FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools is saying no to bullying. The district held two sessions of their program, “Bullying: Critical Steps to Intervention” at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Anthis Career Center on Thursday.
The multimedia, interactive presentation by McMillen Center for Health Education’s Linda Hathaway teaches adults the critical intervention steps of handling bullying situations. She said the number one piece of advice she has for adults is to listen – not only to the target, but to the bully too. Hamilton said by doing this, you can support the target as well as teach the bully better social behavior.
“As a parent, spend some time with your kids without the phone without the T.V. on,” said the center’s director of education and curriculum. “Really focus on your kids and develop that relationship because if they are being bullied, they’re more likely to tell you about it. They’re more likely to tell you about all kinds of things going on in their life if you really focus on them and build that relationship with them.”
Hathaway said this piece of advice even applies to cyber bullying. The digital age has given bullying a further reach and made it a 24/7 problem, but listening is still key.
Hamilton noted that another major bullying prevention tactic is to to use the power of bystanders. She said 60 percent of people involved in a bullying situation are bystanders. If they report what they see, it’ll go a long way towards ending bullying.
Attendee Claire White came to seek help for her two middle school granddaughters who are being bullied at an FWCS school.
“It feels kind of like a kick in the gut at times,” she said. “At other times I am so angry I just want to step in, but I have to kind of put my anger aside and do the right thing and not respond in anger, but try to respond in a positive way so my grandkids can pick up on the positive versus the negative.”
She said the presentation gave her a lot of ideas and resources that she can use to help her family.
Hamilton recommends the following sites as resources on bullying: