like Stand for the Silent should be apart of every child’s school experience. The children should learn what bullying looks like and techniques as bystanders to put a stop to it. This also goes back to the administrators making it clear to the child that when they report a problem it will be solved. Once a child reports an issue they should be given follow-up on what the administration did with that information and be told what to do if it continues. In Alex’s case he self-reported an incident that the school said they took care of, although not really quite frankly, but he did not know anything about what happened from there. Possibly schools should even form separate clubs in conjunction with Stand for the Silent. So that these kids can help the administration identify and stop bullying where the teachers do not necessarily see it. The administration stated in interviews that they cannot be everywhere all the time. This is most certainly true, but maybe if the kids thought the administration would do something they would be more likely to report these issues when they see them.