Survey Systems Blog

Bullying—Everybody loses!

Posted by Jackie Jones on Oct 25, 2013 2:37:00 PM

Bullying QuestionnaireBullying—we all talk about it, what it is, why we need to assess it, how to stop it, how to prevent it, etc. We all know why we need to stop it—our kids deserve to feel safe—in school, in our community, etc. “Bullying impacts the school and the community.” I have made that statement before, as I am sure many others have. But, seldom have I taken the time to think that statement through. Granted, bullying impacts the child, (the victim), other children (the by-standers) and of course, the bully and his/her followers; but the school or the community?

Impact on Schools

Bullying impacts schools in a number of ways— discipline problems, increased suspensions, truancy, all resulting in increased costs and missed goals. The school climate survey is a very important tool to start determining how these aspects truly impact each individual school, and its students. 

  • The bully is capable of disrupting the entire classroom, wasting the time of the entire class as well, until the teacher gets things under control again. If this goes on, educational goals for that class may be missed. In addition to the time lost reining the class back under control, it is difficult to learn/concentrate “when you are scared.”

  • The bully/victim may continue outside of the classroom, requiring disciplinary action, which adds to the staff time required.  Often the victim, as well as the bully, is disciplined, leaving the victim feeling unfairly treated as well as unsafe in school. 

  • If suspensions, whether in school or out of school, are a part of the disciplinary actions, students are now missing classes-educational opportunities- and falling behind the rest of the class. The results are negative all the way around—the student faltering or failing and the school missing academic ratings because of students’ not meeting minimum requirements.

  • Truancy increases for a number of reasons—victims feel unsafe, so simply don’t show up; suspensions have caused student (bully or victim) to be behind, so they skip, and students who are not the bully or the victim feel unsafe or uncomfortable and skip as well. For some students, the poor attendance leads to poor academic performance, which eventually leads to dropping out of school completely.

  • School district costs are increased on several levels: it is more expensive to educate truant students; disciplinary costs are increased; but most of all, funding (which is based on attendance) is lost. In the United States, the average attendance per day is less than 80%! One in five students is missing school on any given day! Since funding is based on attendance, this correlates to a lot of funding lost in absenteeism! Statistics vary, indicating anywhere from 8% of all middle school absences to 58% of the higher grade absences are the result of bullying. (Younger students are less likely to be truant because they have less opportunity to “skip;” they have more supervision, and are normally dropped off and picked up at school.)  Therefore, no matter what the actual statistic is, stopping bullying and thereby eliminating the portion of truancy that is a direct result of bullying would have a positive impact on school finances. 

Impact on Community

The impact on the community can be similar, also negative.

  • Bullying causes truancy to increase. Truants may be additional customers to businesses, or they may be shoplifters. Keeping kids in school, keeps them off the street—reducing the opportunity for juvenile crime, therefore reducing juvenile crime. Juvenile crime adds to law enforcement costs, court costs, and business loss. Two thirds of the boys that bullied in school had three or more criminal convictions by age 24. 

  • In addition to the increased tendency of the bully and victims being truant, the "by-standers of bullying" are also more inclined to skip school. It has been said that 95% of school success is just showing up; and it is a fact, that if a student is not in school, he/she is not learning. A community needs an educated work force for its businesses.  In addition, businesses tend to be more successful if they have a well-educated customer base.

  • As stated above, truancy leads to dropping out; studies have proven that high school dropouts have lower earning potential, higher unemployment, poorer health and are more likely to be incarcerated. All of which also have a negative economic impact on the community.

Start in School

School is the primary place to start to measure and correct the bullying problem. This is not to say that bullying is only the school’s problem—it is a parental problem, it is an educational problem, it is a community problem, it is a workforce problem. But, we need to start somewhere. A school climate survey (or bully survey) is a good place to start.  Meaningful, proactive school reform/changes need to be defined from the results of the school climate survey (or an bully survey). Attention needs to be directed to the results of the survey—address the specifics issues of your school and community.  

Each and every one of us can no longer say “bullying does not affect me,” or “my children are not involved in or impacted by bullying”—everyone is affected in one way or another.

Bullying Prevention Survey

 

 

New Call-to-Action

 

 

 

Topics: bullying questionnaire, School climate surveys, bullying surveys

NATIONAL BULLY PREVENTION MONTH IS COMING!!

