Welcome. I have been working for years on research and development of more effective strategies for schools to better foster positive relations between students and between staff and students. I have left all of the original text that has been on the home page of my site below, so you can see the tone and substance of what I have been trying to accomplish.
The approach most schools are using to reduce bullying is not working. This document explains why this is and what, in my opinion, schools should be doing.
Students are always told, “Tell a school staff member, they will make it better.” The vast majority of students who are bullied or harassed also do not report — for good reason. Most often, after asking for help, things either stay the same or get worse. Students know this. This is why the vast majority do not ask for help.
By way of example, recent data from the Eugene 4J school district reveals that close to 9% of secondary students reported being bullied or harassed once a week or more and two-thirds said they would not ask for help from school staff. These numbers have not significantly changed since 4J started this survey in 2009. The approach the district is using to address bullying also has not changed.
I am launching a new approach, both nationally, and here in Oregon. This new approach has several components:
- Be Positively Powerful. Be Positively Powerful: An Empowerment Plan for Teens Who Are Bullied or Harassed is a new book I have written for teens — also for parents. This book provides teens with seven positively powerful strategies to ensure they are a strong survivor of the bullying or harassment they have endured. Parents of younger children can adapt these positive strategies.
- Available now on Amazon.
- Positive Resolutions: How to Insist on a Positive Response by the School to the Bullying or Harassment of Your Child. This is the draft of a guide I have written for parents and parent advocates, counselors and social workers, peer support professionals, advocacy groups and others, so that they also can provide professional services to more fully support students in achieving a resolution of these hurtful situations. This is still a work in progress. I would appreciate feedback. I know this is long. This is why I have created shorter documents.
- Positive Resolutions. This is a brief description of the concerns and the approach I am recommending be followed.
- Documentation Guide. This document provides a template for parents and students to document what is happening for use in filing a more formal complaint with their school district or with the Office for Civil Rights.
- Document for Mental Health Professionals. This document explains how they might help in an assessment of a student who is being persistently bullied, to allow the parent to proceed with a civil rights complaint.
- Complaint Form Template. This template uses the Office for Civil Rights complaint form. However, what is requested on this form is standard for other complaint forms so can be used as a model.
- Students with Disabilities. This document provides guidance into what schools how schools are supposed to respond if students have disabilities–but most often do not. Note that any student who has a mental health diagnosis is a student with a disability. If that student is being seriously, persistently, or pervasively bullied and this is interfering with that student’s ability to learn or participate, this is a violation of Section 504.
- Positive Resolution Slideshow slides. These slides are being turned into a video, which will be posted soon.
- Engage Students to Embrace Civility is a short video that explains why what schools are doing is not working.
- Positive School Climate Assessment Parents can provide this to a school to assist their schools in conducting an assessment and making plans for positive change.
- This has been provided at no charge. I would thoroughly appreciate a donation of $20 – $30 if this resource has value for you. A donation link is provided.
- Bullying Resolution Services in Oregon. This page provides greater information on the Bullying Resolution Services I offer for parents in Oregon, starting in Lane County.
- Oregon’s Anti-Bullying Statute. I have made recommendations to the Oregon State Legislature on how the statute can be amended to ensure greater accountability of schools in reducing hurtful behavior of students and effectively responding when the hurtful situations are witnessed or reported. These amendments would focus on incorporating the requirements under federal civil rights regulations and guidelines, that it is my perspective the vast majority of school districts are ignoring.
- This is the email I sent to Oregon leaders related to how to amend the Oregon bullying statute.
Embrace Civility In The Digital Age
Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Young People Today!
The mission of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age is to provide guidance to caring adults so they can better engage young people to embrace civility and foster positive relations.
Embracing civility supports the full engagement of students in maintaining an environment where hurtful behavior is incompatible with the accepted social norms and where everyone takes responsibility for the quality of the relationships.
Engage Students to Embrace Civility provides guidance for school leaders on research-based strategies to:
- Engage all members of the school community in the effort to establish a positive school climate that embraces kindness, inclusion, and civility.
- Increase the effectiveness of teachers in supporting positive relations and responding to minor hurtful incidents in a restorative manner that supports increased resilience of the involved students.
- Increase the effectiveness of principals in investigating and intervening in the more serious or chronic hurtful situations in a manner that supports increased resilience of all involved students, holds hurtful students accountable, remedies the harm, corrects environmental concerns, and ensures ongoing monitoring until all involved students indicate that things have gotten better.
- Empower students to embrace kindness, inclusion, and civility by engaging students as leaders in this effort, using a positive norms approach to encourage positive behavior, and increasing student resilience and skills as a witness to a hurtful situation, the one being hurtful, or the one treated badly.
You can also download the slides for this video.
This is a document that outlines the Engage Students to Embrace Civility approach.
Are Our Students Okay? What Does the Data Tell Us?
This is a slideshow that shares the data from the Student Wellness Survey and the 4J survey.
This is the commentary that ran in the Register Guard.
Increase Student Resilience
This document provides insight into research-based strategies schools can use to increase student resilience.
Rethinking Token Rewards
This document outlines the concerns associated with the use of token rewards in schools, a feature of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.
This passage from the research article is most focused on the concerns associated with the operant conditioning, behavioral approach.
There is a misperception that PBIS will reduce bullying, because, although lacking any research to make the claim PBIS has been claiming that it will reduce bullying. This recent study demonstrates that this is not the case.
As schools enter the new school year, given the events that transpired last spring, school safety has obviously emerged as a significant concern.
Embrace Civility is a student leadership program for students in grades 4 through early high school that teaches the values and skills to foster positive relations that focuses on positive social norms and effective skills.
- Reach Out. Be kind to those who are treated badly or left out and help resolve conflict.
- Say “Stop.” Help those who are hurtful stop, accept personal responsibility, and remedy the harm.
- Report Concerns. Report serious concerns to an adult who can help.
- Stop, Own it, and Fix It. Avoid being hurtful and if you were, stop yourself, accept responsibility, and remedy the harm.
- Be Positively Powerful. Respond effectively if someone is hurtful and become positively powerful.
This is a one-page brochure about the student leadership program and book.
Engage Students to Embrace Civility resources provide insight for educators that address:
- Why current bullying prevention approaches are not effective and research-based strategies to achieve a more positive school climate that fosters positive relations.
- Strategies grounded in trauma informed care, positive social norms, and social-emotional learning to empower students to foster positive relations.
- Strategies to empower school staff to effectively respond when they witness hurtful incidents or hurtful incidents are reported.
- Strategies to effectively investigate and intervene in the more serious or chronic situations.
Engage Students to Embrace Civility, is now available on Amazon!
Bullying Resolution Services is new service for parents in Oregon.
Too often, when students or parents report bullying to the school, the situation remains unresolved. Bullying Resolution Services will assist parents in requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation in a situation where a student with disabilities is being bullied or pursuing an formal complaint to address bullying or harassment situations through the district and to the Oregon Department of Education, if necessary.
Bullying Resolution Services will encourage a positive resolution that will support all involved students and any involved staff.
Bullying Resolution Services can also provide services to schools and districts by supporting an investigation or mediation to assist in resolving these situations.