Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lawrence school district looking at Finnish anti-bullying program

August 18, 2011


The Lawrence school district is embracing an effort by Kansas University researchers to translate an anti-bullying program from Finland into U.S. schools.

The project, led by KU’s Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis and the School of Social Welfare, will be analyzed by teachers in the Lawrence district this year, with a potential pilot project expected to be launched in selected fourth-grade classrooms in 2012-13.

The researchers’ goal is to implement the KiVa program in the United States. The Lawrence district offers an opportunity to gather data in a system where many schools already have existing plans of their own to ensure that students feel “welcome and safe and comfortable” in school, said Kim Bodensteiner, the district’s chief academic officer.

Other researchers already have indicated that the KiVa program, started in 2007, has reduced bullying incidents in half.

“We’re always interested in reviewing something that has been successful elsewhere,” said Kim Bodensteiner, chief academic officer for the district. “Bullying is something that we definitely are paying attention to, and want to make sure we are preventing and addressing. We are looking forward to reviewing the materials.”


Gandalf 6 years, 2 months ago

Bullying would not be hard to stop.

1 Identify bullies (not hard everyone know who they are, including teachers). 2.Make sure hall monitors and teachers take responsibilty. (I.E. don't turn a blind eye). 3.Call parents to school for every violation. 4.Mandatory police notification after a second violation.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

"Call parents to school for every violation."

I'm not sure how this will help. Just speaking from my own experience: I adopted a 12 year old boy from foster care who was involved in bullying - as well as a number of other behavior problems. Calling me to the school every time he bullied someone would not have stopped the bullying, but would have placed additional stress on me at a time when I was already far too overloaded.

BTW this same child was in a foster home which was considering adopting him. They moved him on in 5 months because the school had exactly this policy - call the parents to the school for every infraction. Foster dad's employer (which happened to be the county mental health center where the child was placed) told him he had to choose between his job or the kid. He chose his job.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

The kid I adopted does indeed have a loose wire, and the best thing that happened to him was a stable family. And because he got that stability he's less likely to be a burden on the community as an adult.

Before he came to me he was being moved from home to home every 4 or 5 months. If he'd stayed on that track he'd have been lost. In my home he learned some social skills and some self-control. He's seen that there are options in life beyond jail and welfare. And he has a family where he belongs. He's far from perfect, but he can see that there are benefits to prosocial behavior - and to avoiding antisocial behavior.

The fact that you refer to the chaos this child reduced my life to as an inconvenience indicates to me that you have no idea what you're talking about. My life was torn into shreds by six years of dealing with the issues my son brought into my life. There are parts - my career, for example - which will never be the same. The loss of income through lower raises (and therefore lower retirement contributions) will effect me until the day I die. I was told by my employer that I was "too distracted by my son."

I made a commitment to that child, and I stuck with it. I "inconvenienced" myself by taking off work for therapy, court hearings, trips to visit him in residential treatment and juvenile detention, and many, many, many trips to the school.

Personally I would have rather my son attended an alternative school, but Lawrence doesn't have one. I found a couple of good ones in Topeka but they cost $10,000/year when you live out of district. The Lawrence school district refused to pay for the transfer, and I couldn't afford it. I did the best I could with the tools available to me.

The thing you fail to realize is that these bullies exist in the world. They aren't going to vanish because you shift them somewhere else. They need real help or they will continue to be a problem to society - and will likely produce problem children of their own.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

"Just ask the parents of Columbine students."

It was my understanding the boys who shot up Columbine were the victims of bullying - not the perpetrators. Wasn't the argument something to the effect that they were picked on, teased and bullied to the point that they retaliated on the school and their fellow students.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

"Mandatory police notification after a second violation."

Many bullying incidents don't involve crimes. And many involve very young kids. Should the school call the police because 8 year old Johnny called Susie a "doodoo head"?

Personally I think the schools are relying on the police too much as it is.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

What makes you think my view is to ignore it and hope it goes away? I don't think I said that, and in fact I don't advocate that at all. I think bullying is a serious issue and needs to be dealt with.

The fact is that police deal with crimes. A lot of bullying - such as name calling - is not a crime. If it were, half the people who post on this forum would have criminal records.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

You've cited the definition of bullying in the part of the code concerning schools, not the criminal code. The rest of that law (K.S.A. 72-8256) directs school boards to develop and implement policies to discourage bullying in the schools.

This law doesn't make bullying a crime. It isn't necessary to get the police involved in most incidents of bullying. That doesn't mean I don't think bullying isn't serious or that it should be ignored.

costello 6 years, 2 months ago

"It sure sounds like you wanted to ignore the problem."

It seems like you've made a lot of assumptions about me and what I believe and want. Like any parent I hope my son will grow up to be a decent and productive adult. Unfortunately he was pretty damaged by the time he arrived at my home. I did the best I could given the limitations of the situation.

You're probably not aware (I know I wasn't) that the kinds of issues my son has are considered disabilities for purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This puts limits on what the school can do. For example a disabled student must be placed in the least restrictive environment. The school felt this was the regular classroom for my son. I disagreed.

