I am reminded of my shameful past with the word "bully," and of my hope that the more my community widens its tent to include other, "different" types of Jews, the more we will come to ask ourselves: What's so wonderful about being the same as everyone else?
Conversations about sexual and gender identity are still highly contested terrain in the field of education, and LGBTQ remains the one area of inclusion still largely unaddressed in all areas of public K-12 education.
The city council passed an ordinance which could ticket parents and fine them more than $100 if their children are repeatedly bullying others.
Nicole was in the audience and I wanted so much not to embarrass her, but within minutes I was in tears. I saw girls, boys, and chaperones openly weeping. Every story touched a chord, snowballing into more emotion.
If meanness and hate are ingrained, albeit unfortunate parts of human nature, we must create communities that reinforce our other natural tendencies toward kindness and against meanness.
Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) have reintroduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act, vitally important legislation that is modeled on Title IX that would create a comprehensive prohibition against discrimination against LGBT students in our nation's public schools.
It's very popular right now to talk about bullying. But it is way past time to start talking about misogynist bullying as a separate category of abuse aimed at young girls, and as something that requires a separate cure.
In our fast-paced highly connected world, we see all too often abuse of the Internet as a means for wide-spread gossip, lies and hurtful behavior. How beautiful it is indeed when the energy of this powerful tool can be harnessed to promote healing and friendship.
Bullies can now take their hurt to a whole new level. Now they can hide behind screens. Now they can use words that are considered profane and hide behind false avatars and fake user names. Now they can post about you and have thousands of responses from around the globe in minutes.
In the classroom I held my own and in the music department I excelled, but these things didn't really matter at our school; esteem was earned by athletic prowess and nothing else.
Now, more than ever, we need to create more "upstanders" and not only among our youth, but in partnership with parents, school staff, and finally, the whole community.
Classroom teachers have everything to do with stopping bullying. There. I said it. The teachers who are making a difference in the movement to stop bullying are engaged role models of kindness and expert masters of diplomacy.
What is instinctual is empathy -- the ability to understand how other people are feeling and to take their feelings into consideration when dealing with them.
Sometimes, a movie is just a movie, but what happens when a movie becomes a movement? Bully touched me in a profound way, not only because it made me reflect on my own life, but also on the life of my daughter.
How could I have done such a thing? What kind of awful, evil person was I? And what would my parents think if they knew -- and how would they punish me?
Kids can be mean. Perhaps it's part of their exploration of boundaries and their power in social circles. As parents, we can teach our own kids the importance of kindness, respect and treating others as we want them to be treated. And, we can guide them to stand up to bullies.