• Our Cause

    The Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca has Aligned with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to Help Put An End to Bullying!

    The Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center know how serious an issue bullying is and we want to help our community, and members of any community who visit our website, with information and facts about bullying.

    Theatre and film can help raise awareness about important and timely social issues such as bullying which is why The Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca is teaming up! Together, we will create an annual bullying prevention video interviewing youth and educators in our community. Teachers, adults, administrators, youth, and artists can make a difference if we all work together! We also want to provide community resources and contacted a number of national organizations around the US and found PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to be the best online website providing the most information about bullying.

    October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This month unites communities nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention. Did you know that more than 160,000 US students stay home from school each day from fear of being bullied? No one should have to fear going to school. Unite with others and add your voice to PACER’s online petition! Sign up here: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/digitalpetition/ and learn more about bullying by reading the below information.

  • Bullying Information and Facts

    Defining Bullying Behavior

    What is bullying? At first glance, many people might think this behavior is easy to define. Their first image of bullying might be of a physically intimidating boy beating up a smaller classmate. While that can still be considered bullying today, parents need to know that bullying behaviors can be much more complex and varied than the stereotype.

    For example, harmful bullying can also occur quietly and covertly, through gossip or on the Internet, causing emotional damage.

    As a starting point let’s consider a few other features that have been included in definitions of bullying. Although definitions vary from source to source, most agree that an act is defined as bullying when:

    • The behavior hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally.
    • The targets have difficulty stopping the behavior directed at them, and struggle to defend themselves.
    • Many definitions include a statement about the ”imbalance of power,” described as when the student with the bullying behavior has more “power,” either physically, socially, or emotionally, such as a higher social status, is physically larger or emotionally intimidating.

    Many definitions also include:

    • The types of Bullying: The behavior can be overt, with physical behaviors, such as fighting, hitting or name calling, or it can be covert, with emotional-social interactions, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose.
    • Intent of the part of the student with bullying behavior: “It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly, and with deliberation to hurt or harm,” but there is some controversy with this statement as some assert that not all bullying behavior is done with intent or that the individual bullying realizes that their behavior is hurting another individual.
    • Distinction about amount and duration: Many definitions indicate that the bullying is “repeated,” but the reality is that bullying can be circumstantial or chronic. It might be the result of a single situation, such as being the new student at school, or it might be behavior that has been directed at the individual for a long period of time.
    • The implications for all students: It is also important to note that bullying is not just about the implications for those targeted by the behaviors, but that the behavior can impact all students in the school, including those who witness the behavior and those that engage in the behavior.
    • Additional factors: These can include; the differentiation between bullying and harassment, enumeration of protected classes, statements around the use of technology, how the behavior impacts educational performance and the physical locations that would fall under the jurisdiction of school sanctions.

    Defining “Harassment”

    The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have stated that bullying may also be considered harassment when it is based on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.

    Harassing behaviors may include:

    • Unwelcome conduct such as: Verbal abuse, such as name-calling, epithets, slurs
    • Graphic or written statements
    • Threats
    • Physical assault
    • Other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating

    Students have protection under federal laws.

    Know the Laws

    Many states have laws that address bullying. The content of each law varies considerably. This interactive map from the STOP BULLYING.gov website contains information on each state’s bullying and harassment laws.

    This information has been granted to The Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

  • Three Steps to Take If Your Child is
    Being Targeted by Bullying at School

    I. Work With Your Child

    Thank your child for telling you. Tell your child that the bullying is not his or her fault. Talk with your child about the specifics of the situation and ask:

    • Who is doing the bullying?
    • What happened? Was it…
      • Verbal bullying?
      • Physical bullying?
      • Cyberbullying? (Meet directly with the principal if this is the case.)
    • What days and times were you bullied?
    • Where did the bullying take place?

    Also find out how your child responded to the bullying and if other children or adults might have observed the bullying. Does your child know the names of these people?

    Keep a written record of this information.

    Practice possible ways for your child to respond to bullying. PACER’s offers a “Student Action Plan” that walk through potential action steps.

    Tell a school staff (teacher, principal, other staff).

    Go to Step Two if needed.

    II. Work With The School

    Meet with your child’s teacher:

    • Discuss what is happening to your child using information from Step One.
    • Ask what can be done so your child feels safe at school.

    Keep a written record of what happened at this meeting, including names and dates.

    Make an appointment to meet with the principal to discuss the bullying situation:

    • Share information from Step One.
    • Mention your work with your child regarding the situation.

    Share the outcome of your meeting with the teacher.

    • Mention how the situation is impacting your child.
    • Explain that your child does not want to come to school or is fearful he or she will be hurt.
    • Say if your child complains of stomach aches, headaches, etc.
    • Clarify that your child may have developed other new behavior as a result of bullying.

    Ask if the school has a written policy on bullying and harassment. If so, ask for a written copy.

    Ask what the school can do to keep your child safe at school, on school bus, etc.

    Go to Step Three if needed.

    III. Work With District Administration

    Write a letter or send an email to your district superintendent requesting a meeting to discuss the situation. Include name of child, age, grade, school, your address and phone number, background information of the bullying situation and how you have tried to resolve it.

    This letter should be as brief and factual as possible. Include the times you are available for this meeting. Send copies of this letter to the principal, special education director (if your child is receiving special education) and chair of the school board. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.

    Prepare for this meeting by organizing the information you have kept and the questions you want to ask. Remember to ask what can be done to keep your child safe in school so he/she can learn.

    Decide if you want to take someone with you. Clarify their role (e.g., take notes, provide support, contribute information about your child). Be sure to keep a written record of this meeting, including who was present, what was discussed, and any decisions that were made.

    If after taking these three steps, the bullying issue has not been resolved, you may wish to contact a parent center or advocacy organization for assistance.

    This information has been granted to The Readers’ Theatre of Ithaca from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

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