Posted by Jackie Jones on Sep 30, 2013 4:12:00 PM


October is National Bully Prevention Month.
 What started as a week long “Pacer Kids Against Bullying” in 2006 was expanded to a month, National Bully Prevention Month, in 2010. (Pacer is the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights.) In 2007, Stomp Out Bullying was created by the organization Love Our Children USA. Both Pacer Kids Against Bullying and Stomp Out Bullying are non-profit organizations created with the goal of preventing bullying--helping kids and teens deal with and stop bullying. Orange is the color for Pacer’s bully prevention program; blue is the color for Stomp Out Bullying’s bully prevention program (just as red is the color for heart disease or pink is the color for breast cancer). October 7, 2013 is World Day of Bully Prevention--Stomp Out Bullying’s day to show your support for ending bullying by wearing blue and October 9, 2013 is Unity Day—Pacer’s day to show your support for ending bullying by wearing orange, (just as February 1 was the day to wear red or October 25 will be the day to wear pink). 

Of course, one month is not enough to put a stop to bullying, let alone one day, but if schools, organizations and even communities don’t have a bullying prevention program in place, it is a good day to start one! World Day of Bully Prevention or Unity Day can be the day(s) that everyone becomes aware of what bullying behavior really is. Children associate being mean with being a bully, but may not be aware that excluding someone, or starting rumors, or nasty texts are also forms of bullying. World Day/Unity Day would be a good day to start the education process, or continue it.

START A PROGRAM

The next step in starting a bully prevention program is to assess the bullying activity in your school, organization or community. You need to know if you are tackling a gnat sized problem or an elephant sized problem. The true size of the problem is often underestimated because most bullying goes unreported. In addition to learning the size of the problem, you will need to determine the trends and type of bullying that exits. This will allow you to develop an appropriate resolution plan.

THE ASSESSMENT

The assessment should be confidential (so that the bullying will be reported), completed in a reasonable amount of time, and have easily measurable results. The best way to achieve this is with a survey. It is important that the survey is age appropriate, and addresses the areas you want to measure (for example, frequency and type of bullying, location of bullying, perception of safety, if help was requested was help given, attitudes of adults and peer groups). Scannable survey forms or scannable survey answer sheets are an effective tool for the assessment process, whether your assessment is for school climate, community environment or organizational/workplace attitudes. Scannable survey forms allow for confidentiality, can be designed to be completed quickly, and offer a variety of data reporting methods.

                                    New Call-to-Action

SURVEY ADMINISTRATION


A school climate survey should be administered at least once a school year, preferably twice. If no program exists, a school climate survey or bullying survey can be administered early in the year—on or right after Unity Day as an assessment. It should also be administered at the end of the school year to track progress and enable program planning for the next school year. Community bullying assessment surveys can be handed out at community functions, distributed by a direct mailing, included in community magazines or stuffed in community newspapers. These could be annual or even every two years since more time will be required to allow citizens to complete the survey and return it. Workplace or organizational assessments are more easily scheduled, similar to the school assessments.

A large variety of reports are available for scannable survey forms. The information/findings should be analyzed to determine what you just found out—what does it mean?  Distribute the findings to those who will be involved in creating/implementing the bully prevention plan or program. This group should include any number of representative “stakeholders”—students, teachers, administrators; or law enforcement, neighborhood associations, mental health specialists, faith based organizations, local businesses; or representatives from every division within a company or organization.

The group then needs to:


• Create and publish an Anti-Bullying policy, if one does not exist.


• Analyze the findings, and determine how to deal with the findings.

• Report back to the larger group--those who participated in the
assessment.
 
• Prepare and implement a plan for prevention as well as intervention.

 
• Educate everyone involved on the policy, the plan, and their
respective roles.

• Repeat the assessment process to verify results, track progress
and/or determine what changes are required in the plan.

Every one of us needs to be involved in building an environment where our children feel safe; a culture of tolerance, where every one belongs, and is respected as an individual, and encouraged to succeed. Recent studies echo the fact that childhood bullying is not simply a rite of passage; it has definite, long term affects on the  victims as well as the bullies. In addition to the fact that childhood bullies tend to be adult bullies, studies have shown that bullying (victims as well as bullies) have long term negative consequences on health, job prospects and relationships. Bullying in the workplace not only impacts employee productivity, creativity and quality, but often results in loss of valued employees due to the added stress and environmental dissatisfaction. Bullying in the community can have similar socio-economical impacts as it does in the workplace and in the schools, but on a larger, and at times, more dangerous scale.  

This October is a good time to reflect on what our individual responsibilities are.

 


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Topics: scannable surveys, School climate surveys, bullying surveys, anti-bullying survey

Forget the Game, Bully the Cheerleaders!

