My name is Peter Digiulio and I teach in Revere,Massachusetts. I have developed teaching terms such as “I like me”,”Don’t be scared be prepared”, and TLC(Teach Learn Communicate). I use these terms daily to educate as well as motivate my students to make good decisions in their young lives and stay safe. Another program that I have developed is “Why say no!”. This is a substance awareness presentation that I have brought to 38 states at different camps, clinics, schools(which unfortunately includes elementary schools) throughout the United States.
In a few weeks I will begin my 40th year in public education. In those four decades I have been very fortunate to teach a subject that changes frequently. Job descriptions have changed like the wind for me over the years. In the 1970’s my title read heath teacher, in the 1980’s a drug teacher, and currently I am known as the prevention specialist.
My position has changed because society has dictated it to do so. Time passes so quickly and it impacts our lives in so many ways. Our kid’s educations have changed with the times. Technology is something that has affected their education in both a positive and negative way.
There have been so many different threats to society over the years. Some of them were fads that passed with limited scarring. Others such as substance abuse(drugs,alchohol,etc), discrimination, child abuse, prejudice, etc have had staying power. Most of them have been perpetuated by the media. We can’t become complacent and ignore these problems and hope that they will eventually go away.
Unfortunately, these threats are here to stay and in future blogs I will elaborate on strategies that we can learn to control these issues that we have in our personal lives. I say control because we can “never” eliminate such massive negative threats to society.
As serious as the aforementioned are, there is a new outlaw in town. A villain that is so vicious, vile, and insidious that it has shaken the foundation of life for our society. The monster that I speak of is bullying and it is impacting our youth for the worse.
It has infiltrated every level of society and knows no bounds.
Bullying existed when I was young growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, the big difference was that it was so much easier to deal with. In most cases bullies were bigger boys who picked on those that were smaller than themselves. The majority of instances where bullying occurred it was settled with a single physical confrontation. Today those situations would have been handled much differently.
Bullying has become a run a way train globally, but particularly in the United States. Today there are so many different ways to bully someone. A scary fact of life is because of modern technology bullies do not even have to be in the same hemisphere as their victims. Bullies are ruining lives, in fact they are ending them as suicide rates in this country due to bullies continue to rise.
Cyber bullying has slowly become an epidemic in this country. Technology has made it so easy for them to spread their venom on their victims. They can attack innocent people by simply typing a message and hitting the send button.
Unlike addiction, bullying is controllable and correctable. For this to happen it will take a monumental vigilance from people that interact with children, This list includes: Parents, teachers, coaches, administrators and anyone else that comes in contact with young people.
Schools need to continue to make strides to implement bullying strategies to combat the issue as well as institute protocol on how to deal with these issues on a daily basis so that this drama can be dealt with in time.
People need to understand that there are three people involved with the majority of bullying cases in the United States. There is the bully, the victim, and the most important is the bystander. There is at least one person that has witnessed a majority of these situations. Every public employee in Massachusetts is “mandated” to report details about any situation of bullying that they witness.
Students that are in my school district in Revere,MA are encouraged to communicate to an adult if they feel as though that they are being a bystander. It is common for a bystander to make a victim feel more comfortable reporting bullying incidents and accompanying them while doing so.
The only way that cities and towns can combat bullying is by implementing many different strategies. Here are some of the strategies that cities and towns should make to go against it.
IGNORING THE BULLY
This strategy is the most difficult as it will need to consist of much restraint by the victim. Most bullies are extremely lazy and if they don’t immediately get the reaction they are looking for will move on to their next victim.
STAND UP TO THE BULLY WITHOUT CONFRONTATION
This is another strategy that will take a lot of restraint from the victim, but can be very effective if planned well. Let the bully know in no uncertain terms that you don’t appreciate what is going on and would like them to stop.
AGREE WITH THE BULLY
This is a newer strategy designed to confuse the bully. Obviously they are used to the victim either ignoring, confronting, or giving into them so by being in agreement could lead to confusion on their end. You can’t be nervous when using this strategy. Confidence is a must when addressing the Bully. Being believable in your agreement is key. For example Bully… “those are the ugliest sneakers that I’ve ever seen !!!” Victim …. “They are ugly, but they’re the most comfortable sneakers that I have, and they make me run faster too !! Maybe you should get a pair for yourself !!.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE BULLY
This is another strategy that is not very common, but another that if used correctly could be a very effective one to use. The bully could be intrigued at the notion of having a friend. Deep down most bullies feel alone and have very few friends. By befriending them could cause them to stop their bullying and respect their victim and stop their harassment of them.
TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THE BULLYING
This strategy should be the most common and most effective by far. Communication of the issue to other people including adults, parents, and/or school administrators can lead to the issue resolving itself. This list could include police, but should be used as a last resort. As this strategy should be the most common it seems to be one of the toughest for victims to try to use for one reason or another.
Bullying is a serious and growing problem in our society. Unless we take a stand against it will continue to grow and cause much destruction and devastation in its path. I implore parents to know who their children are communicating with which includes Facebook, Twitter, and who they are texting with. As I stated before technology has brought on a new and very powerful cyber bully. Elementary and middle school children have not earned the “right to privacy”. It is a parent’s obligation to check into the what, who, and where’s when it comes to their children. As I stated before bullying is controllable but only with a unified effort from the victims, bystanders, and as many others as possible. In the next few months I will share with you another part to my prevention curriculum that I call “The Power of Know!”