Expert: Start to curb bullying by giving it new name

By Susan Misur
New Haven Register
GUILFORD, Conn. — One of the first ways to stop bullying, though seemingly counter intuitive, is to stop calling it that in the first place, a consultant for the state Department of Education told the local school board last week.

Because everyone has different definitions of bullying, the behavior might sometimes be difficult to recognize, Joann Freiberg told board members in a workshop session also attended by about 15 parents. Freiberg, a bullying and character education consultant for the state, explained her work with parents and students on the topic, and recommended ways to curb the behavior as the district continues to examine the school climate.

“We’ve got to stop the use of that word (bully). If you change it to ‘being mean,’ adults will be more likely to recognize that and say it’s not OK,” Freiberg said. “Research shows if you catch it the first time, and say it’s not OK, the behavior stops.”

Guilford’s PTA and Board of Education are waging a war on bullying through surveys, workshops and policy reviews and began to further evaluated the matter after the state changed its bullying definition last year. School board Chairman William Bloss said district officials plan to take Freiberg’s suggestions into consideration in school policy manuals and in the classroom. Full story.


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