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Section 6
Creating an 'Anti-Meanness' Club

Question 6 | Test | Table of Contents

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In the last section, we discussed helping parents understand the nature of the bullying a student is experiencing by discussing five types of bullying victims.  These five types of victims are the one dimensional victim, the physically challenged victim, the passive loner victim, the aggressive loner victim, and the accidental victim.

In this section... we will discuss two concepts for helping students work together to deal with bullying at school.  These two concepts are intervening, and the anti-meanness test.

2 Concepts for Helping Students Work Together

♦ Concept #1: Intervening

A first concept concerning helping students work together to deal with bullying at school is intervening. Remember Brandy from the last section?  Brandy successfully started an "Anti-Meanness" club with a few of her closest friends.  Brandy stated, "The group is going well, we really encourage each other!  But I wish I knew how to share the progress we’ve been making with other kids who get bullied."

I stated to Brandy, "Having your anti-meanness group can help when you see or hear someone being bullied.  Let’s role play an example to see how working as a team can help other students.  What is an example of bullying that you have observed?"

Brandy stated, "Well, there’s this girl Karen who just moved to our school.  She’s really nice, and is trying to be friendly with everyone.  The other day, this boy named Max dropped one of his books, and Karen picked it up.  He just turned around and yelled, ‘I don’t want help from no black person!’"

♦ Technique: The Golden Nugget
I stated to Brandy, "You could use the Golden Nugget technique on Max, just like you would if he was bullying you.  If you can see a golden nugget of truth or positivity in Max’s comment, you can use the golden nugget.  For example, you might say, ‘Gosh, Max, I had no idea it isn’t cool to get help from black people.  Tell me where you got that thought from!’  Using this golden nugget might distract him from bullying Karen, and encourage him to think about his prejudice."

Brandy stated, "That sounds ok, but I’m worried that Karen wouldn’t understand what we were doing.  What if she thought Max’s comments were cool?"

I replied, "Well, that’s where having a friend from your Anti-Meanness club comes in.  While you talk to Max, your friend can approach Karen and take her aside.  This gives your friend a chance to explain to Karen what is happening, and also prevents her from hearing any more vicious comments.  Your friend could say something to Karen like, ‘Isn’t it sad that some white people don’t know how great black people are?’"

♦ Concept #2: The Anti-Meaness Test
In addition to intervening, a second concept regarding helping students work together to deal with bullying is the "anti-meanness" test.  I stated to Brandy, "Sometimes, it can be helpful to practice role-playing anti-bullying techniques together, so that you can get used to using the techniques in a safe setting.  You might all take turns being the bully and the bullied, and have everyone else observe to help the role-players out.  Together, you can evaluate how effectively the person being bullied used the techniques.  One way to evaluate together is to use the Anti-Meanness test."

I explained to Brandy that the Anti-Meanness test has two parts. 

1. For the first part, the group asks, "Does this comment use any insults, put-downs, advice, disagreements, "shoulds", "you statements", accusations, lectures, opinions, or explanations to handle the meanness?"  Clearly, if the statement does, the group may want to work together to help revise the role play response to exclude the less constructive elements.

2. For the second part of the anti-meanness test, the group asks "Does this comment use compliments, questions, agreements, golden nuggets, I-statements, feedback, reversers, tone twisters, disconnects, game-players, block, pushers, or humor to handle meanness?"  I stated to Brandy, "If the role play used these techniques, the group can help reinforce the positive choice of words by giving praise and positive feedback."

I explained to Brandy that by practicing using the anti-meanness test, she and her friends could be much better prepared for encounters with bullying and meanness at school.  I stated, "It’s important to remind each other that even with practice, you will get stuck sometimes, and that’s ok.  You can look back later, when you feel more calm and more safe.  If you can’t decide on a better response yourself, your anti-meanness group can help you.  I think it can help to remember that most bullies are not very clever with their insults, and they usually repeat themselves.  So, if you figure out what you should have said, you’ll probably get a chance to use the response you come up with in the future."

Think of your Brandy.  Would intervening or the anti meanness test and role playing help her or him deal more effectively with bullies at school?

In this section... we have discussed  two concepts for helping students work together to deal with bullying at school.  These two concepts are, intervening, and the anti-meanness test and role playing.

In the next section... we will discuss three methods for helping students cope with doubts they may have regarding making a commitment to stand up to bullies.  These methods are, Making a Commitment, Airing Doubts, and the Opposites technique.

- Migliaccio, T., & Raskauskas, J. (Apr 2013). Small-Scale Bullying Prevention Discussion Video for Classrooms: A Preliminary Evaluation. Children & Schools, 35(2), 71-81.

- Morrison, C. T. (April 2009). "What Would You Do, What If It’s You?" Strategies to Deal With a Bully. Journal of School Health, 79(4), 201.

QUESTION 6
What are the concepts for helping students work together to deal with bullying?To select and enter your answer go to Test.


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