Bullying Prevention Toolkit

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and ENACT is as dedicated as ever to increasing awareness, conversations, and prevention of bullying, social combat, and aggressive behavior among students.

what adults should know

resources


 

Remember, for years ENACT has offered various workshops and institutes within schools for students, parents, and teachers which offer creative approaches to understanding, preventing, and responding to bullying.

Click HERE for more information or Contact: info@ENACT.org

Get The Facts

The more you know about bullying the better prepared you are to help a student in need. See below for quick statistics, information, and understanding.

Bullying Basics

Brief Definitions:

Verbal Bullying: Using words, conversations, and verbal communication

Physical Bullying: Using physical violence/aggression or the threat of physical violence/aggression

Relational (Social): Using social connections as a way to bully, influencing others against the victim, and purposefully impacting social relationships

Cyber*: Using social media, apps, and websites as a means to harass and bully

*some resources will list “property damage” instead of “Cyber”, but we have seen and heard from our students over the years that cyber-bullying is real and as harmful as ever.

What Adults Should Know

If you have, teach, or interact with students you can be an important resource to help prevent bullying, respond to aggressive acts, or support students impacted by it. See below for more information and important facts all adults should know.

Bullying Part 2

 

While peers can be strong allies in derailing bullying behavior, students need a guiding force. Remember to talk often with your students about the effects of bullying.

Open conversations and empathetic understanding can help prevent behavior that may lead to bullying.

There are never any “winners” in bullying situations and bullying behaviors are often the result of of insecurities, fear, and potentially trauma.


Students Report the Most Harmful Things Adults Can Do Are:

  • Tell students to handle the problem by themselves
  • Tell students bullying wouldn’t happen to them if they behaved differently
  • Telling students to stop “tattling”
  • Ignoring what is going on

Davis & Nixon, 2010


Resources

 


For years, ENACT has responded to bullying issues by offering various workshops and institutes within schools for students, parents, and teachers. These workshops offer creative approaches to understanding, preventing, and responding to bullying.

We would love to work with you to find the right creative solution for your needs. Click HERE for more information or Contact: info@ENACT.org


If you or somebody else is at risk of immediate harm CALL 911.

If you are being harassed or bullied, find a parent, teacher, or trusted adult to talk to. Look HERE for more suggestions for what to do during and after an incident.

If you need to help a student find someone to talk to, Boys Town offers a free and confidential hotline staffed by trained counselors.

How can you learn more, get support, or find community?

StopBullying.gov

The Bully Project

National Bullying Prevention Center

Born This Way Foundation-Dedicated to building kinder communities and improving mental health resources

It Gets Better Project-Resources for LGBTQ+ youth

Additional Cited Resources:

National Center for Education Statistics, 2016

National Association of School Psychologists

Center for Disease Control 2014 & 2017 (updated from 2015 cite)

Davis & Nixon, 2010

 

2018 Welcome Back Letter from Diana

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I would like to welcome you all back to a new school year after a wonderful milestone anniversary last year for ENACT. Wow! Over 30 years and going strong. With your help, we raised money to provide healthy after-school snacks for our students last year.  We celebrated the students who make our program shine and showed appreciation for the parents, teachers and staff who help our students every day.  Our year culminated in our annual spring performance of Show UP!, featuring students from our year-long dropout prevention program and led by our team of professional actors and drama therapists.

As most of you already know, ENACT uses the power of drama to inspire compassion and empathy in youth as they learn critical social and emotional skills. Our dedicated staff members emphasize self-awareness as a first step to behavior change and positive decision making, both in school and life.  This past Show UP! highlighted content generated by the students and focused on the overwhelming issues that impact our youth in today’s political climate. With their emphasis on safety and resilience during such unsure times, the students inspired all those in attendance to emulate their sense of hope and strength.

Show UP! was introduced by Council Member Daniel Dromm; Hawk Newsome, President of Black Lives Matter Greater New York Chapter; and Cynthia Germanotta, Co-Founder of Born This Way Foundation (Lady Gaga’s mother).

Helping students identify critical life issues and learn to voice their concerns in an empowered manner align perfectly with the Born This Way mission. That’s why we were thrilled when, after seeing Show UP!, the Born This Way team asked us to be a featured partner in their 21 Days to Be Kind Challenge, which encourages all participants to practice an act of kindness daily for the first three weeks of September.  Check it out on our social media and below in “What’s New”!  You might just want to join the Challenge

At the end of last school year, we honored ten senior teaching artists who have worked with me for over 20 years! Our roster of dedicated facilitators also includes 50 highly trained teaching artists and drama therapists. We are delighted that most of this team returns to start a new school year with us this fall.  I am also happy to announce that Greg Cox joined our team this summer, as an experienced COO who is eager to help us set goals that ensure ENACT’s mission reaches more students and continues to have the transformative impact that will always be our hallmark.

