In a recent blog post for stopbullying.gov, the authors review the literature to determine possible links between bullying and suicide in children and youth.
They conclude that many factors may increase a youth’s risk of suicide—including mental health history, family history of suicide or child maltreatment, alcohol and substance abuse, and isolation—and caution against assuming there are “simple” causes for suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Emily Bazelon has written a timely groundbreaking book on bullying, its root problems and real-world solutions. Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy defines what bullying is and, just as important, what it is not.
Bazelon explores when intervention is essential and when kids should be given the freedom to fend for themselves. She also dispels persistent myths: that girls bully more than boys, that online and in-person bullying are entirely distinct, that bullying is a common cause of suicide, and that harsh criminal penalties are an effective deterrent. Above all, she believes that to deal with the problem, we must first understand it.
No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook, the website where so much teenage life, good and bad, now unfolds.
Some early reviews:
“Thoughtful and moving, incisive and provocative, Sticks and Stones is essential reading for any educator trying to negotiate the minefield of bullying. Packed with valuable advice, the book brings a welcome dose of sanity to an often overheated national discussion.”—Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed
“Beautifully written and tenaciously reported, Sticks and Stones is a serious, important book that reads like a page-turner. Emily Bazelon is a gifted writer, and this powerful work is sure to place childhood bullying at the heart of the national conversation—right where it belongs.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
"Emily Bazelon is doing the most honest, hard-hitting investigative work on bullying in America today. Sticks and Stones is a page-turner, combining compelling personal stories, rigorous reporting and practical advice for parents and educators. Read it: It’s essential.”—Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out
“Finally! In remarkably clear and friendly prose, Emily Bazelon dives into a difficult, complex topic and emerges with a wise, deeply nuanced, and practical guide to a subject that has us all confused.”— Wendy Mogel, Ph.D, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
“Once in a while a book comes around that deeply illuminates a complex and stubborn problem and convinces you that something can be done about it. Emily Bazelon has written such a book about bullying. She has listened carefully and astutely to children and knows how to tell their stories. She is a remarkably compelling, evocative writer. She has keen insights about how to deal with bullying which, contrary to what many Americans think, imperils huge numbers of children. She understands law and policy and she shares an array of clear-eyed and wise solutions that will be useful for educators, parents and anyone else who cares about children. Sticks and Stones is a terrific book.”—Richard Weissbourd, Harvard psychologist and author of The Parents We Are Meant To Be
“Emily Bazelon's writing always stands out for its intelligence, in-depth reporting, and fresh perspective. Those stellar qualities shine through Sticks and Stones, which takes a brave and highly personal look at the thorny and persistent problem of school bullying. Her book sparks compassion, and will undoubtedly lead to a smarter, more nuanced discussion.”—Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness
Emily Bazelon also wrote the recent New York Times Magazine feature story entitled The Price of a Stolen Childhood which highlights the Marsh Law Firm's advocacy for victims of child pornography.
The Moraga School District in Moraga, California alleged that a 12-year-old girl, who suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of two different middle school teachers in the 1990s, was “negligent,” “careless” and “was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims.”…
Last month, the Marsh Law Firm received a disturbing email from the parent of a child whose teacher took child sex abuse images of her and her fellow third graders in school during the school day. We immediately contacted attorney Douglas Fierberg who has extensive experience litigating against school districts across the country. A lawsuit against the Hildebran, North Carolina school district was filed earlier today.
FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT FILED BY HILDEBRAN, NORTH CAROLINA NINE YEAR OLD STUDENT WHO WAS SEXUALLY MOLESTED AND VIDEOTAPED BY TEACHER WHO ABUSED DOZENS OF OTHER STUDENTS IN CLASSROOM
Hildebran, North Carolina (October 19, 2012) - The family of a nine year old student at Hildebran Elementary School in Burke County, North Carolina, identified as “Jane Doe,” filed a 14 count lawsuit in the U.S. District Court sitting in Asheville, North Carolina (case no. 1:12-CV-00334). The lawsuit names as defendants Burke County Public Schools Board of Education, School Guidance Counselor Linda Bradshaw, former teacher Michael Alexander, and numerous other unidentified persons, for violations of the U.S. Constitution, the North Carolina Constitution, and other Federal and State laws.
