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A Report on Bullying by a 12 Year Old

Chloe is a 12 year old (nearly 13 now) 7th grader from Central Illinois. She wrote this amazing piece on bullying. It’s such a powerful and insightful paper and it’s written by a tweenager.

Have you ever been bullied?

In this paper, I will tell you about the effects of bullying. Being bullied is terrible. There are a lot of different forms of bullying. Some forms include physical, emotional, cyber, and sexting. Sexting can be a form of bullying. It is one that is common but no one really talks about, but can still have the same effect as cyber bullying.

There is a lot of bullying in schools. School is where a lot of bullying starts. One effect is not being able to learn what you need in life because you stop going to school because you were being bullied. Another effect is depression, anxiety, drug use, and even suicide (Effects of Bullying, 2017). Usually if you are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender), you get bullied more. If you are LGBT, people treat you like you don’t exist. Usually they will try to hurt you if you are LGBT. You could also not be able to sleep because you are worried about being bullied at school the next day. Being bullied could lead on to drinking and taking drugs, and then you could die from an drug overdose.

Cyber bullying is where people get bullied the most today. People who get bullied on social media will be more likely to have depression (Effect of Bullying, 2017).  Sexting is also a form of bullying. Sexting affects how you look at yourself and could lead to bad self esteem. Poor self esteem is when you think you are ugly, dumb and you say bad thing about yourself. Sexting is when you send a nude of yourself and then the person you sent it to sent to all his/ her friend and then they kept sending it on and on then they would begin to tell stories about you, your body, or your behavior. And then you would have bad self esteem because of what people said about your body type. Sexting could also lead to anxiety because you try to starve yourself because of how you look at yourself or how you think others look at you. Some people even take pills that say it will make them skinnier but actually can’t. You can still die from a drug overdose if you take a lot of those.

The biggest effect of bullying is suicide. There are 4,400 death per year because of bullying. One of the most common suicide death are cutting him/herself, and taking drugs to die from a drug overdose. Another effect that leads to suicide is depression. When  someone suffers from depression, they tend to think everything is sad and you feel lonely. 10-14 year old girls will be at a higher risk of committing suicide study have shown (Bullying and Suicide, 2017).  Also, people who get bullied or have depression may take drugs because they think it will make them happier, but that can and will lead to a drug overdose if you keep taking them.

Bullying is a real problem. We need to put a stop to it. The suicide numbers will go up each year if we do not put a stop to it. People who are LGBT, an outcast, or people with disabilities should be treated equally. No one should be bullied because of who they are, they are all human beings, then they should be treated the same way as everyone else. And not just them, NO ONE should be treated like that. How as a nation or school or anyone, can we put a stop to bullying?


Not In My School: Anti-Bullying Program

NOT IN MY SCHOOL: Anti-Bullying Program helps to nurture safe school and social environments through empathy and character development by equipping students with skills to increase emotional and social intelligence.

Each year approximately 30% of students worldwide are the target of bullying. If these kids were adults, their behavior would be called assault and punishable by the law.

Bullying is different from just playing around or peer conflict. It occurs when a student, or group of students, repeatedly hurt or humiliate another student or group of students.  Bullying and harassment often cause lasting physical and mental harm, marginalize diverse students and negatively impact the entire school culture.

NOT IN MY SCHOOL: Anti-Bullying Program is designed to enhance and improve student relations and nurture a culture of safety and positive learning for young people to develop.

Our goals are:

  1. decrease existing bullying problems
  2. prevent new bullying problems
  3. enhance student relations with peers, teachers, and the school through emotional and social learning strategies

What is social and emotional learning (SEL)?
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

What does emotional and social intelligence look like?
Emotional and social intelligence can increase in each of the four core areas:

  • Self-awareness. Students become increasingly aware of their emotions, interests and values, and accurately assess their strengths and capacities. They have a solid sense of self-esteem and a strong belief in their ability to create a positive future.
  • Self-management. Students develop a greater mastery over their thoughts, emotions, impulses, and motivation.
  • Social-awareness. Students increase in empathy towards others, as well as a recognition of the differences in others. They are also able to identify supportive relationships and resources.
  • Relationship-management.  Students develop conflict resolution skills, how to set and maintain boundaries, and problem solve relationship challenges, as well as when and how to ask for help.

As a results, students will have a greater sense of belonging and connection to their peers, teachers, school, and community, therefore reducing the risk of aggressive or maladaptive behaviors, such as; bullying, self-injury, unhealthy sexual behaviors, and substance abuse.

