Topic: BPW/KS & KAFCE Recent Lobby Day Program about Bullying

 KUDL Radio - 98.1 FM

 Telephone Interview Notes: Beverly Johnson with Darcy Blake

Aired Sunday, March 19, 2000 at 6:40 a.m.


Who were the sponsors for our Lobby Day 
program about Bullying?
Kansas Family and Community Education (FCE) and Business and Professional Women of Kansas (BPW)
How can bullying be addressed 
through lobbying?
You can't legislate against bullying, although a  number of domestic violence and child abuse issues could be addressed through legislation. 
What was the purpose of the program? To educate our members, with the hope that they would then collaborate in their communities to present programs about bullying and domestic violence. After our program, we visited our legislators to educate them about the issue and express our concern.

Without education, there won't be recognition of bullying. Without recognition, there can be no change. Schools can educate children, but if children still experience bullying from and among adults--in the home and community--the education children receive in school will be greatly minimized.

Who presented the information? Randy Wiler, Director of the Kansas Bullying Prevention Program and a DARE officer with the Leawood Police Department. He spoke to us about what the schools and law enforcement are doing.
  Dennis Vanderpool, Executive Director of Associated Youth Services in Kansas City, Kansas presented stories about young people who ultimately are in trouble in school and with the law.
  Elaine Johannes, with K-State Research and Extension, talked to us about the impact of bullying on the family and community. She has written several excellent programs about domestic violence including one on verbal abuse and one on bullying, which we hope will be presented to local communities as a result of our Lobby Day event.
  Kansas Keys for Networking in Topeka presented real life examples of bullying by four middle-school youth who have been bullies and victims. 
What is bullying?  Hurtful; occurs over a period of time; between persons of unequal power.
We've always had bullying. 
What's the big deal? 
 It's true that we've always had bullies, but today's bullying is becoming much more vicious, and with the added ingredient of guns, far more dangerous. Frequently, it is the tormented who resort to violence as a means of revenge or just ending their pain. The torment becomes so unbearable, that they no longer care about the consequences for themselves.
Is bullying behavior connected to violence?  If there is no intervention, bullying nearly always increases in frequency and intensity. Eventually, it nearly always ends with physical abuse.

25% of children who bully have at least one criminal conviction by the time they are 30, and a high percentage of prison inmates experienced abuse as children.

Is bullying connected to domestic abuse? Young bullies typically grow up to be adult bullies. Abuse is largely learned behavior, attitudes, and patterns of communications. 
Isn't bullying just an issue of children? No. Bullying is pervasive in all segments of society. Home, school, religious institutions, workplace, athletics, politics, and social organizations.
Can Kansas address bullying in schools?  Yes. Kansas is the only state which has developed a set of lesson plans for teachers to use in the classroom in teaching about bullying, violence and hate. A set of comprehensive lesson plans and information can be found at the Kansas Bullying Prevention Program web site:
Doesn't research show that bullying 
is primarily a "male" behavior? 
At one time this might have been true, but increasingly, girls are bullies. 
What are the most significant concerns 
facing youth with regard to bullying?
This was effectively addressed by 13-year olds in their drama. They don't fit in; nobody intervenes; adults don't listen to them; the impact of bullies isn't well enough recognized.
What are some examples of bullying? Taunting; name calling; ostracizing; recurring harassment; threats; intimidation
Who are the typical victims? People who are perceived to be weaker for any reason--adults and children. People who are different. The geeks, the nerds. People who look, speak, dress differently. Persons with disabilities. 
What can be done to help victims? Speak out on their behalf; teach them optional responses. Researchers are finding that bullying behavior is prevalent even at the pre-school level, and that is where we must start teaching children new behaviors and more effective ways to communicate needs and feelings. Teachers can use role playing to show children how different approaches work.
What can be done to help bullies? Try to learn what their needs are. Frequently they are bullied in another area of their life. They turn around and bully others trying to build up their damaged self-esteem.

Listen to them. Tell them that what they are doing is harmful and wrong. Let them know you care about them, too, but that they must stop their hurtful behavior. Teach them more appropriate options.

What can we teach children generally?  How painful and harmful bullying can be to the victim--and utlimately to the bully. That the affects of bullying can last a lifetime. And--into succeeding generations.

Bullying always hurts. 
It never hurts to be kind.

What can we do as adults? We can intervene--speak up. We can learn better communications skills as adults, so that we are good role models for our children--we will also be more effective adults.