Book provides lesson plans focusing on bullying

Thursday, July 27, 2006

During this past school year - seven years after two Columbine High School lashed out against those who bullied them by killing 12 fellow students and a teacher - , authorities across the country foiled several plots by bullied students to take revenge against their tormentors through violence, at schools in Puyallup, Wash.; North Pole, Alaska; and Riverton, Kan.

These plans should make educators question whether enough is being done to quell bullying in schools, says a University of North Texas educator. A resource book that she has developed focuses on helping students cope with anger that comes from being bullied.

Dr. Doris Coy, UNT associate professor of counseling and the author of "Bullying: A Resource and Activity Book for School Counselors, Teachers and Parents," says research shows that those who are bullied can turn into bullies themselves, as seen seven years ago at Columbine.

Bullying was once seen in the United States as a "rite of passage," Coy says, until a study from Great Britain in the 1990s showed the detrimental effects. Since then, schools have taken strides to reduce bullying. Some schools now hang "no bullying" signs, federal grants provide money to combat bullying and teachers are trained on what to do when they witness bullying.

"They thought that was addressing the problem, but with the other failed plans for school violence, you have to question if we been as successful with this as we thought we have." Coy says.

Coy's book provides 22 lesson plans that school counselors or teachers can use for increasing students' self-esteem and helping them deal with anger. For instance, children who are bullied should tell an adult, get themselves out of the situation, walk to and from school with another person rather than alone, and learn to say, "Don't hurt me" or "I will tell."

Coy, who is past president of the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association, says research from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development shows that bullying happens on a regular basis to 1 in 10 students. Recent research studies reveal more than 160,000 children stay home daily from school because of bullying, and two-thirds of the children creating violence in American schools have been bullied in school, she says.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108