The details of the case are as follows:
The horrifying sexual exploitation and distribution of child abuse images involving dozens of Burke County school girls came to light in June 2012 when the European Police Office (EUROPOL) intercepted a child pornography syndicate operating in Spain. This spurred an investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI, who established that many of the victims were abused and filmed by Alexander inside Hildebran Elementary School during school hours. Alexander has since been sentenced to almost one-half century of incarceration.
Throughout his 12 year tenure, Alexander was allowed to excuse young girls from other class and school activities and keep them with him alone long enough to engage in sex acts and, for some, create and distribute child sex abuse images to a worldwide audience.
The lawsuit alleges that Jane Doe was a victim who was just 8 years old when Alexander started abusing her, and that Alexander threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone. It is alleged that she reported to her Guidance Counselor, Bradshaw, that Alexander was inappropriately touching her. Bradshaw allegedly accused her of lying, and sent her back to Alexander’s class, where she suffered more abuse. No report of Jane Doe’s complaint was made to other school officials, despite numerous policies requiring so. Denied help, Jane Doe and others continued to be sexually abused and filmed by Alexander in school.
Jane Doe is represented by Washington, DC attorneys Douglas Fierberg and Peter Grenier. Messrs. Fierberg and Grenier previously represented approximately 20 victims of the massacre at Virginia Tech University, and were responsible for negotiating the historic settlement with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mr. Fierberg is currently lead counsel in a number of sexual abuse and school violence lawsuits across the country, including for the victims of the 2010 massacre at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Raleigh attorney, Robert M. Tatum, is co-counsel. Mr. Tatum proudly served with the U.S. Army Special Forces and has been successful in numerous federal and state suits involving sexual abuse of students, including against the Brunswick County Board of Education.
Concerning this lawsuit and his client, Mr. Fierberg states, “Jane Doe and dozens of others suffered horrific mistreatment in school. When she reached out to officials for help, she was accused of lying and sent back into the abuser’s classroom. The deliberate indifference to Jane and other children cannot ever be tolerated or repeated by teachers and officials responsible for our children. This lawsuit not only seeks compensation, but also sends a message to schools and adults entrusted with children’s safety that they will be held accountable if they refuse to protect children from such atrocities.”
In many superhero films, villains seem to share a lot of similar characteristics: a sinister appearance, an evil laugh, and the insatiable desire to take over the world. The line between good and evil is always clearly drawn in these films, making it hard to confuse the two, but unfortunately, reality rarely works in this way. Sometimes, the people that you are meant to trust in and to look up to are the ones that turn out being the most fearsome.
Two teachers from Texas prove that bullies can come in all shapes and sizes. When a kindergarten teacher caught one of her students, Aiden Neely, acting up in line, she went to her experienced coworker and asked for advice in dealing with classroom bullies. Instead of suggesting that she contact his parents or follow school procedures, the second teacher allegedly took the six-year-old into her classroom, sat him down, and told her twenty-four students to hit him one by one. She even encouraged her students to “hit him harder” in order to demonstrate why “bullying is bad”. It wasn’t until after Aiden was hit especially hard on the back that his teacher stopped the exercise.
When Aiden’s teacher came forward two weeks later, the district placed both teachers under paid administrative leave. Neither teacher has been identified, but the school says the one who organized the incident will not return next year, while the other will be eligible to come back in the fall after re-training. Salinas Elementary School also stated that they do not condone actions like this against their students.
Corporal punishment is not legal in all states, but when it is, the teacher must take appropriate disciplinary actions, not students. Usually, state laws will also contain requirements as to how physical punishments should be carried out and what offenses it can apply to.
Aiden’s mother, Amy Neely, is furious. She says, “twenty-four of those kids hit him and he said that most of them hit him twice.” She claims that this is the first time she has heard of her son having behavioral problems since the teacher never contacted her about the issue or sent her son to the principal’s office. Neely also adds that some of Aiden’s friends in the classroom told him that they didn’t want to participate, but they were too afraid to say no. She has already filed an official oppression complaint against the educators with the district police and is now working to ensure that the teacher who orchestrated the hitting never steps foot into another classroom.
The worst part of this ordeal is that none of the kids learned anything about bullying. If their classmate was perceived as a bully, the teacher should have helped him to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, she encouraged the students to believe that “two wrongs make a right”. Physical punishment is only a temporary solution to bullying problems. It is important for children to understand that if they are caught bullying, then they will be held accountable and may face serious repercussions like their educators.
For more information about this story visit USAToday.