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Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy Hardcover – February 19, 2013
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Bullying has become a buzzword recently with high-profile examples of its tragic ramifications appearing frequently on the national media. Bazelon first became involved in reporting on bullying for a series in Slate magazine, which ultimately led to this book-length analysis of the phenomenon. The book is framed by the author’s examination of three different bullying situations. These cases lead to a deeper discussion of the factors that foment bullying and how bullying affects its victims. Bazelon also examines the motivation for bullying and how adults, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators can address the problem, whether it’s traditional face-to-face bullying or cyberbullying. She also deconstructs the language of bullying, which teens often refer to as “drama,” and looks at how a teen’s social capital can affect his or her likeliness to be bullied. This very perceptive and accessible work on a topic of increasing relevance is a must-read for any teacher, administrator, or after-school provider for teens and tweens. --Eve Gaus
“Intelligent, rigorous . . . [Emily Bazelon] is a compassionate champion for justice in the domain of childhood’s essential unfairness.”—Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review
“[Bazelon] does not stint on the psychological literature, but the result never feels dense with studies; it’s immersive storytelling with a sturdy base of science underneath, and draws its authority and power from both.”—New York
“A humane and closely reported exploration of the way that hurtful power relationships play out in the contemporary public-school setting . . . As a parent herself, [Bazelon] brings clear, kind analysis to complex and upsetting circumstances.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Bullying isn’t new. But our attempts to respond to it are, as Bazelon explains in her richly detailed, thought-provoking book. . . . Comprehensive in her reporting and balanced in her conclusions, Bazelon extracts from these stories useful lessons for young people, parents and principals alike.”—The Washington Post
“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
“Bullying is misunderstood. Not all conflict between kids is bullying. It isn’t always clear who is the bully and who is the victim. Not all—or even most—kids are involved in bullying. And bullying isn’t the only factor in a child’s suicide, ever. Emily Bazelon, who wrote about the subject for Slate in 2010, here expands her reporting in an important, provocative book about what we can—and can’t—do about the problem.”—The Boston Globe
“In Sticks and Stones . . . journalist and editor Emily Bazelon brings a sure hand and investigative heft to her exploration of bullying, which, in the era of social media, includes both digital and old-fashioned physical cruelty.”—Los Angeles Times
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I was hoping for more solution oriented detail
The author of this book is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, is married and the mother of two sons. This book is a compilation of some research she did on the subject of bullying and possible solutions towards stemming its increase in our public school system. I believe I saw her 19 March 2013 on the DAILY SHOW quoting what she identified as "an academic" (in the book she identified Norwegian psychologist Dan Olweus). This individual's definition of bullying was; "verbal or physical harrassment that occurs repeatedly over time and involves an imbalance of power." Clearly the stories of Monique, Jacob and Flannery which the author spends a lot of time documenting were tragic stories of three more vulnerable young people having suffered the serious effects of bullying. Additionally it seems at least at first the author is very sympathetic towards these individuals.
After reading a number of reviews of this book, it appears there is a great deal of controversy surrounding it. I could not understand what people were struggling with until I read Chapter 6 Flannery. In this chapter, it appears that the author wants to give the perpetrators of bullying a pass because their victims, had either previously or at the time of their bullying, been suffering from emotional problems such as depression and anxiety and thus were more prone to self destructive behavior in the first place. Although she denies it, the author does seem to, at least in strong implication, blame the victims for the bullying they sustained. Ethically I have real problems with this. It seems that in these cases perpetrators should be held MORE responsible and punishment more severe than on bullies who had preyed on more emotionally healthy individuals. Of course one might accuse me of bias because for over 20 years I worked with military families in the area of domestic violence not limited to spousal abuse but including child abuse and neglect, sibling abuse, workplace violence and I guess you could easily include bullying in an area where one of your roles is to protect the victims of abusive behavior. Overall I suspect Chapter 6 was the most controversial.
The book is composed of three parts: Part I:Trouble, Part II:Escalation, Part III:Solutions and Part IV:What Next? This is followed by a secton on Frequently Asked Questions About Bullying and Resources for Readers. There is significant time spent on what has worked in dealing with school bullies and what has not. The book is worth reading if you can get past author bias.
Changing the culture in a school will help improve the respect that students, teachers and administrators hold for each other and will diminish the bullying. But to stop bullying.....
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