I would have preferred my son be placed in an alternative school. As his mother I felt that his needs would be better met in an environment with a more favorable staff to student ratio and where the staff are trained to assist him in learning social skills. I felt that placing him in a huge, busy school like LHS was setting him up for failure. I wanted to set him up for success. I was overruled. As I mentioned in a previous post - which you may or may not have read because clearly you think you've got my number so you don't have to listen to me - Lawrence has no alternative school and I couldn't afford to pay for one myself.

As a taxpayer I didn't think my son belonged in the regular classrooms at LHS because he was disruptive of the educational process of the kids who wanted to learn.

As an empathetic human being I didn't think he belonged there, because... well, kids should feel safe in school.

But no one really asked me. They told me where he would be placed and all my arguing amounted to nothing. All I'm saying is calling me to the school every time he acted out would not have worked, because I was powerless to change his behavior. If I could have, I would have. In my view doing something that doesn't work is irrational. Why do it if it doesn't work?

monkeywrench1969 6 years, 2 months ago

Another thing they need to do is stop suspending kids who are the victims who protect themselves when bullies attack them. The zero toleration rule of suspending the victim and the bullie (and or bullies) continues to tell the victim he has no recourse if teachers and other kids won't step up to protect them against a bullie out of fear of the bullie (The bullies will come after them) and the bullies parents (My parents will sue you and the school). Bullies learn it from somewhere.

SOunds like a team approach. here is what htey have on the site.

In KiVa, there is a strong emphasis on influencing the onlookers, who are neither bullies nor victims, to make them show that they are against bullying and to make them support the victim, rather than encourage the bully (Salmivalli et al., 1996; Salmivalli, Kärnä, & Poskiparta, 2009; Salmivalli & Voeten, 2004). Toward this end, there are several universal actions, such as student lessons, and an anti-bullying computer game. However, we believe that also indicated actions are needed to tackle the actual cases of bullying that come to the attention. Such indicated actions include individual and small group discussions with the bullies, victims, and prosocial classmates who are challenged to support the victimized peers. These discussions are effectuated by so-called school teams, together with classroom teachers

jamieg99 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad that someone was able to articulate at least one strategy of KiVa, as this article and its writer felt it didn't merit definition. I'm off to read more (based on your citations) to educate myself somewhere OTHER than ljworld. Thank you!

ferrislives 6 years, 2 months ago

monkeywrench1969, God knows that some Lawrence school teachers do exactly what you state; they might punish the bully, but they always punish the victim who finally defends themselves. They stand in a circle talking about whatever during recess, while endless crap happens to the kids with no real supervision. This happened to me as a child, and this also happened to my son quite a bit at one of the largest elementary schools in town.

I'm glad that he no longer attends this district, and I hope that they'll finally take bullying seriously. He's finally happy to go to school, has several good friends, and most-importantly he now trusts teachers and administrators to do their jobs.

ferrislives 6 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely right. I wish the USD497 would learn something from the same old routine that's been happening for years. All I have to say is don't bother sending your kid to the largest elementary school in town if you know which one I'm referring to. It's all a popularity contest, and the teachers/administrators always resort to the old "he said/she said" argument while they choose to not supervise these kids.

It never changes, and I'm glad that my other kids won't have to go through that crap. It's too bad that others are still going through that treatment at that school (and Baldwin apparently), from what I hear from parents. They never learn, but you'd better believe they'll be in line for their across-the-board raise!

somedude20 6 years, 2 months ago

It will be harder to teach kids not to bully others when the great Gov of this state is bullying people left and right.

Leadership by example!

chihuahua2 6 years, 2 months ago

I live in Perry and we lost a young man due to bulling and we have tried to set up a step on bullies walk at the Perry Lecompton High school track and they wouldn't let us!! And they are supposed to a Zero Tolerance Policy?? Whats wrong with that picture??

ferrislives 6 years, 2 months ago

That's too bad chihuahua2; I was sorry to hear about that kid. I heard that kid was a real good kid, but nothing gets learned by some folks. Hopefully others will hear what you're trying to do, and will raise a real stink with that school district.

WaxAndWane 6 years, 2 months ago

  1. Identify milquetoast students.
  2. Give them free karate lessons.
  3. Tell them to karate chop anyone who bullies them.

Problem solved. Okay, what's the next item on the agenda?

monkeywrench1969 6 years, 2 months ago

Ferris I believe I know which school you are referring to and would agree. The bullies don't care if they get in trouble and will blame the school/teachers/everyone for targeting them. I have witnessed the manipulative behavior and the triagulation (they are good at it). The parents of these kids scare staff too because it is too much trouble to right a wrong and the parents bully the staff to the point I would argue they look the other way becasue they are afraid to have to do something.

We tried the use your words, tell the teacher (the responses were don't be a tattle tale or he said he did not do it) , parents talking to the staff and got "well are you sure" or "We did not see so we can't prove it." One kid was non- stop for almost three years straight until the bully finally got punched in the nose during one of their bully sessions. It stopped.

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