Breaking the cycle of violence in our homes, schools and communities involve more than merely identifying and stopping the bully. It requires that we examine why and how a child becomes a bully or the target of a bully (and sometimes both) as well as the role the bystanders play in perpetuating the cycle. Some bullied children have struck back with a vengeance and rage that have left communities with incomprehensible horror and sorrow. Others, who reached what they felt was an utterly hopeless and irretrievable point, have made a tragic and final exit. We are devastated by these final acts but rarely outraged by the events that led to that final act. The bottom line: These tragic outcomes need not have happened.
It is easy to point fingers; place blame; fortress our schools; push zero-tolerance plans; mandate a bully awareness week; stiffen penalties for bullying; or simply ignore the problem and hope it will go away. It is more difficult—and necessary—that we as individuals, families, schools and communities create a safe harbor for all of our children. This course will provide participants with suggestions for helping students to learn to stand up for their own rights while respecting the rights and legitimate needs of others; to handle conflicts nonviolently; to act with integrity when confronted with difficult situations; and to develop an inner moral code that gives them the wherewithal to do what is right. In addition, this course will address the topic of bullying as a learned behavior and suggest ways to examine that behavior and change it.