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The Bully Action Guide: How to Help Your Child and Get Your School to Listen Paperback – April 26, 2011
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“This book is an indispensable tool and support for parents of children dealing with bullying issues in school. Ed Dragan empowers parents to take action and protect their children from harassment and teaches them to intervene effectively with teachers and principals.” ―Jodee Blanco, New York Times bestselling author of Please Stop Laughing At Me
“In my work I see many understandably frustrated parents become desperate to figure out how to enlist the school when their child is bullied. How should they approach the teacher? What happens if the teacher won't recognize the problem? What should you do if the school refuses to do anything to stop the bullies? The Bully Action Guide fills a critical gap in the resources available for parents. Not only does it provide clear strategies for when to approach educators but how. The book is filled with simple yet powerful scripts for parents to use to clearly communicate their child's rights and hold educators responsible in a way that gives the parent the best chance of working in collaboration with the school. I am strongly recommending this book for all parents.” ―Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes
“The Bully Action Guide is a must-have for anyone who is concerned about a child being bullied. Offering calm but effective dialogue templates, a "chain of command" hierarchy to follow when results aren't forthcoming at one level, and tips on what to document and how, Dr. Dragan provides the steps to help both parents and authorities communicate more effectively.” ―Cheryl Dellasega, author of Mean Girls Grown Up
“The Bully Action Guide is a priceless resource for any parent, grandparent and family member wanting to ensure their child's safety.” ―Maureen Healy, author of 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids
“A most important book for any parent whose child is being bullied! No other book gives parents such sensible, easy–to-follow guidance for helping a child who's being bullied, and effectively communicating with a school to end the bullying. A must-read.” ―Naomi Drew, author of No Kidding about Bullying
“Bullying is not a rite of passage; it is abuse that must be stopped. Dragan skillfully provides "how to's" that parents can follow to protect their children at school. Who to call, what to say, questions to ask and scripts to follow – words so potent that they cannot be ignored. You want this pro on your team in times of trouble. He is telling you exactly how schools operate and how to get what you need. Listen and be safe!” ―Mary Jo McGrath, author of School Bullying: Tools for Avoiding Harm and Liability
“Dragan's book places into the hands of parents orderly, common sense procedures to effectively communicate with their child and with the school to end bullying. It is time for a step-by-step proven system to give parents the edge when dealing with school administrators and teachers. This book gives parents much needed tools, so that schools will not only listen to them, but act to stop the bullying for their child.” ―Brenda High, Co-director and Founder of watchdog organization Bully Police USA
About the Author
Edward F. Dragan, Ed.D. has spent more than 40 years in education as a teacher, principal, school superintendent, and an official in the New Jersey Department of Education. As the founder of Education Management Consulting and of Safe Schools International, he is now a legal consultant for high profile school bullying cases. He has appeared on NBC Nightly News, Today on NBC, PBS's One on One, The Morning Show on Fox, and others.
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Gary P. Cohen
HIGH SCHOOL MONSTER MUSICAL
How to Help Your Child and Get Your School to Listen
by Edward F. Dragan
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
Review by Kaolin
While the process of protecting your child from bullies in scool, may be complicated, Dragan's step-by-step account of identifying troubling behavior, by encouraging your child to speak-up about it and being sure you know what to do next, when she/he does, sends you on a journey that can make or break your child's experience in the classroom. But some of you might be wondering, what is bullying exactly? According to Dr. Dragan, "Bullying includes harassment based on ethnicity, race, religion and-more and more frequently-gender identity, as children begin to identify themselves as gay or bisexual at earlier ages." ( pg. 6) But is teasing the same as bullying? No, Dragan says, "Not all taunting, teasing, and fighting among school children constitute bullying. When acts are repeated by someone perceived as physically or psychologically more powerful-that is bullying." (pg.7) And technology has also played a primary role in upping dangers and risks involved in bullying. However, The Bully Action Guide offers keycepts toward identifying this problem and most importantly, leading you to a remedy for it.
