More and more, it seems, we hear that bullying on some level is responsible for violence in schools, at home, on the street. A conference held downstate this week was a step in the right direction to develop strategies to fight bullying.
The Michigan Bullying Prevention Summit was held in Lansing Tuesday. Hosted by the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, it included, among other things, comments from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and an appearance by Keenan Westm, a performer who has recorded an anti-bullying music video that has been shown in hundreds of classrooms in Michigan and beyond.
According to the Associated Press, people who attended the summit learned bullying-prevention strategies and how to implement Michigan's 1-year-old anti-bullying law. An update on legal issues involving bullying was also included.
By definition, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Cyber bullying takes place using technology, most typically computers and the Internet but also cell phones with text and instant messaging.
Everyone agrees that bullying has devastating effects on kids and other groups. As with most difficult problems, there isn't one way to stop it.
Conferences like the one held in Lansing are, however, good learning tools for educators and others involved in the process to combat it.