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Chapter 19 of the book Thomas Gommal Learns about Bullying
End of the book.
"Epilogue and Parent Section"
by Shirley McLain
This story is about a 12-year-old boy who is being bullied at school and what he and his family accomplish by working together.
Six Months Later
Emily yelled upstairs for the third time as usual, "Thomas, get out of the bed! You have to go to school. Hurry, or you won't eat."
"I'll be right there, Mom. Andy's supposed to be here so we can walk together."
Andy stood at the door as Thomas told his mother. The doorbell sounded, and Emily yelled, "Come in Andy, the door is open."
"Hi Mrs. Gomel, Thomas ready?"
"Andy, you know what he's like in the mornings. Cold molasses moves faster than he does."
Thomas bounded down the stairs. "You ready to go, Andy?" Thomas asked.
"Wait a minute you haven't had breakfast yet, young man," Emily said. "Besides, I wanted to ask how the Bully Program at school is working?"
"I'll grab a Power Bar on the way out, and as far as the program goes, it works great. Paul and his guys are different kids at school. Paul tries hard to make new friends, so he's now nice and polite to everyone. Mom, we've got to go, see you after school. Bye."
Thomas grabbed two Power Bars. He gave one to Andy and out the door, they went. They made it to the door of the school, and Thomas heard Paul's voice call out. "Thomas, can we talk a minute."
Andy shook his head, but Thomas turned around and said, "Sure, we can talk." Andy left them alone so they could talk. They sat at an outside table across from each other. Paul looked Thomas in the eyes and spoke, "Thomas, I'm sorry for what I've done to you and the others. It was bad, but I've tried hard to be different. My mom and I had a good talk. Things are still hard for me sometimes, but I'll make it.
"I know you will Paul, and your hard work shows."
"Can we be friends, Thomas, after how I tormented you?'
Thomas sat there for a moment and thought what his dad would do. He put a smile on his face, "Yes, we can be friends." Both boys reached across the table and shook hands.
Actual Bullying Experiences
As the author of this book, I thought I would share one memory of how I was bullied. I feel fortunate now I never had to deal with physical bullying, but psychological was almost daily. I attended a small county school. There were 21 who graduated in my class which will let you visualize the school size. It was Kindergarten through 12th grade, and I had attended since the sixth grade.
I was a California girl who moved into a classroom with kids who’d been together since first grade. The class consisted of more girls than boys, but the basketball and baseball players were the popular ones. I was the outsider girl. The one who talked funny and didn’t fit in with the other girls.
The custom of the school was each class elected a King and Queen to try and win the school Homecoming King and Queen. I was not an ugly teen, but I wasn’t slim, trim, and beautiful.
I was nominated every year for Class Queen, which meant I had to stand and walk outside the classroom while the kids laughed or giggled. The teachers never said a word. One of the more popular girls would also be nominated simultaneously. I always knew I’d never win, and I was humiliated to be singled out. This continued until my senior year. When I was nominated that year, I stood beside my desk and told the teacher “I respectfully decline the nomination,” then sat back down in my seat. It felt so good not putting myself through the humiliation I had gone through for five years. When I refused to participate in being bullied and the teasing stopped. Then I thought, I wish I could have done that five years ago. Shirley McLain
Yes, my daughters were bullied in school.
The kids picked on them via the cell phone, verbal abuse. We had to have the police, doctors, and counselors intervene since the school did not intervene.
We even had restraining orders on the bullies. My daughter finally got the cheerleaders and herself to create stop bullying posters at the football and volleyball games. She was a varsity cheerleader, and her coach picked on her, too. She is now taking courses at college for an education degree.
My other daughter stopped youth from suicides at the high school. She told
them they were cool. I've helped several women who hid in their bedrooms with suicidal thoughts. We had fun times together.
Three classmates assaulted my daughter, Annie, at a cornfield party. Two guys pulled the three guys off of Annie. She was a designated driver. The three girls were high and drunk and jealous. They each spent a week in jail for the assault.