So how are schools most able to help you? Dr. Dragan, informs us that every school has an anti-harassment policy. Be sure to get your copy as soon as your child is registered in school. Start to discuss bullying with your family. And watch for the signs of your child being bullied by changes in their behavior. Follow Dragan's guidelines and use the script he supplies to draw out talking points so you can more easily ascertain that your child is being bullied. Remember that ethnic slurs are inappropriate and unacceptable. If all else fails with your principal, you can go to the Board of Education and the Superintendent. More guidelines for a dialogue with the principal are included in The Bully Action Guide, and it would serve you and your child well, to follow the direction Dragan suggests in coping with this problem. If your child attends a private school different rules apply.
Focusing on the faults of schools that are ineffective in their approach to bullying, is only one aspect of this comprehensive analysis of the problem, as Dragan gives families a series of solutions to the varied incidents of bullying found in schools today. He carefully gives explanations as to the legal aspects of a parents rights to have their child/ren protected, such as the Civil Liberties Law, which insures each child's right to safety in school.
The effect of bullying that fails to be addressed in school systems often lead to tragic outcomes, outcomes that could have been prevented: "Children can be bullied for a variety of reasons: disabilities, being of color, being shy, gay and or and simply because they may lack the defenses of others in class".
"It is in the school's best interest to deal with an informed parent-instead of a lawyer." (pg. 10) says Dragan, and there are four broad types of bullying: physical, verbal, social, and cyber. (pg. 17)
"Though bullying comes in many stripes, each form of bullying should be fought in the same way-- a way that will allow you to learn how to penetrate the schoolhouse, open the door to the principal's office, and become an active participant in the protection of your child. As Dragan said it would, this book does "teach you how to recognize bullying and nip it in the bud before it takes on a life of its own.' (pg. 18) Bullying in childhood leads to additional problems in adulthood, including negative relationships, incarceration. For instance, in one study, 60 percent of those characterized as bullies in grades six to nine had at least one criminal conviction by age 24. All of these facts are good reasons to seize bullying as a teachable moment and intervene-not just for the sake of the victim, but for that of the bully, too. (19)
Dragan adds that, "Children tend to be bullied when they do not make good eye contact, upset easily by (or does not understand) teasing and reacts strongly to it, does not understand body language or other nonverbal cues and tends to misinterpret some benign words or actions as aggressive and reacts fearfully. When one factors in the amount of the broad range of learning disabilities, one can see the likelihood of those children being subjected to bullying."
The solution, according to Dragan is "Change the culture of our schools. When you have the same information the school administrators have, you will know how to open the door of the principal's office and communicate effectively to get the school to listen." (28) Victims of bullying experience a range of mental health and social difficulties. These include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and low self-esteem all of which can become chronic. (Pg. 29)
The Bully Action Guide: How to Help Your Child and Get Your School to Listen is a no-nonsense, fact-based call-to-action for families. It is also an aid for educators, personnel in schools and staff in child care facilities who must learn that bullying is here to stay, until we change "the culture of our schools" and that change will not come unless we work together.
Kaolin, author of "Talking About Race: A Workbook About White People Fostering Racial Equality in Their Lives."
This book lays out step-by-step methods for finding out what is happening with your child and then working cooperatively with the school to put an end to the bullying. Certain things get administrators' attention, and through this book you learn what those are and how to use them to your child's advantage. It's to the school's advantage to work with you as well, and smart administrators are going to know that. I believe the methods in this book can be very effective.
Perhaps equally important, Dr Dragan's book dispels the notion that responsibility for ending the bullying falls on the victim. "Ignore it," "toughen up," "hit him back," I used to tell my own child. None of that works; for my child, all it did was perpetuate the trouble. The victim can't stop the problem. And the bully won't stop because he thrives on the high he gets from being "in power." The only one with the power to do something about it is the school. This book shows you how to make the school act.