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Teacher’s Want More Bully Prevention Training!

I attended a Safe School Training program and received a book entitled The New Bullying.  It was published by Michigan State University. It is a book that discussed how social media, social exclusion, laws and suicide changed bullying.  In the sixth chapter they discuss how teachers wish for more training when it comes to bullying in the school.

There are forty-nine states that have anti-bullying laws in place and many school districts are scrambling to find curriculum that they can implement to teach the students what bullying is and how to prevent it.  The problem is that most teachers feel that they lack the training when it comes to understanding the meaning of bullying behavior and how to deal with it.

“I think that Pennsylvania’s anti-bullying laws in schools are somewhat effective, although I wish it was more straightforward and gave the consequences of certain actions so each school is on the same page.” Said Lauren Sady, a first, second and third grade teacher in the Philadelphia School District. She said complicated definitions of bullying can be a problem.”  (The New Bullying 2012)

At my teacher-in-service programs most teachers share that their school has a “zero-tolerance policy” but when confronted with a bully situation they really don’t understand in depth as to what zero tolerance means.

Most schools instruct teachers to send the student to the office and let the administration deal with the bullying behavior. They then send the student home on suspension and never follow up or brief the teacher on what the next steps will be.

If schools want a real zero tolerance policy they need to instruct teachers what it means.  They need to explain to them the consequences for a student’s aggressive behavior and what is expected of the teacher when it comes to any follow-up policies.

At my teacher training programs I have had several teachers say that they can’t clearly define the difference between goofing around and bully behavior or as one teacher asked me “what is the difference between conflict and bullying?  In my curriculum and in my training sessions I spend a lot of time on this topic.  They need to understand the differences so that they‘re able to implement the right disciplinary action.

“Improving student behavior and academic performance generally requires changing school climate and school culture.”  University Community Partnerships@Michigan State University 2004

Teach the teachers bully prevention they will teach the students and in time there will be a change in student behavior and a safer school climate for all.

Note: Richard Paul offers teacher training visit our web site

Copyright Richard Paul 2013

Secret Mentoring Program

I recently attended a Bully-Schools workshop and had the opportunity to sit with a group of middle school teachers, counselors and social workers. We were discussing acknowledging positive behavior. Nancy Buyle our awesome facilitator shared the importance of making students feel wanted and accepted. When Nancy broke us up into groups to share some of the things schools should be doing to help our students take pride in their accomplishments and good deeds, my group members explained how their school has a secret mentoring program. They all shared with me how it works. Each staff member has a group of kids they high five, make positive comments, cheer on and let them know that someone cares about them daily. Some even attend their mentees extracurricular activities. The general consensus from my group was that their schools bullying incidents have reduced more than seventy-five percent since starting this secret mentor program. Many of the student who were struggling academically are doing much better, they’re happier and feel safer when on the bus and at school.

“Feeling safe- socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically- is a fundamental human need. Feeling safe in school promotes student learning and healthy development. (Devinde and Chohen 2007)

There are many reasons why a student will be aggressive toward another student. Their home life is filled with anger and disrespect. They may have a deceased parent. Their parents might be in the middle of a nasty divorce. The parents are too busy to be there for their child. Because of this many children are screaming out for attention. If they get more attention with negative aggressive behavior they are more likely to keep up. Negative attention is better than no attention.

When I was in fifth grade there was a very smart kid who was aggressive and threatening to almost everyone in the class. He would go in our desks and throw things on the floor. He stole hats, gloves and scarves and would tease, push and shove. We used to say he was crazy and should be put in jail but in 1968 there weren’t many things in place to help this student or the rest of us feel safe in school. Later I learned that he had come from a very bad home life. Both parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. He never received any attention for anything he did. I often wonder if there was some kind of secret mentoring program in place if this student would have changed his behavior.

Paula Dirkes in her awesome book Mentor Me! Writes: “An important school-based mentoring study (Curtis 1999) sheds some light on the “ripple effect” of mentoring- not only in school but in the child’s self-confidence level. Positive attitudes about school and personal self-confidence both improved a whopping sixty–four percent amongst mentored children.”
In every school there are students like the one in my fifth grade class crying out for help. So why not get teachers, staff, parents and even students on board to create a secret mentoring program to remind kids and teens that someone cares about them and that they have a right to be proud of themselves.