Speaking of goals, I am proud that ENACT reached and exceeded most of last year’s targets, including an increased number of teacher and parent workshops, the creation of parent and teacher advisory teams and training a new cohort of teaching artists with an emphasis on understanding and addressing trauma as it is expressed through behavior. We aimed to spread our expertise beyond our schools through publications, institutes, and conferences both nationally and internationally. This year alone we have been invited to present at 8 conferences, hosted 4 specialized Training Institutes, facilitated multiple New York City district-wide workshops, and have two new articles in-review for peer reviewed journals.

So now what?  Well, our current political climate does not seem to have helped improve student learning.  Those who are already marginalized demonstrate that they feel less safe and protected from their already precarious living situations.  Our students face trauma ranging from neighborhood violence to homelessness to bullying of all sorts. Teachers report that students’ behavior interferes with their own sense of safety.  They need more classroom management tools, and guns are not the answer!  The good news is that teachers, some traumatized themselves from the feeling of burnout and overwhelm, can learn tools and gain the support they need with ongoing training while simultaneously having fun and tapping into their own creativity.

Our plans for this year include:

  • Finding new ways to expand nationally and internationally to support teachers and students through new uses of technology.
  • Updating our curriculum with a focus on current issues such as cyber-bullying, diversity/acceptance issues, and violence prevention.
  • Publishing additional journal articles and resources with accessible tools.

Finally, I am always reminded of the many challenges that can fall back into our students’ laps as the school year begins.  I know we will all continue to find ways to spread the message of creating safe and supportive classrooms.  We care about (and dare I say “love”) our youth, which keeps us all going.  I am proud of our community and our belief that helping others can only mean helping ourselves. We look forward to connecting with each of you to continue to make a dramatic difference in our students’ lives.

Warmly,

Diana signature

Diana Feldman

Founder, CEO

A Look into ENACT’s Return Teaching Artist Training

Each year, Enact welcomes our Teaching Artists back with a fall training, focusing on the work being done in the classroom and best practices for how to effectively facilitate our workshops. In addition, this year we are happy to also host Britton Williams, a drama therapist who will be guiding our staff members through her workshop, “Minding Our Biases”. This workshop will explore the impact of assumptions, biases and stereotypes on individuals, relationships, communities, and the therapeutic encounter. The participants will explore the ease of receiving and internalizing messages that influence the way we, as individuals, view the world and others in it. Often, stereotypes and assumptions lock one’s views of others into singular roles or stories. We will explore messages they have received and internalized through historical, social and cultural contexts and how these messages inform personal, professional and clinical relationships. Through the use of drama therapeutic processes, visual art, story, and humor, this workshop will explore ways to allow assumptions and biases to be challenged in service of fostering connection. Tools for working through blank spots and rigid beliefs will be identified and creative ways to continue these conversations in professional and personal communities will be explored.
BW PhotoAbout Britton
Britton Williams, MA, RDT, LCAT, is a registered drama therapist, Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, and psychoanalytic candidate. She currently works in private practice in New York City and in acute care with adults and adolescents at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Britton has published and presented on: the impact of assumptions, biases, and stereotypes on individuals, relationships and communities; creative and embodied approaches to self-assessment; and developing a relational-role theory framework and protocol.

October is Dwarfism Awareness Month!

Reflections by ENACT Teaching Artist  Sofiya Cheyenne Perez

IMG_4201As a teaching artist, an educator, and a theater maker, I can’t help but think about how this world is filled with many connections and relationships. As I think of the importance of connection, I think of my everyday experiences in this world we live in. I stand 4 feet 1 inch tall because I have dwarfism. Every day of my life I have a moment with a stranger, and usually this moment is a teaching moment for them. As I reflect on my teaching artist work, I can’t help but think of one of the first classrooms I ever walked into. I had a few students that were surprised and perplexed by my height. They continued to smile at me and flutter me with (what seemed to be) compliments like: “oh you are so cute” and “oh my goodness are you my teacher?” and “wow how small are you?” I hear whispers as the students sit in their chairs, “oh my god, look it’s a midget”. I quickly realized that my dwarfism was something that I could not ignore in the classroom.  As much as I wanted to continue with the lesson plan and pretend that the ignorance of my students wasn’t there, I just couldn’t. It was absolutely necessary to hold them accountable for their words and educate them on the responsibilities we all have to think and act with empathy and compassion.

So what did I do? Well, part of ENACT’s method uses something we like to call the “Creative Container.” The container is a safe space that we create in the classroom for the students and teachers to feel like they can share openly without judgment or ridicule. The container is the base of a creative and production work environment for the students where we tackle tough life issues and learn to be in relationship with each other. So as we proceeded with the lesson, I discussed the importance of safety in the classroom, and I started with myself. Without making them feel bad or like they did anything wrong, I brought up the fact that some students had just made me feel somewhat unsafe. I tried to create an open conversation about words; how important words are, and how important it is to speak with intention and empathy. I continued to reflect on the idea that sometimes the words that feel safe to us might not be safe for someone else. And that opened up a conversation about “why?” The students wondered “How can my words not be safe to someone else if they’re safe to me?” And this was the learning curve, just opening the possibility for the students to think of how someone might feel differently than them or how their actions might affect others. THIS is how empathy can help us learn about other people’s perspectives.

