Advocating Anti-Bullying in Schools

Second Friday of the month:  Schooling / Parenting

"Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.  It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. " - Wikipedia
(Taken from Reedley International School website; photo by Gerald Diocades)

Bullying is a form of abuse which can be physical, emotional, or verbal.  We've all heard of horrible and tragic reports of bullying in the news, and from family members and friends. Or maybe some of you have experienced it first hand.  

I was not really conscious about this subject until I had a school-aged kid. My boy attends lower school and aside from typical boys' squabbles, I'm relieved that he never reported any serious incidence of bullying. When my friends and I talk about our children, and compare how we were before, as students, we cannot recall any similar issues in our all-girls school.
Or maybe our generation was different then? 
Or our schools have less students then? 
Or we have a level of fear from our parents and teachers then?  
I really don't have the answers.

Sadly, a number of my friends' children have been victims, or targets, of bullies in school. All of them shared the same sentiments and frustrations --  parents, schools and its administrators play a big part in the prevention and conflict resolution of these traumatic incidences. Some actually resulted in the following:
  • Physical injury on torso and head of victim
  • Fear from verbal threats of bullies
  • Stress-related anxieties of the kids
  • Social discrimination
  • Loss of interest in going to school, negatively affecting academic performance
What can parents do when their child is the bully or the target?
What can parents expect from schools when dealing with bullying?
How do schools address and manage conflicts and bullying incidences?
Students with (l-r) Joy Laureola, head of external affairs, and head life coach for middle school Vida Bautista
These are just some of the questions raised during an intimate parent chat with a group of blogger-moms last month, hosted by Reedley International School (RIS).  Among the topics discussed, bullying elicited the most interest from us parents since this is a very current issue that plague many students.

During the open forum, we were joined by two middle school students who candidly shared their traumatic experiences as targets of bullies from their former schools.  Both boys have suffered repetitive physical, verbal and emotional "abuse" from their bullies that led to their transfer to Reedley.  It became much more real to me after hearing actual accounts straight from these young lads -- how they were hurt, how they felt helpless and alone, and hopeless at times.
Bullying, at home and in school, greatly contributes to child stress and hinders them from learning and from having healthy family and peer relationships.  Many schools (and parents) do not address bullying since they believe it is a rite of passage that toughens a child. - RIS
After hearing these first-hand stories of abuse and transformation, it's heartwarming to see that these boys have regained their self-esteem and confidence with proper counseling and emotional support. The kind of environment at Reedley, and most especially the support group from the school's faculty and administrators, has helped them become more positive and motivated as students.

Reedley's presented their Bully-Proof Campaign:
"I am Bully-Proof At Heart, In Mind, and In Spirit"
  • Includes contract signing and pledge by students and teachers - to stress the school's zero-tolerance for bullying
  • Students will receive pins with "I am NOW bully proof" / "I am bully proof" printed on it
  • Activities that help strengthen awareness - essay writing and poster making contests, film showing, and video presentation with testimonials from students who were bullied in the past 
Middle school principal Jo Anne Bilo, and Director of school development Emil Ong

Reedley strongly advocates anti-bullying and is proud to be aggressively promoting a bully-proof campus for a number of years now. According to Mr. Ong, they allow students to be pro-active and be involved, to report if they witness or experience any form of bullying, and at the same time, show kindness towards one another.  Any untoward incidents are immediately investigated with all parties involved, while the life coach goes into consultation with students and parents, after conducting separate interviews, to resolve the conflicts as soon as possible.  Appropriate penalties and suspensions will be meted out to guilty parties.

The school also believes in empowering students to manage healthy family and peer relationships and work effectively with less stress via:
  • Life Skills Curriculum
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and Happy Kids by Sean Covey
  • Study Skills
  • Conflict Resolution and Anti-Bullying Campaigns
  • Time Management

It's great to know that this much effort and attention is extended by Reedley in recognizing and addressing the seriousness of bullying in general. I hope other schools would give the same level of importance to prevent and stop bullying in their campuses.

Do you have stories of bullying? How were they resolved?

Learn more about the curriculum and other special programs from Reedley's website.
Alternatively, set a school visit and inquire with Ms. Joy Laureola:
 (632) 571-5291
(+63917) 507-9306 
(+63917) 507-9305
JOSOL Building, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave. 
Libis, Quezon City

Connect with Reedley International School on Facebook.

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