June 22nd, 2012
05:50 PM ET

Educators: Kids aren't the only ones bullied

By Hannah Weinberger, Special to CNN

(CNN) - People around the world were shocked and horrified by a viral video that showed Karen Klein, a 68-year-old public school bus monitor, desperately trying to ignore malicious verbal jabs by a group of middle schoolers on her own bus.

For most, it was extreme. For many educators and school staff members, it's no surprise.  School workers said it’s a regular aspect of their daily lives.

“I’ve had erasers thrown at me, among other things, but these are things that teachers go through,” said Rosalind Wiseman, author of the bestseller “Queen Bees and Wannabes.”

“When these types of things come up, there’s all of this attention. But most teachers have at least had one student call them a bad name under their breath."

While bullying among students has dominated conversations in school, homes and in the media, kids bullying adults at school is a topic rarely discussed. What some call misbehavior, pranks or insubordination can be bullying, too, educators said. Kids can act threateningly and create a hostile environment inside the limitations of the law, said educator and author  David M. Hall, who often leads anti-bullying workshops - and school workers might never report it.

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Filed under: Bullying
June 21st, 2012
04:45 PM ET

Middle schoolers bully bus monitor with profanity, jeers

Anderson Cooper interviews bus monitor Karen Klein about the verbal abuse she endured on tonight's AC360, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET

By Faith Karimi, CNN

(CNN) - A profanity-laced video of middle school students in upstate New York verbally abusing a bus monitor is sparking an outpouring of support as strangers worldwide rally to her side.

Students taunted Karen Klein, 68, with a stream of profanity, insults, jeers and physical ridicule. Some boys demand to know her address, saying they want to come to her house to perform sexual acts and steal from her. Another said, "you're so fat."

One comment from a boy aboard the bus was especially painful. He told her that she does not have family because "they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son took his own life 10 years ago, according to CNN affiliate WHAM.

The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage.

The incident occurred in Greece, New York, near Rochester. Klein is a bus monitor for the Greece Central School District and the harassers hail from the Greece Athena Middle School, media reports said.

Read the full story

Tell us in the comments: We hear often about kids bullying kids, but have you witnessed or experienced kids bullying an adult at school, on the playground, on the bus or on field trips?

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Filed under: Bullying • Issues
June 21st, 2012
06:00 AM ET

High school students develop app to fight bullying

Students at a Connecticut high school developed an app they hope will curb bullying, CNN affiliate WTIC reported. Users can use the app to report bullying they've experienced, even as a witness. The information is anonymous, but goes to administrators, who can look for common threads and patterns in what's reported. The app was designed by students at Metropolitan Business Academy in New Haven, Connecticut, who said they saw it as a way for kids to help other kids.

Share in the comments: Do you think an anonymous app is a good way to report bullying? Would you want your kids or their school administrators to use it?

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Filed under: Bullying • Issues • Technology
June 18th, 2012
10:42 AM ET

Get real! Teacher turns table on bully

A teacher in a San Antonio suburb allegedly tells students to hit a 6-yr-old "bully" to show why bullying is bad.  From Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien.

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Filed under: Behavior • Bullying • Policy • video
May 15th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Parents of special needs students say school district covered up abuse

By Julie Peterson, CNN

(CNN) Slammed into lockers, isolated in darkened schoolrooms, vulgar language by a teacher – it was just another day at school for special needs student Alex Williams.

Recently released court documents say Alex, who has cerebral palsy, was routinely abused by teacher Melanie Pickens at Atlanta-area Hopewell Middle   School between 2006-2007. Despite extensive abuse of Alex and other students that was substantiated by a Fulton County School district investigation in 2007, no charges have been filed against teacher Melanie Pickens or then-Principal Frances Boyd. None of Pickens’ special needs students had the verbal abilities to tell anyone they were being physically and emotionally hurt.

You might expect that documented child abuse, in a public school, with many reports by teachers, school nurses, and staff, would automatically result in criminal charges -at least against the teacher actually doing the abusing.

Parents of Melanie Pickens’ former students say: Think again.

