Monday, July 30, 2007

Bystanders Stand up to Bullies

By Robinson Duffy
rduffy@newsminer.com
Published July 24, 2007

Often when people picture bullying, the image that comes to mind, is a bully or group of bullies backed by a cadre of supporters. Who are picking on a child with no visible support.

Margie Kurzbard would like to see the opposite of that situation. She wants to see that the victims of bullies have a strong support network of peers and adults.A support network stronger than the bullies.

“The idea is to switch that crowd of people,” says Kurzbard, the director of the school district’s Safe Schools, Healthy Students program. “That way the bully feels less supported by peers.” The Bullying program teaches children to stand up to bullies with the support of bystanders.

Bullying is a problem across the country. According to data collected by the World Health Organization, 30 percent of school children in the United States are either bullies or the victim of a bully.

“We’re no different then the rest of the country,” Kurzbard said. “It doesn’t matter where you live. Every school’s got kids who feel like behaving meanly is fun to do.”