If you would learn more about mentoring contact

Together we can change the world one duck at a time!”
Copyright Richard Paul 2013

Spend Quality Time- Richard Paul

A couple weeks ago my wife and I took my teenage daughter to California Pizza for dinner. When we sat down both my wife and I were staring at our Iphones, we were reading, texting on Facebook and Twitter. My daughter on the other hand was trying to share with us what she had done at school that day. When she didn’t get our attention she pulled out her phone and took a picture of my wife and I starring at our phones. She posted it on her Facebook page and in the caption below she wrote something about quality time with mom and dad.
In the Boy Scouts of America Linked In group there was a discussion on how disrespectful the boys can be at Cub Scout pack meetings and leadership event. Some were expressing their opinions and sharing tips for the group. One of the members shared his concerns regarding parents attending the camps with their boys. He complained about their failing to participate with the group. He talked about parents sleeping late, sleeping in the car instead of the tent and even going out to get a pizza so they don’t have to eat what the boys cooked for dinner.
We as parents sometime criticize our schools for seeing are children as numbers and not as human beings. But if we ourselves are not respecting our children by failing to give them our undivided attention when they are talking to us for example then we are no different. If we want our children to be respectful and listen to us, then we need to do the same. If we want our children to know that we care and love them no matter what, then we need to shut off the cellphone, leave the Ipad at home spend some quality time with them.
In the Bully-Free Schools Circle of Support Resource Guide for Trainers, Dee Lindenberger writes that “The experience of caring relationships, characterized by emotional warmth and positive involvement in the child’s life, is essential to develop the capacity for healthy attachment, empathy-social/emotional competence. “
As part of my training to teachers and staff I explain why it is important to connect with your students. I ask them to remember a teacher that mentored or connected with them, a teacher that went the extra mile. Most attendees quickly raise their hand and share the story about the teacher that changed their lives. When I speak to parents I also ask if one of their parents listened and connected to them. Most of the parents in the group fail to raise their hands. Do we want our children to think the same about us? Don’t get me wrong, there have been many stories at the parenting workshops I have facilitated where parents have shared great things about their mom or dad. How they inspired them to do the right thing and always spent quality time with them. Parent that promoted positive self-esteem.
In the book Stick Up For Yourself the authors share, “Positive self-esteem is the single most important psychological skill we can develop in order to thrive in society.”
By spending quality time with our children we are letting them know that we are proud of them for who they are. By spending quality time we are helping promote and support their self-esteem and self-worth. We are helping them build an inner foundation that is based on love, respect and resilience.
Fred Rogers in an interview said that “children need to know they have a home.” I agree. They need to know that that home is also if a place where they can cry, laugh and create memorable moments. A place where quality time is spend.
Copyright Richard Paul 2013

Unconditional Love

The other day I had the opportunity to speak at a wonderful school in Goodrich, Michigan. I was setting up my equipment in the cafeteria and there was a teacher assigned to get the kids moving in and out quickly so that they could start the assembly on time.

She was praising the students with these words

“Jimmy you are cleaning up after yourself, Awesome!

“ Kelly, give me a high five, you weren’t talking while you were eating, thank you.”

“No Bobby I can’t give you seconds because you haven’t finished what you already have on your plate but I am so grateful that you asked me first.”

Notice this teacher was not using conditional statements words like: I love you when you…. I am happy when you… You are my friend when you…

All those kinds of statement put conditions on our students and children.

What the students are hearing is: if you don’t do what I say I no longer like you.

I will not love you anymore if you don’t get an “‘A “on the test.

Stan Davis in his book Schools Where Everyone Belongs writes “Focus our feedback about behavior toward actions and strategies rather than toward judgment about the student as a person or toward our own feelings about the student.”

Some students at home have to deal with conditional love every day. Studies have shown that this can cause stress, confusion, frustration, anger and lack of self-worth.

Mueller and Dweck (1998) in research spanning 30 years found that children react to conditional praise and criticism. They found that some “avoid difficult tasks for fear of failure and not being able to live up to their teacher/parents’ wishes. “

At school and at home when we take away the conditions our students and children begin to understand that they are loved and valued no matter what. This kind of unconditional love has been proven to improve self-esteem, self-worth and inspire a willingness to make the right decisions.

In Bully-Free Schools: Circle of Support Research Guide, Dee Lindenberger writes: “Maintain a positive feeling tone and strong staff connection. When Young people know they belong and are welcomed, they are more likely to try out positive behaviors.”

In the book Bully-Proofing Your School the authors say that “victims of a bully are likely to be anxious, insecure children who lack social skills and the ability to defend themselves.”  If  we add conditions to our praise we are also adding additional scars to an already emotionally torn child.

If you want to stop aggressive behavior or help the child who is afraid to socialize then take away the “conditions”of praise and begin to practice unconditional love.

Copyright Richard Paul 2013







Teasing Is Bullying Too, Richard Paul

Many think that a bully is some one who only threatens or physically hurt someone all the time, but the truth is teasing is bullying too. We’ve all heard the phrase “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Name-calling is a form of bullying that sometimes scares people for life. When one makes fun of another person for the way they look or degrades someone because they have a learning disability, they may think it’s funny but in reality they’re hurting the other person deep inside.

Recently a friend of mine attended her twenty year class reunion, a women came up to her and shouted: “You, you are the one who made fun of me all the time, I used to go to bed crying myself to sleep. “SHAME ON YOU!”

