Tomorrow Is Too Long to Wait for Inclusion

Anti-Bullying from the Parent’s Perspective

No-Bullying 2

A mom and/or dad concerned about bullying at local schools should know she and/or he can take action to help resolve said issues. On Thursday we at Think Inclusive published insights from anti-bullying speaker Tony Bartoli regarding how educators can work to promote an anti-bullying message (“Anti-Bullying from the Teacher’s Perspective”). Today we examine Bartoli’s advice for parents.

Anti-bullying strategies for parentsBuilding Community

Asked how parents could work to prevent bullying Tony Bartoli stated “Parents can develop support groups and community activities that foster bullying awareness.” He added “Definitely try to involve the school,” warning against inadvertently developing an atmosphere pitting parents versus educators and administrators.

Bartoli certainly sees bullying awareness as a communal endeavor. “Bullying has to be something that is addressed from at times all hands on deck approach, to where parents can connect with other parents. Schools can connect with other schools.”

When building community Bartoli reminds to not forget about the relationship closest to you. “Parents, communicate with your son or daughter. What you do is set the tone ahead of time that we understand bullying is a big issue.” Communication proves vital. “Keep the communication line open. (Say to your child) ‘If you’re getting bullied in school in any way come talk to me because I’m going to do what I can.’”

Doing What You Can

Parents maintain different choices to assist remedying bullying. Bartoli strongly recommended meeting your child up at the school and talking to the administration, “Meet with your son or daughter going to the school and meeting with some of the people in the administration. Say ‘I don’t know if we’ve all heard about this, but I have this situation with my son or daughter that’s very personal to me. Now I want to find out what our next steps are.’”

Beyond the school hierarchy you can leverage the anti-bullying community you built. “What parents can do is communicate with each other, brainstorm, and get ideas. Approach the school.” He expanded on the term “ideas.” “That’s a very big word right there, small in letters but big in effect- ideas. Have ideas flow back and forth from parents.”

Upon anti-bullying ideas coming to fruition, consider sending inquiries to the media. “Approach local media, it may even be just the small community paper. Say ‘We’re parents who want to have our voices heard. We’ve developed this program.’” A little publicity can go a long way.

Reaching Your Last Resort

Unfortunately sometimes you may encounter resistance in your efforts. Perhaps an administrator constantly dismisses your concerns. In such a scenario Bartoli suggests taking your worries to the next level on the school hierarchy. “I say this as a last resort but more parents are doing this, making their voices heard at the local level at the school board meetings.”

He advised “Do it in a constructive way but do it in a way that will address the issue and do it factually.” One way includes sharing specific instances. If that fails, Bartoli brought back up the media. “Go to local media outlets and do what you can to report this to local news stations. They might not do the story but they might.”

The final last resort involves changing schools. Bartoli recalled a mother who ended up taking said action. “She pulled her eighth grade daughter out because the bullying was relentless and she had already gone to the school board.” The mother told Bartoli the breaking point. “She said kids were kicking crutches out from under her (daughter). She said ‘No way! Tony these students need to learn empathy.’”

A Final Plea from Tony Bartoli

Tony Bartoli ended our interview with a plea to not just parents but all adults involved in education. “Teachers, parents, schools, administrators, local school boards, listen because it’s out there and if we just shut down or say that our way is the best way, these kids are going to shut down. We don’t want that.”

For more about Tony Bartoli visit www.tonyb4hope.com.

*Image courtesy of Christopher Hayes, Wikimedia Commons

Anti-Bullying from the Educator’s Perspective

No Bullying

Often times anti-bullying efforts focus on students but educators and parents can also play a role in stopping bullying or better yet, preventing bullying. To find out exactly how educators and parents may do this, Think Inclusive recently chatted with anti-bullying speaker Tony Bartoli. Between his personal experience and a decade on the speaking circuit, Bartoli contains many strategies to confront the issue.

Today, Think Inclusive presents anti-bullying strategies for educators to implement. Come back Monday to read Bartoli’s suggested strategies parents could utilize.

Physical Bullying

Emotionalism can help a teacher differentiate between horseplay and bullying.

Recognizing Bullying

A major hurdle to stopping or preventing bullying remains recognizing bullying behavior. Certain instances could get mistaken as horseplay. Asked what signs indicate a bullying situation, Tony Bartoli first discussed defining bullying. “What is bullying? I do a talk about the verbal, the emotional, the cyberbullying especially, and the physical.”

He noted though, “Most definitions agree that bullying is repetitive in the way it is done.” Besides the repetitive nature Bartoli said “I think if they see the raising of the tone in voice or the emotionalism that is involved.” Also he mentioned size. “Look for students that are bigger, say it’s a group of bigger students ganging up on a smaller student.”

Moving to bullying in general, classroom demeanor possibly reveals victims. “In the classroom teachers can be able to tell by slipping grades or isolation. A student, maybe they like to sit close up front in the class, now they want to sit closer to the back or the corner or a student who doesn’t want to get involved in the class.”

Taking Action

Anti-bullying requires action. However, sometimes a teacher might feel helpless. Stated Bartoli “I think it is important for teachers to work to move away from ‘our hands are tied’ concern.” Standardized testing could feed into a teacher’s helpless sentiments.

“This is where you get our whole ‘hands are tied’ kind of thing, because they have to teach ‘x’ amount of material too. They’re concerned about the state exams. Their (students) got to pass the written exams.” Squeezing the anti-bullying topic into the curriculum might prove worthwhile still, because unaddressed, bullying can lead to suicide.

Incorporating anti-bullying messages into the classroom doesn’t require extravagant measures. Bartoli recommends, “Create a classroom atmosphere on preventing bullying.” He expanded on how to do so. “I think to have teachers to have something in the classroom upfront about bullying that students see. Make something visual or at least mention it from time to time.”

Promoting Anti-Bullying

Over the years educators demonstrate to Bartoli the ways they promote a bully-free environment. “Teachers show me what they’ve been doing in their classrooms. Whether it’s defining bullying and having it across the front of the classroom or they have a couple of posters out there that they made or that students made about bullying, what it is, and how it affects students.”

Another way teachers can promote anti-bullying revolves around a trend Bartoli noticed the past few years, students showing eagerness to stop/prevent bullying. He advises educators encourage such attitudes. “Teachers foster that creativity in students and encourage students that ‘I’d like to see you start something, some kind of leadership or bullying awareness club.’”

Emailing Tony Bartoli (tonyb4hope@yahoo.com) to inquire about his speaking services stands one way interested students can begin taking a stand. Bartoli possesses a real life story which engages. Bullies found Bartoli an easy target growing up because Bartoli walks differently due to cerebral palsy. His story provides students currently bullied the ability to relate and draws sympathy out from the bullies.

Learn more about Tony Bartoli by visiting www.tonyb4hope.com. Check back Monday for Bartoli’s suggested anti-bullying strategies parents can utilize.

*Photo above courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Pluscassandra

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