Resources for Oregon Schools and Parents
I have been focusing on bullying since I wrote the first book that was ever published on cyberbullying, Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats. This was written in 2006 and published in 2007. Facebook went public in September 2006. Yes, I can see the future.
I fully realized in 2012 that what schools were being told about bullying and the manner in which they were being told to respond was not accurate and would be ineffective. I have spent the years since that time figuring out how schools could better address this concern.
I realize over the summer that this year was going to present significant concerns. I met with some local school leaders. They listened. But did nothing. I also tried to convince the Oregon Department of Education to DO SOMETHING!!! We are going to see increased student suicides and increased potential for school violence.
Under their prior leadership, Dr. Noor, they did nothing. This is the email exchange I had with Dr. Noor in September. Note below that the new Deputy Superintendent, Colt Gill, is moving forward to make positive changes.
The evidence is clear that Oregon’s young people are experiencing higher levels of emotional distress. This distress will result in increased risk of violence and self harm. It is my opinion that the myopic focus on tests that will engulf Oregon’s schools this spring will only increase this distress–and thus increase the risks.
This is the document I sent to the Oregon Education Service Districts in January 2018. I told them they could send this document further. I do not know whether they did.
A commentary I wrote published in the Register Guard in Eugene on December 3, 2017. A Plan to Address Bullying in Schools
An even earlier commentary on the concerns of bullying was published in January, 2017. The Bully Myth
A version of this commentary/document was also published nationally in District Administration, a publication for this nation’s school leaders. A “Troubled Waters” Survival Guide for Schools.
In the above “Troubled Waters” Guide, I reference a shortened version of the VIA Character Institute survey, which was created with their permission. It is here.
Resource for Schools
This is a brief document that outlines my insight into bullying and how to engage students to form more positive relations, Engage Students to Embrace Civility.
Resources for Parents
I have written a book for parents, Support and Empower Your Bullied Child: A Guide for Parents. This is available on Amazon.
Positive Parenting in an Age of Anxiety is a short document with easy to implement strategies grounded in positive psychology and trauma informed care.
Support for Parents. More information for parents is available. Embrace Civility in the Digital Age has just introduced a new service for parents of students with disabilities who are being bullied and the response of the school has not resolved the problem.
Indicators of Concerns
Please note that the concerns I addressed in the December predated the release of the 2017 Oregon Healthy Teen survey, which demonstrated a huge increase in concerns of the emotional well-being of Oregon students.
The Oregon Healthy Teen surveys can be found here. My suggestion is comparing the results in 2017 to earlier surveys.
I have prepared a comparison of 2013 and 2017 data on points I consider to be key.
This is an article on these concerns that appeared in the Oregonian on December 30, 2017:
Oregon’s young people are not facing increased emotional distress because of who they are. They are facing increased emotional distress because of what is happening to them and what is happening in their lives.
Please STOP blaming this on social media. At the same time as the increased use of social media, schools implemented the Common Core, implemented an increased focus on test scores as the sole measure of their value. Please remember this call from the Oregon Education Association in 2014:
Oregon’s teachers union is calling on state schools chief Rob Saxton to cancel state reading and math tests in spring 2015 because it says the new exams Oregon plans to give are unproven and too hard. Giving them, the union says, would harm students by making most of them feel like failures. (emphasis added)
This is the statement from OEA.
Additionally, economic insecurity and the rise in hatred in our society are major factors, as appropriately noted in the Oregonian article. As the shooting in Florida demonstrated, most students were using their cell phones to reach out for support, which they were able to receive.
Progress at Last
Our new Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, Colt Gill, is developing a comprehensive initiative to more schools forward in a focus on positive school climate, positive relations an inclusion, and increased support for students at higher risk.
However, moving this initiative forward will require a task force, recommendations for legislation, etc. In other words, this will take a long time–and our young people are emotionally distressed NOW!
The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators is providing excellent leadership in offering professional development opportunities, especially in trauma informed care.