The way the Williams family learned of their son’s mistreatment was circuitous and indirect, according to Lisa and Doug Williams of Atlanta suburb Alpharetta. The parents of another student, Jake Marshall, informed the Williams, according to court documents released earlier this year. That’s because the abuse of student Jake Marshall was the first to be uncovered. Now 19, Jake lives with Angelman Syndrome and is non-verbal.

Back in 2004, special needs teacher Melanie Pickens taught a class of middle school students, at Hopewell Middle School, in the Atlanta suburb of Milton. She taught in an area of the school called G Hall, which is the section of the school used solely for special needs students.

In May 2007, another special needs teacher, Susan Tallant, says she found Jake isolated in a room, alone and strapped in a chair. She says it was obvious he’d been there a long time, because he was covered in his feces. “He had defecated and actually gotten it everywhere. All over him, all over the chair he was sitting in, all over the floor,” Tallant said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Julie Peterson.
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Filed under: Behavior • Bullying • Special needs • Teachers • video
May 9th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Bullied for months, teen kills herself

A 13-year-old girl killed herself after enduring months of alleged bullying at school. KARE reports.

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Filed under: Bullying • Policy • Practice • video
May 8th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Indiana mom sends son to school with stun gun to confront bullies

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - An Indiana mother who sent her gay son to school with a stun gun after administrators apparently didn't do enough to stop the bullying against him said she would do it again - even though the teen now faces expulsion.

"I do not promote violence - not at all - but what is a parent to do when she has done everything that she felt she was supposed to do ... at the school?" the mother, Chelisa Grimes, told CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday. "I did feel like there was nothing else left for me to do, but protect my child."

The school district held an expulsion hearing last week but no decision has been announced.

Grimes sent her son, Darnell "Dynasty" Young, to Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis with the stun gun after he said he was taunted and bullied for months.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Bullying • High school • On air • Policy • video
May 1st, 2012
01:16 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

Thomas B. Fordham Institute: Is there anything “common” left in Common Core?
Kathleen Porter-Magee says that the debate over the Common Core standards has very little to do with the content of the standards, and more to do with the politics of education reform.

Stltoday.com: Illinois considers charging kids for riding school buses
Illinois education officials are considering allowing the state's school districts to charge students to ride the school bus. Local officials across the state are queasy about the measure, saying it hurts low-income students.

WHOtv.com: IOWA PRIDE: Conference To Confront Bullying
Two weeks after a bullied teen committed suicide, 150 other homosexual teens gathered for the Iowa Pride Conference. The Iowa Pride Network says that schools should set up gay straight alliances in high schools, which the group claims can reduce verbal and physical harassment of gay teens.

KSLA12: Students ordered to cut, dye "gang related" hair styles
School officials said that a reddish dyed streak in some students' hair could be a symbol of gang activity and have ordered students with the hair style to cut or dye their hair. Some parents reluctantly obeyed the order, while Tameka Brooks pulled her two sons out of school, claiming that the district was engaging in racial profiling.

Edutopia: Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement
Heather Wolpert-Gawron asked her 220 eighth graders "What engages students?" Working with peers, using technology and connecting projects to the real world topped the list.

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Filed under: Bullying • Curriculum • Economy • Issues • Policy • Practice • Technology • Today's Reading List
April 27th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Teen sues bullies for fake Facebook page

Alex Boston and her parents explain why they took legal action against two bullies who created a fake Facebook page.

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Filed under: At Home • Bullying • Issues • Practice • video
April 26th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Dad plants bug on autistic son to confirm school mistreatment

By Leigh Remizowski, CNN

(CNN) - A New Jersey man has launched a website to publicize what he calls "a culture of bullying" by teachers in his son's Cherry Hill classroom after sending the boy - who has been diagnosed with autism - to school with a covert recording device.

Stuart Chaifetz said he placed the recorder in the pocket of his 10-year-old son, Akian, in an attempt to find out why staffers at Horace Mann Elementary School had reported that the boy had been acting out and hitting his teachers.

What surfaced was more than six hours of recordings of what he says are teachers and aides apparently talking about alcohol and sex in front of the class, punctuated by yelling at his son to "shut your mouth."

Chaifetz posted the recording online Monday, which has since led to disciplinary actions, including the removal of at least one teacher, school officials said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Autism • Bullying • video
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