Bullying as the exception instead of the rule?????


It’s October, “Bully Awareness Month.”

But bullying awareness is pretty popular – in presentations, professional development, conferences, and school assemblies.  AND it’s important.  AND we seem to, after decades, only be scratching the surface.  AND the “right” people don’t seem to be at the table.  Probably a correlation between not getting far and who’s at the table, eh?

There ARE research based, effective skills and strategies that help decrease the likelihood, the incidence, and the impact of bullying for individuals and systems.  They are doable in real ways that don’t have to be “one more thing” for educators; that can be integrated into management seamlessly.  That information and the ability to implement those tools requires more than an assembly, more than understanding the definition, the statistics, and the stories.  I have programs and opportunities that create success with those very tools systemically – within classrooms, schools, districts, communities, and corporations.  AND it requires a commitment and a potential paradigm shift.

The challenge?  Getting that information into the hands of the people who need it most.

That means making available professional development for educators, parents, corporations, and community based businesses at a more-than-reasonable cost.  The people who take advantage are “the choir;” those people who are already doing everything they can, who have embraced the idea that there is something more that can happen, those that have stepped to the plate to do the best they can for those engaged in the bullying process everyday.  They are the progressive, enlightened educators, parents, business people, and community members who want to improve their practice and their understanding to offer the best possible outcome for all involved.  But there are many missing.

While I commend those who show up to DO the work, the majority do not.  I have rarely had head of school, a CEO, or a person in other decision-making positions in even the basic 101 training.  I have NEVER had a state or federal level leader there.  And I have NEVER had a legislator – local, state, or federal – show up.  Often those who complain the loudest about the issue are scarce in the room.  It is my experience that the people who make the laws seem to know the least about the issues.

It feels as if the people who really need it most aren’t there.

Perhaps it is in the coined delivery.  Perhaps it really is the excuses most common – the time, the location, the heat, the food…..  People don’t have the time for things that aren’t a priority.  Maybe it’s me; I’m not for everyone.   Maybe it’s my marketing.

Or maybe it’s something deeper.  Perhaps it is their own expectation that there really isn’t anything we can do.  Perhaps they believe it isn’t their work.  I’d love more data….  I just haven’t been able to find it.

Maybe it’s about the expectation of what happens in schools and boardrooms, on playgrounds and in office cubbies.  After all, bullying has been around a long time.  Perhaps it is about a reflection back onto individuals (and schools, and corporations) who lead or are led by bullying.  They believe it is how the world works and have no expectation of the exception.

What do you think?  I’m eager for any resources you might know of that can help get the people who need it most to the table to begin the discussion.  Maybe you have a different experience.  Maybe it’s me.

It’s certainly not Sampson.  😉

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Leah R. Kyaio, M.Ed.