The doctors, police, and counselors helped us. Being bullied became overwhelming in our community. People need to stop and start awareness. I would like to be a voice in this.
Nancy Ann Gee
Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 12 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying.
What is bullying?
Bullying is ongoing aggression based on a power imbalance. It’s when someone repeatedly acts to harm another person, or is otherwise hostile toward them, using the power the bully has over the victim.
A power imbalance in bullying can mean different things: maybe the bully is physically bigger and stronger than the victim, or perhaps they’re just more popular.
Types of bullying
Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social
- Physical: Hurting or trying to hurt a person’s body or possessions. Hitting, kicking, breaking things, and pushing are all physical forms of bullying.
- Verbal: Saying things to hurt a person’s feelings. This can include teasing, threats, and name-calling.
Social: Hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. If someone purposely leaves you out, spreads rumors about you, or tells other people not to be friends with you, you're socially bullied. Cyber: Using the computer or cell phone to harass, use social programs to spread lies, post pictures,
Bullying hurts the bully, the victim, and the bystanders (people who witness it).
People who are bullied may experience anxiety and depression, which can continue into adulthood. Their eating and sleeping habits can be affected, leading to a variety of physical health issues. They’re more likely to miss school, which can damage their academic performance.
Bystanders are people who see or hear bullying happen. A bystander can be helpful (by getting help from a trusted adult, or, if possible, to do safely, intervening by defending the victim or asking the bully to stop) or harmful (by cheering the bully on, joining in, or accepting the situation by doing nothing.)
Often continue to engage in risky or violent behavior, including alcohol/drug abuse, fights, criminal activity and abusing spouses and romantic partners as adults.
What Data Says
The top five distinct words we see in bullying conversations are: cyber, middle, abused, verbally, and rumor.
- Texters ages 13 and younger experience bullying at 3 times the rate of other texters.
- Texters dealing with bullying are 3 times as likely to be struggling with their gender or sexual identity, and twice a likely to also be struggling with body image.
Losing possessions, Worsening academic performance
- Injuries they can’t explain
- Changes in eating and sleeping’ Faking Illness or claiming to feel sick.
- Headaches and stomachaches
- Avoiding social situations, including people who were once their friends
- Decreased self-esteem
- Self-harm or other dangerous behaviors
People bullying others may show these signs:
Reference: Crisis Text Line Https://Stores.Kotisdesign.Com/Crisistextlinemerch
- Having fights
- Getting into more trouble at school
- increased aggressiveness
- Friends who bully
- Showing concern about their reputation and popularity
What follows is a Toolkit for use by schools, families or any group that would like to help eradicate bullying. It was taken directly from stopbullying.gov
Youth Engagement Toolkit
Bullying is a severe problem in many communities. Maybe you have been the victim of bullying, or you know someone that is bullied. Possibly, you know of bullying problems in your school or neighborhood and want to do something about it. The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention comprised of staff members from a variety of federal agencies, such as the
Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services and Agriculture, who work to prevent bullying and help find solutions where bullying exists. We are inviting you to make a difference in your community!
By following the steps in this toolkit, you can join other youth leaders across the country and the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention to organize a bullying prevention social and educational event. We define bullying prevention “event” as a safe gathering where youth can freely discuss this important topic and create plans to act in local communities.
We envision that youth leaders will partner with a staff person from your youth leadership program to help organize and lead this bullying prevention initiative. Here’s what you can do:
Before you start, get in the know about bullying:
Bullying can take many forms. There are three types of bullying:
• Verbal bullying is saying or writing means things. Verbal bullying includes:
o Inappropriate sexual comments
o Threatening to cause harm
• Social bullying sometimes called relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s
Reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
o Leaving someone out on purpose
o Telling other children not to be friends with someone
o Spreading rumors about someone
o Embarrassing someone in public
• Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying
o Taking or breaking someone’s things
o Making mean or rude hand gestures
Step 1: Watch Video
Now that you know more about the different bullying, types it’s time to gather up a group of friends or the whole community to learn more about bullying and how to prevent it.
