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|Cops talking to kids in an assembly - Topics include anti-Bullying tactics
for school, church, etc, as well as how do deal with Cyber bullying.
|| Children Say NO to Bullying
LAPD / Monica Harmon present Anti-Bullying program for kids
EDITOR'S NOTE: The actions taken by community members can make a BIG difference. Here's an update on our good friend Monica Harmon's ongoing Anti-Bullying Campaign that she's been presenting all across Los Angeles in partnership with LAPD.
Bullying Assembly At Murchison Elementary
Students Pledge To Stop
The Voice Community News
Monica Harmon, a long time LAPD volunteer and Public Safety Advocate has been making presentations on Anti-Bullying at public schools, parks and town hall meetings for about a year now.
| These eye opening presentations on ‘Bullying” have caught the attention of the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Uniﬁed School District and many community members throughout the City of Los Angeles.|
Last month she embarked to Murchison Elementary just outside of Ramona Gardens Housing Projects, where most of the kids who attend this school live. THE VOICE COMMUNITY NEWS attended the school assembly and witnessed eager students begin to ﬁle in the auditorium.
There were several LAPD Ofﬁcers which are assigned to the Ramona Gardens Projects at the assembly. Many Ofﬁcers greeted students as they walked into the auditorium. Some students passed by with a smile giving “High Fives” to the Ofﬁcers.
The assembly began with Harmon asking the students, “How many of you know what Bullying is?” - Most students raised their hands.
She then asked if the students, “Have you seen it happen at school?” Again most students raised their hands. Harmon then said, “We are here today to change that behavior!”
In recent years, Bullying has been brought to the forefront of society due to the fact that media outlets have highlighted various tragic deaths as a result of Bullying.
There have been several cases across the country and the world where kids commit suicide, plan massive attacks or bomb threats focused on killing others because of Bullying. It’s happening at schools, churches, and the workplace.
Harmon ask the kids at the assembly which were 4th and 5 graders, “How many of them had a cell phone?”
Nearly 90% of the students raised their hands. Harmon then asked, “How many have a Facebook account? ” LAPD Officers, teachers and this reporter were all surprised to the overwhelming amount of students that had Facebook accounts (Nearly 95% of the students.)
Harmon then asked, “How many of you use text, or messaging?” Just about everyone again raised their hands.
The fact is most students (even elementary students) are using social media, computers, cell phones, texting, messaging, to communicate with friends, utilizing APPs such as Facebook, Foursquare, and MySpace, and hundreds of other programs available to communicate over the internet.
|LAPD speaks to children and youngsters on
how to address harassment of others
||Today, Bullying has carried over into cyberspace which is more difficult to control because of its rapid communication, rumors can spread at lightning speeds, reaching hundreds, thousands, to millions, seeing it happen and sharing or tweeting to it to others in their social groups, the process is repeated many times over, most people who share it are not aware that they are enabling the Bullies to continue these antics to hurt someone.
Harmon’s presentation addressed several types of Bullying both in person and by Cyber Bullying (utilizing computers, the internet, and cell phones.)
The problem or danger here is that many parents are not computer literate or internet savvy to know what there kids are doing or who they are texting or messaging, and many may not even be aware of this happening.
Most parents buy the phone for their kids as a safety mechanism to call home in case of an emergency. The technology in our world has changed and evolved, yet the education on how to use or not use these emerging technologies is so far behind.
Harmon said, “There are no courses designed to educate anyone on what to do and not do when it comes to social media.”
There is a global ﬁght against bullying, not to take it, not to promote it, not to engage in it. More people are taking notice after being exposed to it via presentations such as Harmon’s.
Even celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Kobe Bryant, have made public service announcements which focuses on bullying telling fans that it is not a game, it is no laughing matter.
The biggest bully in the world…
The school culture across the country is part of the problem, as school ofﬁcials across the country try to cover up or downplay bullying incidents. Harmon’s presentation is strong and to the point, and gets the message across that Bullying should never be tolerated or taken lightly. The presentation given by Harmon highlights several occasions where bullying happens, at home, at school, at work, with classmates, friends and family members and coworkers.
The presentation educated ALL in the attendance, students, teachers, administrators, police ofﬁcers and this reporter.
It gave example on how a simple comment may often be disregarded by teachers and administrators where it is not addressed or reported. These bullying incidents can even involve the teachers and staff (which do not realize of being part of the problem), it can escalate to where an entire class will begin to Bully someone thinking it is funny, not knowing the harm they can cause the individual that is the being singled out.
Bullying is misunderstood
Not everyone is on the same page or can agree what constitutes Bullying.
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior that is intentional, hurtful (physical and psychological) and /or threatening and persistent often repeated.
