Bullying: It’s a world wide challenge!

In the lead up to the International Stand-up to Bullying Day (ISUBD), the 5th graders of Mrs Zychal’s class at Scotland Elementary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, did a great job in identifying the powers one needs to combat bullying. Laser vision, super hearing and transforming were some of them.

Bullying is a complex behavioral and communication problem. It involves dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive behaviors that require a therapeutic approach to solve it. This sounds complex and difficult, so it was great to see that these 5th graders showed a relative easy way to tackle the issue in their own class room and at their own level

In the lead up to the International Stand-up to Bullying Day (ISUBD), I helped my son’s 5th grade teacher with her special on bullying. Because of my experience of living in different countries on both sides of the Atlantic, one of the first things I pointed out to the class was that bullying is a communication and behavioral problem that -unfortunately – occurs in all countries on our globe. Not just here in America. It is a cross-cultural and cross-border problem.

When preparing the special, I stumbled upon some amazing facts. I don’t know the source of these facts and I don’t care, because I am confinced that it give a warning signal that is true world wide. Here are 5 facts I found:

1. 56% of students say they are in some way or the other bullied at school.

2. Between 4th and 5th grade 90% of the students say they are victims of bullying.

3. Most victims think they are harrased because of the way they look or their body size. However, research shows that students who bully don’t do this because of the physical appearance of the victim.

4. A victim of bullying is twice as likely to take his or her own life.

5. One out of 10 students drop out of school because they are bullied.

I presented the facts on my presentation board with images that show the effect of bullying.

When talking about sollutions and what we can do at our own level and within our own powers, the kids were great in finding a creative sollution. They wanted to create a Super Hero.

After discussing the characteristics of a bully and a victim, the class worked on what a superhero should look like and what anti-bullying powers he or she should have. These are the powers they came up with:

1. Tell a teacher

2. Be brave

3. Sense crime

4. Be on the right side (being able to decide on which side you want to be)

5. Laser vision

6. Super hearing

7. Say “Freeze!”

8. Say “Stop!”

9. Say “Join in!”

10. Be active (stand up against)

11. And my personal favorite: Change the bully into a Super Hero!

With the kids input, my presentation board for creating a Super Anti-Bullying Hero looked like this:

The kids did a great job! They were all Super Hero’s for this one day and hopefully for many more days to come, wherever they will be in the world.