For more information about bringing NOT IN MY SCHOOL: Anti-Bullying Program to your school contact us at:

NOT IN MY SCHOOL: Anti-Bullying Program

P.O. Box 74

Delavan, Illinois 61734

Phone: 309.360.6115


Other Fringe youth development programs:

RealTalk Drug Prevention Program

True North Student Leadership Initiatives






Moral Disengagement: Bombers, School Shootings, and Bullying

google_moralityThis post will be pretty clinical in nature but I think it is important to understand just what goes through the mind of an individual that detonates a bomb at the finish line of a marathon, or enters an elementary school and unloads on unsuspecting children, or the bully that relentlessly victimized that Aspie at school, or that spouse that steps out on his partner, or any number of us who have compromised our convictions, great or small.

Albert Bandura (born December 4, 1925, in Mundare, Alberta, Canada) is a psychologist who is the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University. For almost six decades, he has been responsible for contributions to many fields of psychology, including social cognitive theory, therapy and personality psychology, and was also influential in the transition between behaviorism and cognitive psychology.  He developed the Moral Disengagement theory in which he describes eight different mechanisms by which people disengage from moral self-control.

Reprehensible Behaviors

One important factor in engaging pro-social thinking/behaviors is the need for activation.  Moral self-control does not come into play if it is not triggered by empathy.  If moral self-control is only partially triggered or fails to activate completely, the individual will become disengaged humane conduct and anti-social behavior can be shown without the negative consequences of one’s self.

  •  Moral Justification:  this is an attempt to describe how the behavior serves a moral right, acceptable or even desirable outcome or purpose.
  •  Soft Labeling:  The label given to certain behaviors that attempts to “clean up” the negative or harmful actions, making them smoother and more acceptable.
  •  Advantageous Comparison:  This is the tendency to contrast negative or harmful behaviors against perceived greater wrongdoings.

Detrimental Effects

A necessity for moral control is the acknowledgement of one’s own wrongdoing.  If, however, the responsibility for the harm one causes is obscured, the possibility of acknowledgement of responsibility and self-control is lessened drastically.

  •  Displacement of Responsibility:  This works by distorting the relationship between actions and the effects they cause. People behave in ways they would normally oppose if a legitimate authority accepts responsibility for the consequences of that behavior.
  •  Diffusion of Responsibility:  This is when the services of many people, where each performs a task that seems harmless in itself, can enable people to behave inhumanely collectively, because no single person feels responsible.

For moral self-control to exist, not only the behavior itself and responsibility for the behavior have to be accepted, but also the (negative) effects of the anti-social behavior have to acknowledge. 

  •  Minimizing, Ignoring, or Distort the Consequences:  The farther removed individuals are from the destructive consequences, the weaker the restraining power of guilt is regarding the effects of the behavior.

View of the Victim

The degree to which moral self-control takes place depends on the way the individual perpetrators view the people they mistreat.

  •  Dehumanizing:  These means the loss of all human features, i.e., feelings, hopes, wishes, concerns, and therefore are viewed as an inhumane “object”.
  •  Attribution of Blame:  Similar to the mechanisms of displacement and diffusion of responsibility, the consequences of a person’s wrongdoings can only be dealt with if the person accepts responsibility for his or her engagement in anti-social behavior.  Often the victim or external source is blamed as the cause of the destructive behavior, therefore the behavior is seem only as a reaction to provocation through other circumstances, leading to feelings of justification or self-righteousness.

We are all capable of these kind of justification regardless of the offense.  Whether you are lying to your boss to get off work early or are manipulating a loved one to get what you want.  These mechanisms are in play. 

Pay attention this week to your own thoughts and behaviors as well as those of your students to see if you can identify moral disengagement.  If you can, then maybe we’re all in need of some supernatural interventions.

The Three R’s of Bullying Interventions

The issue of bullying just doesn’t seem to be going away so today let’s talk about strategies to fix what bullying does.  The following would be a great resource to put in the hands of parents of your students.  It is also good kindling for discussion on reconciliation.

Restitution, Resolution, and Reconciliation 

If student was a follower/supporter of the bully: 

  1. Intervene immediately
  2. Provide a system of graceful accountability while allow natural consequences to occur
  3. Create opportunities to “do good”
  4. Nurture empathy
  5. Teach friendship skills – assertive, respectful, and peaceful ways to relate to others
  6. Monitor/Criticize/Converse about TV shows, movies, music, and video games that reinforce violence against others
  7. Engage in more constructive, entertaining, and energizing activities 

If your student hurt others through gossip: 

  1. apologize to the child who was harmed by the rumor
  2. go to everyone she told it to and tell them it wasn’t true
  3. ask them to stop spreading it
  4. ask them to let everyone they told that she was a part of spreading the rumor and that she wants to correct it
  5. to the best of her ability, repair any damage done to the target by the act of spreading the rumor
  6. take the next step of building a new and healthier relationship 

Three principles that foster moral independence: 

  1. Teach your student that he and only he is responsible for the consequences of his actions (kids who accept responsibility for their own actions are more likely to live up to their own moral code) 
  2. Build your student’s confidence in his or her ability to make good decisions (Kids who have confidence in their own judgments are not easily manipulated by others) 
  3. Teach your student how to evaluate reasons on his or her own (Kids who have confidence in their own ability to reason are more questioning and more resistant to passive acceptance of orders.)

reference: Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystanders by Barbara Coloroso

Creating Caring Communities that Challenge Bullying

The following is a brief outline for creating an environment that leaves little room for bullying.  Whether your group is in a classroom, youth group room, large group meeting room, or small group this following principles will be helpful for the leader to cultivate a safe environment.  This can also be used in training volunteers as there is a Powerpoint Presentation that goes with it at the bottom of this post.

