Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Expert: Adults need to stop bully


Abusive behavior not normal for kids

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WYOMING - If the bus bully at your school is out of control, nationally known bullying prevention expert Stan Davis may be able to help.

Davis, a school counselor from Wayne, Maine, will visit Wyoming City Schools and the community today through Friday to train students, teachers and parents in ways to prevent bullying.

IF YOU GO
• What: Parent training with Stan Davis, school counselor and nationally known expert on bullying; free to public.
• When: 7 p.m. Wednesday.
• Where: Pendery Center Auditorium at Wyoming High School, 106 Pendery Ave.
• Information: 772-2343.
Classroom bullying is a growing phenomenon. National research shows that about 8 percent of America's students - about 4 million - are bullied each year.

Another 8 percent are described as "consistent bullies." That leaves the majority of students as mostly silent bystanders, Davis said.

"Reports of bullying peak in middle school," he said. "It is not clear if bullying declines in high school or if kids just stop telling adults about it because they believe adults will be no help. Students tell me the latter is true."

Davis has worked with young people for more than 30 years and developed the "Stop Bullying Now" program based on the research of Dr. Dan Olweus of Norway. The research concluded that bullying is not a normal part of childhood, but is an abuse of power that adults, not victims, must work to change.

"Targets have often tried many things unsuccessfully before telling adults," Davis said. "If we advise them to tell the bully to stop or to pretend the bullying doesn't bother them, we are likely to be telling them to do something that has already failed for them.

"It is up to adults to act to protect the target and begin changing the bully. The key is to remove the bully's power through consequences, through peers withdrawing their support of the bullying behavior, and through increased supervision."

Davis' visit is sponsored by the district and Wyoming's Parent School Association.

"In Wyoming, we strive to give our children the best educational experience we can," said Wyoming PSA president Suzanne Katsman. "It is important that we make sure we are doing our best to shape their characters, as well.''

Bullies are everywhere, Davis said. "What differentiates schools with higher rates of bullying from those with lower rates of bullying, according to Dorothea Ross (psychologist, researcher and author of Childhood Bullying and Teasing) is neither class size, budget, nor socioeconomic mix.

"What differentiates high-bullying schools from low-bullying schools is opportunity for bullying - supervision, accountability for harassing behavior and consistency of discipline, active versus quiet peer bystanders, and programs to support targets and help bullies change.''

E-mail ckranz@enquirer.com.




WINTER STORM
Storm puts Tristate on ice
Meltdown with rain a concern
Tickets rare for driving in snow emergency

TOP LOCAL STORIES
County balks on putting Brennaman's refrain on ballpark
Ridge to debut 'Ready Campaign' here
N. Ky. considers new airport
Payers wary of new-tax ideas

'GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS'
Guide to Anderson
Meet newspaper staff tonight

ENQUIRER COLUMNS
PULFER: Students adopt a soldier
RADEL: Music lovers plan Kings Records tribute

AROUND THE TRISTATE
Expert: Adults need to stop bully
Academy gives taste of police work
Good News: Neighbors' award has an opening
Tristate A.M. Report
Obituary: Sally Crane wrote volunteer column
Obituary: Harold Dorn owned office supply store

BUTLER COUNTY
Program's topic: race and schools

WARREN COUNTY
Four Warren school districts seek money
Recreation center's child care called pricey
Career center heads south

OHIO
Ohio Moments: University at Athens goes back to beginning
Hearings to examine revised parole rules

KENTUCKY
Heather F. Henry says 'no' to run
Suspended profs' decision expected
Abused-by-clergy group convenes
Black history center will focus on Kentucky
60,000 left without power in Lexington
Accountants settle for $23M