Neb. principal sorry for wrong advice in anti-bullying flier

The principal of Zeman Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., said the wrong anti-bullying pamphlet was sent home with fifth-graders, telling them not to "tattle" on bullies. KOLN

LINCOLN, Neb. - A Nebraska school principal has apologized for sending fifth-grade students home with a flier that advises those who are bullied to not tattle on their tormentors.

Some parents of the fifth-graders at Zeman Elementary in Lincoln complained and posted angry comments on Facebook, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Thursday.

Zeman principal Donna Williams apologized directly to the families on Wednesday for the wording of the flier, and the district posted the apology on its Facebook page.

"The flier was sent home with good intentions," said Williams. "Unfortunately it contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents."

Russ Uhing, the school district's director of student services, told CBS Affiliate KOLN that the wrong pamphlet was sent out. "Some of the information in it was not part of what our practices and beliefs about responses to some bullying situations would be," he said.

For example, the pamphlet's Rule #7 reads:

"Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?"

Uhing said that advice is the exact opposite of what bullied students should do.

"If there is a situation that they think is a bullying situation, we want to make sure that our staff know about it, that they can look into it and take corrective action," Uhing told KOLN.

District spokeswoman Mary Kay Roth said the flier was not approved for distribution and was mistakenly included in folders of student work sent home on Tuesday.

"It's a staff issue, so we're taking care of the staffing error," Roth said. "It wasn't supposed to be sent home."

In its apology to parents the District also included a link to a brochure about bullying which tells students, "Asking for help is not ratting!"

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