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Elementary School Sends Kids Home With Victim-Blaming Flyer On Bullying

Lincoln Public Schools (Nebraska) is investigating the origins of a anachronistic flyer sent home with Zeman Elementary fifth graders last week. Intended for parents, the flyer basically rests the problem of bullying on the shoulders of victims and included these heinous "rules":

  • Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?
  • Rule #8: Don't be a sore loser.
  • Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get "hooked" by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: "If you think I'm ugly, you should see my sister!"

Parents understandably flooded Zeman's Facebook page complaining about the "rules" that seem more appropriate for Putin's Russia. The deluge of outrage prompted an official response on Facebook from the school, which contained a comment from Principal Donna Williams:

A flyer that contained inaccurate information regarding how to handle bullying situations was sent home with Zeman Elementary School fifth-graders.


Our educators at Zeman Elementary School work hard to provide accurate and appropriate lessons and education for our students in how to handle bullying situations. The flyer was sent home with good intentions, unfortunately, it contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents.

The school's Facebook post also revised the flyer to include advice for bullying victims more appropriate for this century.

Zeman's choice to extend a Facebook olive branch to parents upset by the school's idiocy didn't work for some, however. "Ok so parents got a letter," writes one commenter. "Good start, but not the most important aspect of this! My question is: What have the students who were given bad information been told? Have they all been instructed that this was bad information and been given good information? Or is that being left to the parents?"

For its part, Lincoln Public Schools (which oversees Zeman Elementary) insists the flyer was not approved by the district and has apologized for its disbursement. "We apologize for any problems or confusion this has caused for students and families," reads a statement from the district. "We have added a link to our webpage where you will find 'The Facts About Bullying,' which contains our best advice for parents."

"We use a lot of different resources, we pull materials form a lot of different places that are research based and published," said Counselors Coordinator for LPS, Brenda Leggiadro. "The pamphlet that went out has some strategies that might be used in some situations. I think it's safe to say that all of those strategies are not part of our program." 

Fortunately, other LPS staff have confirmed that a visit will be made to Zeman's fifth grade class to explain the situation and provide the district-approved methods for dealing with bullying.

(h/t: KETV)



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Bullying is NOT ok.   Teaching kids to "deal with it" rather than reporting it is not helping the problem, it is grown-ups AVOIDING the problem.    A no-tolerance policy towards bullying is necessary.    Of course, when gay folks aren't safe on the job, how can we expect kids to be safe at school?

Thank you! I agree 100%!

that is why friends and family members of bullied children must take the law into their own hands.

like the good book says "vengeance is mine"

"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." Which means to NOT be take the law into your own hands. Another person misinterpreting the bible to mean whatever they want it to....

Even the school's response doesn't seem to address the main reason why this is a major fail. "Strategies" for bullied kids to avoid being bullied, even if they're effective, send a message that it's the bulllied kids who are the problem.  I wonder what "strategies" are being implemented to help bullies stop bullying?  

Colin, are you for real???

Looks like pretty good advice to me.  Kids need to learn to deal with being bullied.  People being mean is a part of life and the more we encourage kids to learn how to cope for it and provide them with healthy ways to manage the situation instead of telling on one another, the better prepared they'll be for the real world.

Kids also need to learn that there are consequences for unacceptable behavior, like bullying. Hey Colin, where do your kids go to school? I want to fund someone to bully them. Then we'll see if your outlook changes. But then, you strike me as someone who would tell his own child to "stop being a baby" and to "be a man".

It's because people like this procreate that we have problems with youth these days.

Colin - I'm guessing you weren't bullied at school if that's your attitude towards the problem.  

Your views sound like those of a bully to me...

How about we encourage kids not to be mean?  

WHAT? You DO know that many kids have committed suicide because of bullying, right? Is that how they should "handle" it????? Let's all go out and blame the victims and let the bullies do what they like!

How many is "many?" Kids commit suicide over all sorts of bullshit because they take things way too seriously. This bullying bandwagon has gone way too far. Kids need to learn how to deal with a variety of situations without it becoming a federal case. 

You do read newspapers or get news off the net right? You haven't seen any of the numerous stories of kids killing themselves because of bullying? I don't have the exact number but there were far too many. I guess you have zero compassion for kids being bullied so badly and mercilessly that killing themselves seems to be the only way out. Who are you to say the kids have "deal" with it alone? These are CHILDREN for Christs sake! They aren't adults and don't have the knowledge and strength that we have to stand up to it. And no one is saying that they should make a Federal case out of it, Just telling a parent, a school official or some authority figure should be enough to calm things down. I find it more than a little disturbing that kids are killing themselves but you seem to think its OK. 

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