The size of the group does not matter, every person can make a difference.
We have included a link to the Cartoon Network “Speak Up” bullying prevention documentary, and guidance questions to help you host a meaningful discussion
About the video, bullying and how to stop it. The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention hopes this video acts as the starting point for engagement among our youth and helps to bring about a necessary change of decreasing bullying.
ï?¨ “Speak Up” bullying prevention documentary:
(Copy and Paste into the address bar.)
Step 2: Discuss It
After watching the video, start a dialogue with a group. Talk about the video and your personal experiences.
Here are questions you and others can talk about to guide your discussion:
1. Have you or anyone you know ever encountered bullying? What kind was it? Can you
relate to anyone in the video? Did you experience something similar to someone in the video?
2. Where do you feel like most bullying happens?
a. If it happens in school, do you feel like it changes the environment at school?
Why or why not?
b. If it happens outside of school, where does it happen the most, and does that
make it easier or harder to deal with than in a school setting? Why?
3. Why do you think people pick on each other for what they look like?
4. What do you think most people do when they see bullying? Why?
5. When bystanders get involved in situations of bullying, what do you feel works or doesn’t work?
6. Have you ever heard someone stand up for someone being bullied? Describe them –who were they, what did they do, and what made them want to defend the person being bullied?
7. How do friends deal with other friends being bullied? Does being a friend change the
way people see bullying… why/why not?
8. What does cyber-bullying look like? Is it different from “traditional” bullying, and if so, how?
9. Think about kids who are bullies in your school or community. Why do you think that they bully, and how does it make them appear to their peers and friends?
10. What are the roles of teachers and counselors in addressing bullying? Do you feel that in your school teachers and counselors provide positive interventions when bullying occurs?
11. What could change in our schools or communities that will make it
easier to speak up about bullying?
12. What kind of action-oriented project can we initiate in our community?
Bullying statistics for the United States
More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
The federal government began collecting data on school bullying in 2005 when the prevalence of bullying was around 28 percent (U.S. Department of Education, 2015).
Rates of bullying vary across studies (from 9% to 98%). A meta-analysis of 80 studies analyzing bullying involvement rates (for both bullying others and being bullied) for 12-18-year-old students reported a mean prevalence rate of 35% for traditional bullying involvement and 15% for cyberbullying involvement (Modecki, Minchin, Harbaugh, Guerra, & Runions, 2014).
33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
A slightly higher portion of female than of male students’ report being bullied at school (23% vs. 19%). A higher percentage of male than of female students’ report being physically bullied (6% vs. 4%) and threatened with harm (5% vs. 3%; (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Bullied students reported that bullying occurred in these places: the hallway or stairwell at school (42%), inside the classroom (34%), in the cafeteria (22%), outside on school grounds (19%), on the school bus (10%), and in the bathroom or locker room (9%) (National Center for Educational
43% of bullied students report notifying an adult at school about the incident. Students who report higher rates of bullying victimization are more likely to report the bullying (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied (Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001).
School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25% (McCallion & Feder, 2013).
The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability,
religion, sexual orientation (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Effects of Bullying
Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
Bullied students indicate that bullying hurts how they feel about themselves (19%), their relationships with friends and family and on their school work (14%), and physical health (9%) (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013).
Youth who self-blame and conclude they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, prolonged victimization, and maladjustment (Perren, Ettakal, & Ladd, 2013; Shelley & Craig, 2010).
