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FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Free Classes Teach How to Stop Bullying in Schools

Most people don't think about violence as a public health issue. However, bullying is one of the most common forms of violence found in today's schools. It is disruptive, damaging, and can sabotage the best school learning environment and make targeted children hate school or witnesses afraid of becoming the next victim. The majority of bullies become incarcerated by their mid-20s, and by then, many have multiple felony convictions, say violence prevention experts at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

To counteract bullying trends, the State Health Department now offers a free presentation for urban and rural school districts that teaches what to say and do to help stop bullying violence. The presentation is recommended for teachers, parents, principals, safe school committees, community leaders and student representatives.

“We see this as an opportunity to help stop the violence that invades our schools and communities,” says Kathy Middleton, Sexual Assault Prevention Education Program Coordinator, State Health Department. “The chances of redirecting or stopping bullying violence are better if intervention is made in early childhood. Bullying prevention can easily be a part of a comprehensive safety program. If bullying is overlooked, the school is not safe and not conducive to learning.”

The presentation lasts approximately 2.5 hours and includes two segments:

  • Bullying 101, A Case for Identifying and Eliminating Bullying in Schools: Teaches the impact bullying has on victims, bystanders, bullies, and teachers, and how to recognize and prevent bullying violence in schools (elementary through middle school). Class participants learn about the types of bullying, power sources, and the most common strategies used by male and female bullies. Participants also learn what works, myths and the worst advice given by adults. (Bad advice for bullying situations includes saying any of the following: Go work it out; Avoid them; Fight back; Quit tattling; Ignore them; You asked for it; Get over it; Boys will be boys; and Sticks and stones...) This class provides general solutions.
  • Bullying 102, An Action Plan for Schools, Students and Parents to End Bullying: Teaches general detailed solutions and how school staff can prevent bullying through intervention strategies to reduce bullying problems by 50 percent or more. Participants learn what classroom teachers, staff, administrators, school boards, safe school committees, parents, students and community decision-makers can do to have a productive school where everyone is safe to learn.

Middleton says the presentations are free on a first-come, first-serve basis for school districts and utilize a team from the State Health Department as well as a volunteer attorney. To schedule community presentations for decision makers and stakeholders in schools, contact Middleton at the State Health Department by calling (405) 271-4072 ext. 57107 or email her at kathymm@health.state.ok.us.

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