Stand by Me: Empowering Bystanders to End Bullying in School - Psychology
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Full Book Title: Stand by Me: Empowering Bystanders to End Bullying in Schools
Author Name: Christine R. Cohen
Book Synopsis: Stand by Me is a unique anti-bullying program that teaches student bystanders what to do when they see bullying happen. Designed and piloted in public schools, it provides simple training, ease of use, data for decision-making, and demonstrated effectiveness. Once trained, faculty sponsors provide ongoing training on participating campuses, so the program is easy to maintain despite personnel changes. In a few simple steps, Stand by Me teaches students when and how to intervene with the victims of bullying. The emphasis on the program is to assist the victim and ignore the bully. The structure of the program creates a school community where students who engage in bullying behavior and others with discipline history are given opportunities for leadership if they stay discipline free and participate in community service. They are broadly supported by their peers for doing so. There is a membership process, not to exclude students, but to ensure commitment on the part of those applying, and to invite the participation of parents and the student's community. The process of application is the beginning of training, teaching students to persevere and to speak up in unfamiliar situations. Student members engage in ongoing discussions of their experiences, collect data on their interventions, and submit both data and suggestions to administrators as a result of regular meetings with their sponsor. Administrators can then plan staffing patterns based on that data, and talk with students before patterns of behavior become severe. For schools, this is an inexpensive, self-sustaining, data-based program, that empowers students, involves parents, and has demonstrable success. Once students are trained, they act. In the four years of the pilot program, student members logged over 4000 interventions.
Author Bio: Christine R. Cohen, PhD, LSSP, is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology who provides contracted psychological services for public school districts through her company, East Texas Educational Contracting, P.C. A graduate of the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, she retired from Terrell ISD in 2014, after serving as their autism coordinator for 18 years. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her family.