Among high school students, 15.5% are cyberbullied, and 20.2% are bullied on school property (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes have nearly doubled (18% to 34%) from 2007-2016 (Patchin &
Hinduja, 2016). 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline (“Seven Fears and the Science of How Mobile Technologies May Be Influencing Adolescents in the Digital Age,” George and Odgers, 2015). 23% of students who reported being cyberbullied notified an adult at school about the incident (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Only 40–50% of cyberbullying targets know the identity of the perpetrator (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016).
Those who are cyberbullied are also likely to be bullied offline (Hamm, Newton, & Chisholm, 2015).
Statistics about the bullying of students with disabilities
When assessing specific types of disabilities, prevalence rates differ: 35.3% of students with behavioral and emotional disorders, 33.9% of students with autism, 24.3% of students with intellectual disabilities, 20.8% of students with health impairments, and 19% of students with specific learning disabilities face high levels of bullying victimization (Rose et al., 2012).
Students with specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavior disorders, other health impairments, and speech or language impairments report greater rates of victimization than their peers without disabilities longitudinally, and their victimization remains consistent over time (Rose & Gage, 2017).
Researchers discovered that students with disabilities were more worried about school safety and being injured or harassed by other peers compared to students without a disability (Saylor & Leach, 2009). When reporting bullying youth in special education were told not to tattle almost twice as often as youth, not in special education (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Successful strategies to prevent bullying among students with disabilities include (Rose & Monda-Amaya, 2012):
Teachers and peers engaging in meaningful and appropriate social interactions. Creating opportunities to increase social competence and positive interactions.
Schools adopting appropriate intervention strategies that encourage
social awareness and provide individualized interventions for targets with disabilities.
Statistics about bullying of students of color
25% of African-American students, 22% of Caucasian students, 17% of Hispanic students, and 9% of Asian students report being bullied at school (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
More than one-third of adolescents reporting bullying report bias-based school bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012).
Bias-based bullying is more strongly associated with compromised health than general bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012).
Race-related bullying is significantly associated with negative emotional and physical health effects (Rosenthal et al., 2013).
Statistics about the bullying of students who identify or are perceived as LGBTQ
74.1% of LGBT students were verbally bullied (e.g., called names, threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55.2% because of their gender expression (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
36.2% of LGBT students were physically bullied (e.g., pushed, shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 22.7% because of their gender expression (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
49% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying in the past year (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
Peer victimization of all youth was less likely to occur in schools with bullying policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ students (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2012).
55.5% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
30.3% of LGBT students missed at least one entire day at school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and 10.6% missed four or more days in the past month (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
For bullied LGBTQ students (Duong & Bradshaw, 2014) and bullied students in general (Morin et al., 2015), if they identify one supportive adult in the
school they trust, they are less likely to face adverse consequences.
There are fewer rates of LGBTQ bullying in schools with clear bullying policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ students (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2012).
Students were less likely to report having experienced homophobic bullying and report more school connectedness in schools with more supportive practices, including (Day & Snapp, 2016):
Adequate counseling and support services for students.
Think about sanctions for student violations of rules and policies on a case-by-case basis with a wide range of options.
Providing effective confidential support and referral services for students needing help because of substance abuse, violence, or other problems.
Helping students with their social, emotional, and behavioral problems, and provide behavior management instruction.
Fostering youth development, resilience, or asset promotion.
Bullying and Suicide
There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression, violent behavior, and substance abuse (Reed, Nugent, & Cooper, 2015).
Students who bully others are bullied, or witness bullying is more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than students who report no involvement in bullying (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
A meta-analysis found that students facing peer victimization are 2.2 times more likely to have suicide ideation and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing victimization (Gini & Espelage, 2014).
Students who are both bullied and engage in bullying behavior are the highest risk group for adverse outcomes (Espelage & Holt, 2013).