Examples of Physical Bullying are:
Hitting, slapping, elbowing , shouldering, shoving someone in a hurtful or embarrassing way, kicking, taking, stealing, damaging, defacing belongings of another, restraining, and pinching.
Examples of Verbal Bullying:
Name calling, insulting remarks or put downs, repeated teasing, Racist remarks, gender remarks, harassment, threats and intimidation.
Examples of Indirect Bullying
Destroying relationships, destroying some ones reputation, humiliation and embarrassment, intimidation, gossiping, spreading nasty and malicious rumors and live about someone, hurtful grafﬁti, exclusion of someone from a group or social club, stealing boyfriends/girlfriends, making facial expressions, treating gestures, taunting, insulting, glares, dirty looks, nasty jokes, notes being passed around.
Example of Cyber Bullying:
Negative text messages on cell phones, email, or voicemail messages, mean telephone calls or verbal threats. Cyber Bullying is most common among children ages 12 to 17, but it may also involve adults. Adults accused of harassing children or teens are generally referred to as cyber-harassers or cyberstalkers.
As our world evolves to electronic communication children are being exposed to it at a young age as most adolescents have an e-social life.
Teens and by the poll Harmon used at the assembly even younger kids use the Internet for school work, cell phones to communicate, social networks to post content or schedule events, and mobile devices to stay connected with their peers.
Unfortunately, even legislation governing the use of social or mobile media has not kept pace, thus leaving law enforcement at a disadvantage when encountering such cases.
What can you do to stop it?
Here are some tips that community members can do:
Share and this article with friends, family members and coworkers. Educate yourself on what laws pertain in this state, county and city ordinances.
Collaborate with school administrators and Parent Teacher Student Associations, Neighborhood Watch Groups. Work with each other to develop clear and responsive policies on the use of electronic media on and off campus, on how students can safely report Cyber Bullying, and on what remedies are available for suspects and victims. This policy also should deﬁne the roles of school and law enforcement ofﬁcials, outline penalties for students and educators who ignore it, and detail parental notification.
Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Human Resource staff at the place of employment should all be educated on Bullying.
Many people often experience bullying as a passive witness and do not engage intervene because a lack of knowledge, if more people would put themselves in the shoes of the person being bullied, they would not do it or tolerate it.
At the end of Harmon’s presentation at Murchison, she had all the students stand up and make a pledge to create the change and asked the students to repeat the following phrases;
|“I am a strong student, I’m a leader, I will treat others with respect, I refuse to bully others, I promise to tell an adult when I see bullying, I refuse to watch, I refuse to laugh, I refuse to join in, I will be a good role model, I will not make others feel bad, I’m a do something person, not a do nothing person, I will help change my school, sticking up for someone is the right thing to do, I will not post negative comments on the computer, I will stand up and speak out against bullying, and I will make a difference in my school”
The kids clapped, cheered and gave high ﬁves to each other. Teachers were grateful for the presentation.
Martha Cisneros a community member who came to listen to the presentations said, “This presentation was full of passion, very educational, and a eye opener for all of us here today.”
We also spoke with Antonio Torres, a ﬁfth grade teacher at Murchison, who brought his class to listen to this presentation. Torres said, “The presentation was informative, I think it sends a clear concise message to the kids who are Bullying and at the same time empower kids to step up and let them know it is not right to Bully someone. I think the kids will bring up many questions in our follow up in class and we will have dialog on problems that maybe some kids have been having at school,” said Torres.
I asked Torres what he thought when Harmon asked the kids if they have witnessed Bullying at this school and overwhelmingly everyone raised their hand.
Torres replied, “I think we are not isolated to this problem and I believe all schools have it. This presentation has made me more alert of the problems that can occur at school and I will deﬁnitely pay closer attention to kids conversations and I think the kids will take this information with them to their homes, this presentation is powerful and could help our entire community.” Torres also mentioned,“I was very surprised to hear our kids had Facebook accounts, and Harmon pointing out that kids may have two accounts, one that mom and dad know about and others that their friends use to keep things from their parents.”
Torres also commented, “We have a policy at this school that all phones should be turned off, and they should not be utilizing a phone at all, if we catch anyone using one, it will be taken away from the student.”
The day after the presentation, Harmon followed up with an email which stated, “I would like to thank the Hollenbeck Area Community Safety Partnership Ofﬁcers for attending the Anti Bullying Assembly at Murchison Elementary School yesterday. In the last few weeks 5 US Teens have committed suicide because of Bullying, and 65 since 2009.”
Harmon sees the trend of Bullying increasing and is taking preventive measures to stop it. If you want Harmon to present at your school, church or Town Hall meeting you can contact THE VOICE COMMUNITY NEWS.