Author And Former Teacher Elizabeth J. Meyer Talks Bullying
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STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Author Elizabeth J. Meyer visited the KCAL9 studios Friday to talk about her book “Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools.”
Meyers is a former high school teacher.
Recently released research in California shows that many schools fail to use data to support their bullying prevention programs, and many districts have outdated policies that are useless in protecting students.
Cyber Bulling Tips:
- Mistake #1: Individualizing the problem. Although it may appear that bullying and harassment might only be impacting a few highly visible ‘targets’ or ‘bullies’, these individuals and relationships do not emerge in a vacuum, and they are not the only ones impacted by the climate that allows bullying and harassment to persist.
- Mistake #2: Using one-time workshops or ‘canned’ intervention programs. Another leading bullying researcher, Dorothy Espelage reported that 47 states have unfunded bullying mandates. This means that schools are required to address bullying, but they are not being provided funds or other forms of support to do this well. As a result many school districts will bring in a speaker to do a single workshop, or purchase a toolkit of resources that may or may not be used regularly, or appropriately, in order to show that they are complying.
- Mistake #3: Ignoring bias in cases of bullying and harassment. Most forms of bullying and all forms of harassment reflect and reinforce social biases such as: racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, and fatphobia. However, most schools shy away from naming these behaviors and teachers are not trained or confident in ways to effectively teach against these harmful prejudices that turn into acts of discrimination. In most cases of biased harassment, there are federal laws that protect students, and if schools fall short of their duty they can be subject to lawsuits with high financial damages as well as investigations and interventions from the Office for Civil Rights
- Mistake #4: Writing policies with no ‘teeth’. Many school bullying policies just copy the language that their state legislation has required them to include. As a result the policies become meaningless words that collect dust on an administrator’s desk somewhere. In order to be meaningful, bullying and harassment policies need to have several elements including: Community consultation Clear language Implementation plan Reporting mechanisms and response protocols, An evaluation phase to ensure the policy is being implemented and applied appropriately Without each of these elements, the policies will have little to no impact on transforming the culture of the school.
- Mistake #5: Not actively involving students and other school community members in intervention programs. Many schools train only their teachers in any kind of response protocol or policy renewal, however students are central in making any transformation in school culture, as are key educational support personnel including: cafeteria workers, bus drivers, front office staff, and teachers’ aides. Although community consultation is time-consuming, it is an essential first step to creating long term and sustainable change.