The false notion that suicide is a natural response to being bullied has the dangerous potential to normalize the response and thus create copycat behavior among youth. (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
Bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bullying youth (fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, etc.) were rated as more likely to make things worse (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterward to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
As reported by students who have been bullied, the self-actions that had some of the most negative impacts (telling the person to stop/how I feel, walking away, pretending it doesn’t bother me) are often used by youth and often recommended to youth (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Students need not be the targets of bullying to experience negative outcomes. Observing bullying is associated with adverse mental health outcomes (Rivers, Poteat, Noret, & Ashurst, 2009).
Bystanders’ beliefs in their social self-efficacy were positively associated with defending behavior and negatively associated with passive behavior from bystanders – i.e., if students believe they can make a difference, they’re more likely to act (Thornberg et al., 2012).
Students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions helpful than an educator or self-actions (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
The Youth Voice Research Project (2010) found that victimized students reported the following bystander strategies that made things better: spent time with me (54%), talked to me (51%), helped me get away (49%), called me (47%), gave me advice (46%), helped me tell (44%), distracted me (43%), listened to me (41%), told an adult (35%), confronted them (29%), asked them to stop.
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http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/trends/2015_us_violence_trend_yrbs.pdf Updated: December 27, 2017
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PACER Center, Inc.
8161 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55437
Los Angeles Office:
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center
80 E. Hillcrest Drive, #203
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
952.838.9000 or 800.537.2237
National Bullying Prevention Center
PACER_NBPC on Pinterest
Paula Goldberg, Executive Director, PACER Center
Judy French, PACER's NBPC, LA Office
Bailey Huston, Associate, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (952.838.9000)
About the Author
Shirley McLain is a Christian with the love of God being first and foremost in her life. She makes her home in Sapulpa Oklahoma with her husband and their fur family of five dogs and a cat. She also has two grown children, six grandchildren, and three and a quarter great-grandchildren. She has/is living a full life.
She retired after working thirty-two years as an RN and then began a full-time writing carrier. She and her husband enjoy their five-acre country home. It is a perfect setting to let Shirley’s Muse work its magic.
Shirley is an eclectic writer and has always enjoyed the writing process. Shortly after her retirement, she woke up one morning with the thought she would write a book. She didn’t stop writing until she’d finished her first book. So far, she’s published five books now on Amazon. Her goal is to bring enjoyment to her readers.
1. Secrets and Retributions: Samantha (Sam) Jensen works for her brother Allan, as his assistant. Allan owns IDEA (International Diagnostic Environmental Agency). We cover the world providing consultations and investigations into any situation which affects the environment or the people.
Sam finds herself in a foreign country, without a memory of who she is. A full-scale investigation is started by her brother Allan. The story takes you from Oklahoma to the continents of South America, Europe, and Asia. It has mystery, action, romance, betrayal and murder, all tied with Sam and her brother Allan.
You follow the lives of Sam and Allan as they try to close Sam’s kidnapping experience. You also follow each criminal to the final outcome for each. Each character in the story has their own agenda, and trying to have those agendas agree, leads to twists and turns you won’t expect.
2. Verses for My King: This little eBook is a collection of Christian poetry with illustrations. Shirley shares her faith and love of God through her poetry.
3. Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes: This eBook is a collection of short stories. These stories show Shirley’s flexibility as a writer because they are of different genre, love, supernatural, crime, horror, and mystery. It also includes some Flash Fiction, which are full stories in a very limited word count. She loves the challenge of Flash Fiction.
4. Tapestry of Words is a longer collection of short stories. These stories show Shirley’s flexibility as a writer because they are of different genre, love, supernatural, crime, horror, and mystery. This book contains the stories in Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes plus more.
5. Dobyns Chronicles: Dobyns Chronicles is a captivating celebration of the life of Charley Dobyns. His life began in northeast Texas near Bonham, on the Red River. His Cherokee mother and cowboy father strove to survive on their river valley ranch. Tragedy ended this way of life for Charley in 1888. Follow him through Chickasaw Territory and on to McAlester in eastern Oklahoma.
If you would like to contact me, please do so at Shirley_mclain@yahoo.com
Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.
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