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Department of Defense Dependents Schools in the Pacific address student bullying and teasing in a variety of ways. Here’s a look:

GUAM

Andersen Middle School started a peer facilitation class last fall to teach students how to settle disputes peacefully, according to school officials. Students who complete the course become certified peer mediators. The class recently participated in an islandwide peace conference with more than 200 middle and high school students. The group will incorporate lessons learned into training for the entire student body that will culminate with a peace rally on Jan. 19.

JAPAN

¶ Sullivans Elementary School, Yokosuka: Several programs to address bullying prevention are in place, school officials said, including the 2nd Step Program for all grade levels and STEPS to RESPECT for grades four and five. Peer mediation training began this year to teach students how to work with other kids to solve conflicts. Character education is part of the curriculum.

¶ Cummings Elementary School, Misawa: The school counselor works with small groups and individuals to identify bullies and victims, according to school officials. With the victims, the counselor works on “assertiveness,” while with the bully she focuses on “pro-social” behaviors and anger management. Children also can peruse “peace kits” that contain strategies for resolving conflict.

¶ Yokota East Elementary School: Several Friends’ Clubs meet twice a month to help students learn and practice ways of getting along with others, school officials said. Students are selected to participate by a teacher, another adult, or can be self-referred. Fifth-graders are working on short skits about bullying that will be presented to the school.

¶ Yokota West Elementary School: The school has adopted a curriculum that empowers students to create rules for their school, identify student behaviors and the feelings that result and explore the courage needed to face bullies, according to school officials.

¶ Shirley Lanham Elementary School, Atsugi: School counselors cover the topic at least every nine weeks and upon request from teachers. Additionally, teachers consistently emphasize appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and are encouraged to maintain effective communication with parents to avoid such issues, according to school officials.

SOUTH KOREA

Peter Grenier, assistant superintendent of DODDS-Pacific’s Korea District schools, started meeting with faculty and parent groups last fall to talk about bullying. His PowerPoint presentation lists types of bullying behaviors and provides tips to educators, kids and parents on how to deal with bullies. Each presentation ends with a video of Peter, Paul and Mary performing the song “Don’t Laugh at Me” meant to heighten awareness of the pain a bully can cause and encourage viewers to treat others with kindness and respect.

A conversation with a parent last spring at Taegu American School sparked the idea for the anti-bully forums, Grenier said. Some juniors were taunting a couple eighth-graders and parents were concerned, he said.

“We decided we would take a proactive stance,” he said.

Two more forums are planned this month: Seoul Elementary School, Jan. 18 — Parent Night — at 6:30 p.m., and Osan High School, time and date to be announced.

Coping with bullies ...

Tips for parents

¶ Listen to your child’s concerns

¶ Stay involved in your child’s activities

¶ Model and teach problem solving, respecting others, and empathy

¶ Boost your child’s self-esteem through a variety of activities

¶ Tell school officials if you are aware of a bullying incident

Tools for children

¶ Get help

¶ Assert yourself by saying, “Leave me alone”

¶ Use humor or say, “so” or “why” repeatedly

¶ Avoid troublemakers

¶ Use self-talk in a positive way to help make a plan

¶ Believe in you and don’t allow yourself to behave like a bully

Source: Compiled by DODDS Pacific Korea school district for faculty and parent anti-bullying forums.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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