Empathy, the ability to understand someone else’s feelings or perspective, is the core of what we need for social and emotional learning. I often tell my friends that what I do when I teach with ENACT is simply teach kids empathy. Empathy can be a tool for us to open our minds and our hearts to experience just for one moment what another human being might be feeling or living. So, as I opened up the conversation about safety I made sure that everyone in the room knew that there were a few things that I needed them to know to feel safe in the classroom.

Here are the few things: “Midget is an offensive word.” All of the students let out a gasp! “But why miss?” “I didn’t know that was a bad word to say!” Once again we dove into the conversation about words. “Midget actually comes from the circus and freakshow days when little people were exploited and thought of as objects to put on display. Midget also drives from the word “midge” which means small annoying insect. This word is a term that many in my community feel very oppressed by, similar to other words that other communities feel oppressed by as well. We all have a list of ‘Words We Do Not Say’ in group, so I simply ask the students to add my word to their list. I also continue to ask the students to address me as an adult. “By telling me how cute or tiny or how adorable I am, you are demeaning me as your teacher. I am most likely 10 or 15 years older than you. I would like to be treated with the respect, as I will also respect you”.

And in that moment all of my students have a sigh of relief. As if they feel equal to me because we’ve agreed on mutual respect in our space. As if the safety in the room has now escalated. My honesty, openness and demand for respect made everyone in the room feel safe. I do believe that initial experience helped me become an even better educator today. Without honesty, we have no trust. If our students don’t trust us, how can we assume that they will feel safe? How will they be able to open up to us? How can we let their strengths shine, if we do not give them a space to be fully themselves? It is up to us, the educators, to show that by example. This is why one of my favorite parts of the ENACT method is the container. Because it allows ALL of us, teachers AND students to feel safe in the classroom.

The classroom is a place of deep critical learning,  and we can only learn if we feel free to explore in our most vulnerable place.  If we feel safe and trust the people around us, anything is possible. So, as it is Dwarfism Awareness Month, I share my story with you and hopefully a little bit of new knowledge. And I leave you with a promise: That as a teaching artist for ENACT and as an educator here in New York City, I will always be sure that my students feel safe, and I’ll make sure I feel safe too.

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A Mindfulness Initiative at ENACT’s Partner School, KGIA

by ENACT Site Director Rebecca Elkin-Young

Thanks to successful crowd source funding, the ENACT program at Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) was able to obtain materials to launch a Mindfulness Initiative. So many of our students are directly effected by the stresses of current immigration policy and all of the students are experiencing the emotional toll of the general state of our country. I see these anxieties manifested in student behavior. The Mindfulness Initiative is an effort to give students new resources with which to manage stress. The KGIA ENACT office now has a “meditation corner” which includes a cozy bean bag chair, meditation cushions, a water fountain, a Tibetan singing bowl, Himalayan salt lamps, relaxing sound machine, and an essential oil diffuser. We have also stocked our shelves with books on mindfulness, therapeutic mandala coloring, and mindfulness and positive affirmation card games.
The students were instantly fascinated by these items that many of them had never encountered before. Introducing students to new ways to cope also allows them to be more tolerant of each other and to open their minds to ways that different cultures manage stress, remain grounded, and incorporate ritual to create structure, safety, and comfort. Because this project supports teaching tolerance in that way, an anonymous donor doubled all donations made thus getting us to our goal even sooner!! The initiative aligns with ENACT’s mission to meet the students where they are and create a safe(r) space in which to breathe and express themselves openly. By offering this environment, students may be more able to be present and engaged in their academics and more likely to show up in school rather than skip when they are feeling overwhelmed. One student stated “This office feels like home” and a few others present agreed. In a time when the concept of “home” is on shaky ground for so many of our students, this made it all worth it.

Where can you find ENACT outside the classroom?

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Look for us in:

NYC at the Museum of Jewish Heritage for the Inclusion Practices, Partnerships and Possibilities Conference
October 27

Afternoon Breakout Session: Inclusive Spaces, Inclusion Teaching: What We Can Learn About Inclusion From Community-based Arts Education Partnerships

Washington D.C. for the 22nd Annual Center for School Mental Health Conference
October 19th-21st

Saturday Morning: Good Play/Bad Play: Drama Therapy with Put-At-Risk Youth

In this trauma-informed workshop, participants will use case studies, ENACT’s signature role-play, and active exploration to learn about working with put-at-risk youth in challenging situations through both interactive and didactic means.

Boston, MA for the 38th Annual North American Drama Therapy Association Conference
October 26th-29th

Sunday Morning: Trauma in Our Schools: Three Approaches Addressing Widespread Trauma in K-12 Schools

Witness a conversation between ENACT, CANY, and the ALIVE program at the PTSC, three organizations using signature methods with thousands of K-12 students in public schools.