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A Bully Free Summer

Many of us think that bullying only happens in school or during recess, when actually bullying happens anytime and anywhere.  It can happen at bible camp, sports camp, scouting events and even in your own backyard. This is why as parents, neighbors, volunteers and camp counselors we should keep an eye out and speak up when a child is demonstrating aggressive, bullying behavior.

All camp counselors and volunteers should be properly trained to not only recognize bullying behavior but also understand the rules and policies.  They need to all be committed to reminding the campers and their parents what is expected and the discipline that will be enforced if they demonstrate aggressive bullying behavior.   (Richard Paul offers extensive bully prevention training for camp counselors and volunteers.)

Just like at school  there should be a set of rules  at camp that your child understands and that he and his friends know will be enforced if they  start bullying behavior.

“We are not doing children any favors when we rationalize their behavior as “just part of growing up”; when we “give them a break” on honestly-earned consequences we deprive them of the opportunity to learn effective and respectful ways of achieving their goals and meeting their needs.”  Taken from Bully Free Schools Resource Guide

 What constitutes bullying?

1)      Constant one sided teasing

2)      One sided pushing and punching

3)      A child trying to isolate another child from the group

4)      Texting mean things and fibs about another child

5)      Degrading and racist remarks

This also is true for camp counselors and volunteers, who like to joke around with the campers. They need to understand what appropriate playful fun is and what is bullying.

It’s no secret kids love summer vacation and we as adults want them to experience the same childhood memories we all hold dear to our hearts.  So this summer if you see a child being bullied speak up, enforce the camp or household rules.  Let the children know we’ve  got their back.

Copyright Richard Paul 2013

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

This past week I have been watching the Thomas Jefferson documentary on PBS.  When they talked about the Declaration of Independence and how Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the three men elected to be the committee to write the document, Ben Franklin didn’t want to write it because he didn’t like people editing his work.  John Adams said “too many people don’t like me.”  This left Jefferson to write the entire document.

In the Declaration of Independence it talks about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It made me think of schools that have aggressive students bullying other students, in essence taking away the way they want to live their life at school, the freedom to feel safe, and their fears that take away any chance of happiness while at school.

I think that like our nation’s forefathers administrators, teachers, parents and students need to come together to draw up their own Declaration of Independence from aggressive, bullying behavior. Including a set of strategies, policy reinforcement and procedures that remind all students that aggressive bully behavior is no longer tolerated.  Letting it be known that a team of students, parents and staff are committed to making sure every student will have Life, Liberty and Happiness.

“Efforts to create a safe and supportive school for all students will be optimized when the school functions as an aligned system where all members, programmatic components and policy and procedures are coordinated, guided by the same underlying principles, and working toward the same goals.”   Bully Free Schools: Circle of Support Resource Guide for Trainers

Have selected students read this document weekly on the announcements, at assemblies, in the lunch room and parent night events.

Like Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson you are the chosen one to speak up for those who are afraid to say STOP IT.  But instead of making excuses like Franklin and Adams, be committed to work as a team to draw up a school declaration that students, staff and parents will be proud of they will abide by.


Copyright Richard Paul 2013