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Bullies: A Fact Of Life?

Many of us were told as children to ignore bullies at school.

But we shouldn't give our own children that same advice. In fact, the experts now say children should really try to find an adult, either at school or at home, to confide in.

According to the U.S. Justice Department 160,000 kids are too scared to go to school every day. Most of them fear bullies. CBS News National Correspondent Jon Frankel looks at one Minnesota county which is trying a new way to deal with bullies - actually sending kids to jail for one or two nights as a result of their bullying.

"What we could not agree on was the definition of a bully. There were certain standards we set forth. Touching, hitting, pushing school staff would involve the bully aspect. But other definitions of bullying were left to each individual judge's discretion," explains Richard Spicer, chief judge of the First Judicial District, for the state of Minnesota.

Incarceration is only part of a larger program involving counseling, tutoring and even boot camp.

Richard Beal, a former high school and middle school principal who now works as an educational consultant, has other thoughts on dealing with bullies. Beal says bullying is a learned behavior; therefore, it can also be un-learned. The question is how to accomplish that and the answers vary according to age and the degree to which the behavior has been carried out.

Himself the parent of a bullied child, Beal has run more than 500 anger and anti-bully support groups for children of all ages. He says the Student Transition and Recovery Programs, Inc.- or STAR - is the most successful program in dealing with kids who have been bullying.

The program is for middle school students (ages 9-15) who have committed offenses that warrant suspension from school or detention in a juvenile facility. The abiding principle of STAR is that working with teens while they are impressionable ensures a greater possibility for success.

To be part of STAR, students need permission from their parents and their principals. Parents must attend after-school parenting programs.

According to some studies, male bullies learn their bullying from adult male role models. Similarly, victims of bullies learn victimization skills - sometimes just being shy - from their own families. Some children are victimized because family members encourage a lack of social skills.

STAR allows students to remain in their homes and schools as an alternative to juvenile detention centers and alternative schools. This way, STAR attempts to discover and address academic problems as well as family and personal conflicts.

For more information about the program, contact retired Captain Charlie Stancil, SCPO, U.S. Navy. He is the president of STAR.

He can be found at
P.O. Box 2694
1118 Main St.
Bandera, TX 78003
Fax: 866-460-8895
Phone: 877-890-2022
Email: ceostar@texas.net. Other information available by email at: starlas@texas.net

There is a wide array of resources on Peacemaking, Bullying Prevention and Restorative Measures. The following are just a few:

  • www.dontlaugh.org/curricula - Peter Yarrow: anti-bullying curricula with song and video
  • www.cfchildren.org - Committee for Children Second Step and Steps to Respect curricula
  • www.makethepeace.org - Click on "School Tools: for ideas on peacemaking education
  • www.hurt-free-character.com - Hurt Free Schools, 1 888 258-6830
  • www.colorado.edu/cspv - Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, UC at Boulder
  • www.luckyduck.co.uk - No Blame Bully Approach To Bullying and Circle Time
  • www.NoBully.org.nz - New Zealand Police Department's school bullying prevention program
  • www.esrnational.org/guide.htm - Educators for Social Responsibility, curricula and lesson plans
  • www.rippleeffects.com/resist/teens - Skills-based Web site for teens on developing tolerance
  • www.nasponline.org - National Association of School Psychologists
  • www.fresno.edu/dept/pacs - Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies, Fresno Pacific University, CA
  • www.safersanerschools.org - International Institute on Restorative Practices, Bethlehem, PA
  • www.transformingconflict.org - Schools and restorative justice in the United Kingdom
  • www.doc.state.mn.us - MN Dept. of Corrections: scroll down and click on "Restorative Justice"
  • www.mediationuk.org.uk - Mediation site for the United Kingdom
  • www.csmp.org - Colorado School Mediation Project; video on restorative justice in schools
  • www.iapeace.org - Iowa Peace Institute, "Building Peaceable Schools" program
  • www.fau.edu/divdept/caupa/centers/cji - Balanced and Restorative Justice Project, Florida Atlantic University

Books And Curricula
  • Anderson, C., Talking About "It": sexual assault in schools,
  • Committee for Children, Steps to Respect: A Bulling Prevention Program, 2203 Airport Way South, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98134-2035, 1 800 634-4449, 2000.
  • Friscgk, M. Sprung, B., Mullin-Rindler, N., Quit It: A Teacher's Guide on Teasing and Bullying for Use with Students in Grades K-3. NEA Professional Library, 1998.
  • Garrity, Carla, et.al. Bully Proofing Your School, Sporis West, P.O. Box 1809, Longmont, CO, 80502-1890.
  • Greenbaum, S, Turner, B, Set Straight on Bullies, Pepperdine University Press, 1989.
  • "Victims of Peer Aggression." Perry, David, et. al., Developmental Psychology 24:807-814, 1988.
  • Hoover & Oliver, The Bullying Prevention Handbook, National Educational Service, 1252 Loesch Rd, Bloomington, IN, 47404, 888-763-9045, 1996.
  • Hyndman, M & Thorsborne, M, Bullying: A School Focus D. Evans, M. Myhill, & Jl Izard (editors), 1993.
  • Olweus, D Bully/Victim Problems in School Children: Basic Facts and Effects of School-Based Intervention Programme. In K. Rubin & D. Peopler (editors), 1984.
  • Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.1993.
  • Peaceful Partners Curriculum, Mpls. Public Schools & Project Charlie, contact: Mary Hoopman (612) 588-7880.
  • Sagarese, Margaret & Giannetti, Charlene Cliques-8 Steps to Help Your Children Survive the Social Jungle, 2001.
  • Tattum, D.P. & Lane, D.A. (editors) Bullying in Schools. Stroke-on-Kent: Trentham Books, 1989.
  • It's Not Okay to Bully, video Hazelden Educational Materials, 1996.
    Contact Nancy Riestenberg, Prevention Specialist, Children, Families & Learning: 651-582-8433; nancy.riestenberg@state.mn.us
  • To contact Richard Beal, call 1-800-52-BULLY or Email rick@csraresa.org.