Four Key Principles 

  1. warmth, positive interest, and involvement from adults
  2. firm limits as to unacceptable behavior
  3. in case of violations of limits and rules, consistent application of non-hostile, non-physical sanctions (discipline as opposed to punishment)
  4. behavior by adults at home and in community organizations that creates an authoritative (not authoritarian) adult – child interaction

 Elements to Effective Anti-Bullying Policies 

  1. A strong, positive statement of the organizations desire to promote positive peer relations and especially to oppose bullying and harassment in any form it may take by all members of the community
  2. A succinct definition of bullying or peer victimization, with specific examples
  3. A declaration of the rights of individuals and groups in the community – students, teachers, clergy, LGBTQ, minorities, etc – to be free of victimization by others
  4. A statement of the responsibility of those who witness peer victimization to seek to stop it
  5. Encouragement of students and parents with concerns about victimization to speak with school/church/community leaders about it
  6. A general description of how the community organization proposes to deal with the bully/victim problem
  7. A plan to evaluate the policy in the near future

 Prevention Strategy 

  1. Gathering information about bullying in community directly from students
  2. Establishing clear organizational rules about bullying
  3. Training all willing adults in the community to respond sensitively and consistently to bullying
  4. Providing adequate adults supervision, particularly in less structured areas, such as playgrounds, parks, swimming pools, etc.
  5. Improving parental awareness of and involvement in working on the problem.

Bullying Training

Four Markers of Bullying

With every person we talk to about bullying we get a different definition of what it is.  There seems to be some difficulty defining what bullying is and what it isn’t.  Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus defines bullying as when the person is

“exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons.”

He defines negative actions as “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways.”

The following are markers that may help determine if an act of aggression is actually bullying or simply the result of conflict between two parties.

1. Imbalance of Power

The bully can be older, bigger, stronger, more verbally adapt, higher up on the social ladder, of a difference race, or of the opposite sex. Sheer numbers of kids banded together to bully can create this imbalance. Bullying is not sibling rivalry, nor is it fighting that involves two equally matched kids who have conflict.

2. Intent to Harm
The bully means to inflict emotional and/or physical pain, expects the action to hurt, and takes pleasure in witnessing the hurt. This is no accident or mistake, no slip of the tongue, no playful teasing, no misplaced foot, no inadvertent exclusion.
3. Threat of Further Aggression
Both the bully and the bullied know that the bullying can and probably will occur again. This is not meant to be a one time event. When bullying escalates unabated, a fourth element is added:
4. Terror
Bullying is systematic violence used to intimidate and maintain dominance. Terror struck in the heart of the child targeted is not only a means to an end, it is an end in itself. This is not a one time act of aggression elicited by anger about a specific issue, nor is it an impulsive response to a rebuke.

Bullying (part 5): Restitution, Resolution, and Reconciliation

If the student was a follower/supporter of the bully:

  1. Intervene Immediately
  2. Provide a system of graceful accountability while allowing natural consequences to occur
  3. Create opportunities to “do good”
  4. Nurture empathy
  5. Teach friendship skills – assertive, respectful, and peaceful ways to relate to others
  6. Monitor/Criticize/Converse about TV shows, movies, music, and video games that reinforce violence against others
  7. Engage in more constructive, entertaining, and energizing activities

If your student hurts others through gossip have them:

  1. Apologize to the student who was hurts by the rumor
  2. Go to everyone they told it to and have them tell them it wasn’t true
  3. Ask them to stop spreading it
  4. To the best of their ability, repair any damage done to the target by the act of spreading the rumor
  5. Take the next step of building a new and healthier relationship

Three principles that foster moral independence:

  1. Teach your students that he/she and only he/she is responsible for the consequences of his/her own action (kids who accept responsibility for their own actions are more likely to live up to their own moral code)
  2. Build your student’s confidence in his or her ability to make good decisions (kids who have confidence in their own judgments are not easily manipulated by others)
  3. Teach your students how to test reasons/motivations on his or her own (kids who have confidence in their own ability to reason are more questioning and more resistant to passive acceptance of others)

Bullying (part 4): The Bystander

Four Reasons for not intervening:

1.  The bystander is afraid of getting hurt himself.  The bully is bigger and stronger and has a reputation that justifies the fears; so jumping into the melee doesn’t appear to be a smart thing to do.