My friend couldn’t remember what she used to say to her but apparently her target remembered every word; it was etched in her brain. This is what teasing does, it’s not cute and it’s not a part of proper social behavior.

There was a survey conducted by Professor’s Roberta and Warren Heydenberk, Ed. D.
They asked hundreds of students, which is worse physical or verbal bullying. A clear majority surveyed preferred the physical bully to the verbal. “One 12 year-old girl explained that “when you get punched, the pain goes away in a few minutes, but when someone says mean things to you or about you, the pain lasts a long time. Sometimes it even gets worse the next day.”

So how do we put an end to the teasing? I think we’d be living in a dream world if we said we can end it, but I believe we can each work to reduce it by not only teaching positive communication skills but to also walk the talk in our own lives. Children learn by example and when we as parents/teachers loose our temper and call a child stupid or label them as “bad kids or brats” we are hurting them deep inside. Our goal should be to give our children a safe academic environment while at the same time building a character based foundation at home by which they can come to understand differences and embrace the social principles of respect and responsibility.

It is one thing to teach respect and responsibility and it is another to live it.
It is one thing to tell our children not to tease another and it’s another to make a mean comment about another person in earshot of are children. The point is we need to remind ourselves that words are so powerful that they can touch the heart or bruise the brain. If we want our kids to stop the teasing and name-calling we must first clean the mud off our thoughts before we ever open our mouths. At schools and at work we are told to evaluate our programs to see if what we are doing is working. I say daily we must evaluate our words to make sure that they are respectful and kind while at the same time reminding our children that life is about getting along with other people, it is about building friendships, stepping stones by which to learn and lead successful character based lives.

Copyright Richard Paul 2013

This was given to us to share by the Downriver Federal Credit Union Mark Tremper

Press Release
Contact: Mark Tremper, 313-460-0438
Credit Union Partners with Local Schools to Prevent Bullying
MARCH 4, 2013, LINCOLN PARK, MI– With bullying gaining the increased attention of individuals, schools, governments, and
employers across the nation, Downriver Community Federal Credit Union (DCFCU) has joined the fight against bullying
by providing the Duck Sense Bully Prevention Program to local Downriver schools.
The Duck Sense Bully Prevention Program was developed by Bully Prevention Expert, Richard Paul, and through a series
of speaking engagements for DCFCU, a partnership was formed to begin providing his curriculum at no cost to principals
and teachers who are seeking to prevent bullying in their schools. The program includes both a written curriculum that
can be used by the teachers in the classroom and a special all-school assembly featuring the puppets and ventriloquism
of Richard Paul.
“Any type of help we can get to get this problem under control is helpful. I will tell you that this program is wonderful,”
says Andrew Sueta, Principal of Foote Elementary, whose school had 372 students at their Bully Prevention Assembly to
kick off the new program. To date, there have been 5 Lincoln Park elementary schools where this program has been
implemented, all with positive reviews from the parents, teachers, principals, and students. The Credit Union is currently
making plans to make this program available to more schools with the help of other Downriver businesses.
“The credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ is rooted in the principle that everyone deserves respect,
regardless of income, education, appearance, or beliefs,” explains Mark Tremper, the coordinator of the bully
prevention program and Vice-President for the Credit Union, “Showing respect is foundational for a strong community
and participating in a program that encourages respect for others is right in line with how we do business as a not-forprofit
financial institution serving those who want an alternative to the ‘big banks’.”
Richard is a high energy school assembly speaker, education conference presenter, and ventriloquist. He shares his
passion for bully prevention education to audiences in both the United States and Canada. Born with a birth defect (his
right arm is missing three fingers and shorter than his left), he knows first-hand how it feels to be bullied. He shares
with his audiences various stories and strategies to help students who are targets of bullying. He reinforces why bullying
is wrong, and why it needs to be reported.
Richard Paul is a published author and member of International Bully Prevention Association, Association for Conflict
Resolution, National Self Esteem Association, Michigan PTA, Michigan Education Association, National Speakers
Association and Charter member and former President of the Central Macomb Optimist Club. His mission is to change
the world “one duck at a time” by motivating students to appreciate and respect each other. He promotes parental bully
prevention involvement and give students and teachers the tools needed to get involved, speak up and put an end to
this international crisis. Information about Richard and the Duck Sense Bully Prevention Program can be found at
Downriver Community Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution founded in 1942 and is owned and
controlled by over 19,000 members with four office locations, including Ecorse, Lincoln Park, Woodhaven, and
Wyandotte. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in 18 Downriver communities.
Businesses or other legal entities located in these communities can utilize the services of the credit union, as well. To
learn more about the Credit Union’s bully prevention initiative, contact Mark Tremper at 313-460-0438. More
information about the Credit Union can be found at
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