Posted by Jackie Jones on May 31, 2013 12:51:00 PM

A recent CBS Houston blog post about an Oklahoma Thunder cheerleader calls attention to the increasing practice of using the various interactive technologies for bullying people. We often think of bullying as something that only happens to “kids”, in school, on the bus, on the play ground etc.—certainly not something that adults would engage in! But, under the guise of the anonymity of the digital world, people are being more and more "brave" in what they will say, and about whom. Or, not even anonymously, but since no human contact, whether face to face, or voice to ear is required, comments are “bravely” (or stupidly), made in social media form that would never be made in person. Sometimes, they are admittedly made innocently-rather thoughtlessly; not meaning to hurt anyone, sometimes just stupidly; but many times intentionally, deliberately, and solely for the enjoyment of humiliating or intimidating someone else. Inadvertent or not, when others are encouraged to join in, bullying is bullying and harassment is harassment.

Cyber-bullying/Cyber-harassing or Cyber-stalking

This is a growing trend: Cyber-bullying—when the Internet or cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt, humiliate or embarrass another person.  Cyber-bullying is intended to intimidate, control, manipulate, put-down, falsely discredit or humiliate a victim. It is deliberate, repeated, or hostile and encourages exclusion. When cyber-bullying happens between adults (people over 18) it is called cyber-harassing or cyber-stalking. Cyber-harassing can threaten a victim’s employment, reputation or even safety; and often encourages harassment by others. 

The blog was a classic example of encouraging harassment by others—asking for votes on one of three choices of varying degrees of insult. There was a somewhat similar act of cyber-harassing cheerleaders this year, when an insulting comment about a Green Bay Packer’s cheerleaders (with a picture) was posted on the Chicago Bear’s Facebook fan page—encouraging fans to “like” if they agreed. The insult turned ugly, and the responses appeared to be aimed back at the only cheerleader pictured. Some comments were horrible! (One has to wonder if the person responding is really that horrible, or if he/she would have said or thought anything if not enticed by the original cyber-stalker. As with any other type of bullying or harassment, there are a number of people who will just follow along with the "cyber-leader"!)  It is so easy to use the digital tools we have to post inappropriate content, especially if someone thinks he/she is anonymous, untraceable or untouchable, or a member of a much larger “crowd”.

Positive "Bystanders" 

As unfortunate as these two examples are, in both cases, there were positive bystanders—people who didn’t buy into the negativity of the cyber-harasser. In the most recent case (the Thunder’s cheerleader), 58% of the comments received were positive toward her appearance, stating how beautiful they thought she is. A number of Chicago Bears fans also spoke out for the Packer’s cheerleader(s). It is good to see that there are people who are active bystanders rather than passive bystanders—who will stand up to a bully, rather than ignoring what’s going on. This is the example that we want to set for our children--stand up to the bully, stand up for the victim.

Kudos to the Cheerleaders

Real kudos go out to the cheerleaders as well, for the way they handled the situations! The Packers cheerleader responded with an anti-bullying YouTube video (search Kaitlyn Collins).  Four days after it was posted, the picture was taken down and replaced with a message that the Bears organization was against bullying. Several days later another posting indicated that comments were still coming in, and that comments would not be accepted, and Bears Fan bullies would blocked from the site. They have a Zero tolerance policy. 

The Thunder cheerleader who was the target of a blog insult responded very admirably in a tweet: “We wouldn’t know what blessings were if we didn’t go through trials. Thank you to everyone for the compassion and love today. I’m in awe.” Here again, through the wonders of the digital world, the blog has been edited, removing the most hurtful references.

bullying questionnaire, anti-bullying survey

Examples for Our Children

Since in both of the cases mentioned above, corrective actions were taken, one can assume that this may have been inadvertent cyber-harassment---unintentional bullying by over zealous but disappointed fans. It was, none the less, harassment (adult bullying), and should not have happened. Children learn to bully from adults, and the Internet is one of their playgrounds! As adults, we need to be more diligent in policing ourselves. I remember being taught to never say or write anything that I wouldn’t want my mother to hear/read---we also need to remember our children--they are an even more attentive audience. They are out on the Internet everyday, taking queues from misbehaving adults! It can be devastating to a person to be mocked in front of his/her peers—on the Internet it is being done in front of thousands--we need to stop it! When they see adults acting this way, it is no wonder that the "yes" response to "have you been bullied over the Internet?" on bullying questionnaires is so high. The sad part is that the number of "yes" responses to "have you ever bullied someone on the cell phone, or over the Internet" on the anti-bullying surveys is also high. Kids pay attention, and learn from adults, whether or not we think they are watching--they are!  

bullying questionnaire, anti-bullying survey, cyber-bullying

Remember the motto: STOP and THINK before you CLICK! It is up to all of us to set the examples for our children.

Topics: bullying questionnaire, bullying surveys, anti-bullying survey