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Frans_Jozef
Monday, July 31st, 2006, 02:21 PM
Text helpline gives support to victims of school bullies

ADRIAN MATHER AND SARAH HUNTER


CHILDREN are being encouraged to report bullies by text message under a pioneering initiative in schools across Edinburgh.
Under the Text Someone scheme, bullied pupils will be able to text any incident in confidence to a database teachers can access before deciding on any action.


Phone lines and e-mail addresses will also be set up in the hope pupils who would usually be put off from approaching a teacher face-to-face will come forward.
Around 90 schools - the majority of secondaries and primaries in the city - are to have the system implemented when pupils return after the summer holidays.


It has been devised by Truancy Call Ltd, the company behind a system that informs parents by text when their children fail to appear for school.
It has been trialled successfully at Tynecastle High School and is set to be extended at the same time as the bullying service. A further service called Call Parents, which will be used to notify parents about school closures, exam dates and upcoming school events, will also be introduced.
The city council hopes all three services will help provide better communication between teachers, pupils and parents.


David Wright, the council's liaison officer co-ordinating the project, said: "It is really meant to act as an ice-breaker between pupils and teachers and will help provide an easier form of communication between them.
"Some pupils who are getting bullied may have problems with approaching a teacher to talk about what is going on, so this system will provide an easier way of reporting bullying to the school.
"All they need to do is text a brief description of what's happening to a special number and it then gets logged into a database, where teachers can look at the message and decide what, if any, action to take.
"We're hoping it will be a preventative thing more than anything else. Some pupils don't report bullying and it eventually gets out of hand. We hope that they will use this service to text as soon as the first instance happens, so the problems don't escalate."
After each claim is logged, teachers will be able to decide whether to address the problem internally - either by speaking to alleged bullies or calling parents - or, in extreme cases of physical violence, calling in the police or child protection agencies.


Truancy Call Ltd added that each incident would be treated on a case-by-case basis, meaning that it would be up to each school to decide on how to deal with their pupils' claims of bullying.
As well as physical violence and verbal bullying, the initiative is expected to deal with the rise in "cyber bullying", whereby pupils are targeted by bullies through text messages, e-mails and posts on internet sites.
Truancy Call Ltd managing director Stephen Clarke said: "Edinburgh council is leading the way by recognising that technology can assist in the battle against truancy and bullying.
"We are looking forward to telling schools more about how our services can help open the lines of communication with school pupils and parents."
Nikki Kerr, from anti-bullying charity Kidscape, said: "I do think this is a good idea as it can be anonymous in a situation where kids could be worried about being seen. Also, kids are so much more adept at using that technology - it is second nature to them.
"The only thing the schools would have to be careful about is that this sort of system can be abused by people pretending they are being bullied.
"However, I welcome any initiative that makes it easier for children to tell somebody they are being bullied."


Related topic
Teaching (http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=493)

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=493 This article: http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1109402006

Frans_Jozef
Monday, July 31st, 2006, 02:27 PM
School Bully OnLine





Bullying in schools

Worried about going back to school? Worried about school bullying? Intimidation, threats, taunting, violence?
Recently there's been much increased awareness of bullying in schools and whilst it may appear that bullying is on the increase, I suspect there's been little change in the amount of bullying that goes on in school. What has changed is that society is at last beginning to recognise just how vile bullying is and that the myths and misperceptions are just that - myths and misperceptions (http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/myths.htm). Those who perpetuate these myths are choosing to be part of the problem, not the solution.
It seems that children bully for a variety of reasons and when dealing with child bullying it's essential to identify who is the bully at the centre of the violence - there's usually one person who's the gang leader - and the reasons for bullying which include:
frustration - a child is impaired in some way and is frustrated and resentful because the source of their difficulty has not been identified - problems can include deafness, dyslexia, autism, allergy, being left-handed, undiagnosed PTSD or some unidentified learning difficulty - nevertheless the child is expected to perform at the level required by the school and no attempt is made to identify the source of the frustration
the child is being bullied, the responsible adults have repeatedly failed in their duty of care, so the child slowly and reluctantly starts to exhibit aggressive behaviours because that's the only way to survive in this bullying-entrenched climate
poor or no role model - the child has no role model at home, or a poor role model for one or both parents and has never had the opportunity to learn behaviour skills
abuse at home - the child is being abused and is expressing their anger through bullying
neglect at home - similar to abuse as the child's emotional and behavioural development is being retarded
undue influence - the child has fallen in with the wrong crowd
conduct disorder - the child has a conduct disorder, the precursor to antisocial, psychopathic or other personality disorderWhilst much of this web site on workplace bullying is relevant to child bullying and school bullying, there is one significant difference. A child is still in their formative years, and if a child is exhibiting bullying behaviours, then if you intercede in the right way, many child bullies - with the exception of those with a conduct disorder - can be helped to learn better ways of behaving and interacting with other children.
http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/