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.
It's pretty safe to say that it's harder to hide from the bullies than it may have been 20 or 30 years ago. Some kids have to face it not only for seven hours at school, but also every hour beyond that because of the constant contact that can be made via text message or social media.
Harassment and bullying are cyclical. Harassers and bullies have often been harassed or bullied themselves. A safe and supportive school culture and climate is critical to avoiding violence at school.
I worry whether our well meaning desire to combat bullying could lead to an even bigger problem by branding children who misbehave as criminals instead of using other methods to create a more civil and compassionate environment for our children.
This is one of the few recommendations that has a realistic chance of improving the safety of our children -- and it has little if anything to do with having a gun toting security guard on board when a rampage killer enters the classroom.
Megan Rapinoe represents what is possible when LGBT athletes are supported and respected, but it's heartbreaking to think of the potential excellence still being wasted by fear, and the barriers that that fear poses to the health of students who would rather skip school than go to gym.
When addressing school climate issues in education reform, it is far too easy to focus exclusively on the negative, the bias, the bullying, the violence we all agree must end.
Turns out that while sticks and stones can break your bones, words, too, can really hurt. In honor of proving that out-of-date childhood adage incorrect, the week of January 21st-25th has been set aside as No Name Calling Week.