2.  The bystander is afraid of becoming a new target of the bully.  Even if the bystander is able to intervene successfully, there is a chance she will be singled out at a later date for retribution.  Bullies are quick to disparage and malign anyone who tries to intervene.


3.  The bystander is afraid of doing something that will only make the situation worse.


4.  The bystander does not know what to do.  He hasn’t been taught ways to intervene, to report the bullying, or to help the target.  Just as bullying is a learned behavior, so must young people be taught ways to stop it.



Excuses for not Intervening:

  1. The bully is my friend
  2. It’s not my problem!  This is not my fight!
  3. She’s not my friend
  4. He’s a loser anyway
  5. He deserved to be bullied, asked or it, had it coming
  6. Bullying will toughen him up
  7. Kids have a deeply embedded code of silence
  8. It’s better to be in the in-group than to defend the outcasts
  9. It’s too big a pain

Everyone plays a role in the bullying cycle.  Educating the “players” is an important first step in ending the gripping power of bullying.  We often focus, to the exclusion of the others, on just the bully or victim.  Educating and empowering the other participants, regardless of how passive their roles may be, is a crucial step towards addressing the issue of bullying.

Bullying (part 3): Text-Bullying And Mobile Technology

Adults are becoming more and more savvy about protecting kids from cyber bullying—harassment using technology, such as email, instant messaging, or social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. But during the upcoming spring break, when kids have more unstructured time than usual, they are also at risk of exposure to bullying through text messaging (“text bullying”), or even being “sexted,” using the text-messaging feature on cell phones, which a reported 87 percent of teens own (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2008).

Sexting” is sending nude or sexually suggestive pictures and accompanying text via cell phone. Although the original “sexter” may only send the suggestive message to one person—a girlfriend or boyfriend, for example—that message can be forwarded to anyone in the recipient’s address book, and from there, all across a school or community. Once it’s out there, there’s no way to take back the message or the accompanying embarrassment or humiliation.

There are possible long-term consequences, too. Since school admissions officers and potential employers often look at online profiles, the repercussions of sending an inappropriate message could be endless. And one newspaper reports that sexters can “face felony charges for child pornography” (Borgman, 2009), landing them on the registry for sexual predators, a label they’ll bear for the rest of their lives.

What Kids Can Do About It

According to the Anti-Defamation League, critical thinking is “the best tool against hate” (Tiven, 2003). You can coach kids to use the same problem-solving skills for text bullying that they would use in any other situation. The more they think before pressing the “send” key, the less likely they will be to disseminate a photo or message that will get them in trouble and ruin their reputation.

When kids receive harassing or inappropriate text messages, there are several things they can do:

  • Never, ever respond to the message sender.
  • Report it as soon as possible to a trusted adult (and if that person doesn’t help, tell others until someone does).
  • Save or print the message to keep a record, then delete it from the phone.
  • Only keep contact information of close friends and family in their address book.
  • Talk to their wireless provider about how they can help (such as blocking the messages or changing their number).

What Parents Can Do About It

If critical thinking is a kid’s best defense against text bullying, communication is yours. Just as you talk to your kids about sex, relationships, and drugs, it’s also important to talk to them about how they use their phones, and with whom.  “Supervising and monitoring your kids’ whereabouts in real life and in cyberspace doesn’t make you a nag; it’s just part of your job as a parent” (NCPTUP, 2008).

It’s best not to take away kids’ phone privileges when they come to you with a text bullying problem. That might make them feel as if they’re being punished for someone else’s transgression. Here are some things you can do instead:

  • Talk to your kids about text bullying and sexting, especially the short- and long-term consequences.
  • Monitor their cell phone use: Who are they texting? Who is texting them?
  • Suggest that everyone’s cell phone stay on the kitchen counter or another centralized place while they’re home.
  • Set rules about the kind of behavior that is and is not acceptable—on a cell phone, or anywhere else. Remind kids of the rules periodically.
  • Many cell phone provider’s website allow for varying degrees of parental control available from their website.  This allows for parents to control the hours of which a child may receive or send text/pix messages, block callers/numbers from any activity on that specific phone line, and keep record of your child’s mobile activities.


Borgman, L. (2009, February 24). Safe sexting? There’s no such thing. Lexington Herald-Leader.

Brock, K. (2008, May 6). Text bullying. WLS-TV Chicago, IL. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from

National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2008). Sex and tech: Results from a survey of teens and young adults. Washington, DC: Author.

NCH: The Children’s Charity. (2005). Stoptextbully top 10 tips. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from

Tiven, L. (2003). Hate on the Internet: A response guide for educators and families. Albany, NY: Anti-Defamation League.

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