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THE MARLEY FAMILY LOVES THIS ANTI-BULLYING ORGANIZATION

THE LEADERS OF NO BULLY SHARE THEIR METHODS AND TRIUMPHS.BOB MARLEY’S ICONIC LYRICS FOR “GET UP, STAND UP” TAKE ON A POWERFUL ANTI-BULLYING MEANING IN CEDELLA MARLEY’S NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK; THE WORDS ARE ALSO EMBLAZONED ON OUR NEW “MOMMY AND ME” SHIRTS IN ADULT, CHILD, AND TODDLER SIZES. A PORTION OF PROCEEDS FROM THE BOOK AND SHIRTS GO TO NO BULLY, AN INCREDIBLE NONPROFIT THAT PARTNERS WITH SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ERADICATE BULLYING. WE SAT DOWN WITH THE ORGANIZATION’S VP OF EDUCATION, KATHY GREY, AND SENIOR VP OF DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGY, ERIK STANGVIK, WHO TOLD US ALL ABOUT THEIR EFFECTIVE, COMPASSIONATE WORK.  

 

Q: WHAT AGES ARE THE KIDS THAT YOU WORK WITH, AND WHICH AGE GROUP GETS THE MOST OUT OF THE PROGRAM?

A: WE WORK WITH KIDS FROM EARLY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. WHEN WE BEGIN WORK AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL, THOSE KIDS LEARN SKILLS THAT THEY WILL TAKE WITH THEM INTO MIDDLE SCHOOLS, WHEN SOCIAL ISOLATION REALLY CAN BE PROBLEMATIC. BUT EACH LEVEL, K-12, BENEFITS FROM OUR PROGRAM. WHEN WE WORK IN THE DISTRICT AT ALL GRADE LEVELS—THAT’S WHEN WE SEE HUGE BENEFITS AROUND THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

 

Q: SO THAT’S THE IDEAL, TO WORK WITH THE DISTRICT ACROSS ALL GRADE LEVELS. IS THAT BECAUSE FAMILIES WITH KIDS OF DIFFERENT AGES START TALKING AROUND THE TABLE?

A: THEY ARE CERTAINLY TALKING AROUND THE TABLE, USING THE SAME LANGUAGE, AND THEY HAVE THE SAME SKILL SETS. THEY UNDERSTAND THE DEFINITIONS OF BULLYING AND HARASSMENT AND CONFLICT, AND HOW THEY DIFFER FROM ONE ANOTHER. THEY UNDERSTAND THAT BULLYING IS REPEATED, AND THERE’S A POWER DIFFERENTIAL. PARENTS HAVE THE TOOLS TO HELP THEM COACH THEIR CHILD SO THEY DON’T BECOME A TARGET, OR A BULLY. AND WHEN PARENTS ARE AT A DINNER PARTY, THEY CAN BE ON THE SAME PAGE AS OTHER PARENTS WITH LANGUAGING. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE SCHOOL STAFF IS ON THE SAME PAGE, TOO.

 

Q: IF I’M A PARENT CONCERNED ABOUT BULLYING IN MY KIDS’ SCHOOL, HOW WOULD I GET NO BULLY INVOLVED?

A: AS AN ORGANIZATION, IT COSTS US $15,000 TO RUN A YEAR-LONG PROGRAM IN A SCHOOL. SOMETIMES THE PTA COMES UP WITH THAT FUNDING, BUT THERE ARE ALSO GRANTS AND SPONSORSHIPS. WE ARE HAPPY TO BRING A PARENT AND GUARDIAN WORKSHOP TO THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY SO THAT PARENTS GET TOOLS TO HELP THEIR KIDS RIGHT AWAY. THIS WORKSHOP CAN BE PROVIDED OUTSIDE OF THE FULL PARTNERSHIP, AS A STAND-ALONE SESSION. 

 

A PERFECT EXAMPLE IS THE WORK WE DO WITH ESPN AND MLB. LAST YEAR WE WERE IN PITTSBURGH, WHERE ESPN AND MLB PICKED UP THE TAB FOR 11 SCHOOLS, AND THE PITTSBURG DISTRICT PICKED UP AN ADDITIONAL 11 SCHOOLS. WE’VE ALSO BEEN WORKING WITH HASBRO FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS: THEY’VE BEEN SUPPORTING NO BULLY IN RHODE ISLAND SCHOOLS, AND THEY’VE BEEN SO GOBSMACKED BY OUR PROGRAM THAT THEIR GOAL IS TO HAVE NO BULLY IN ALL SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND.  

 

Q: COULD YOU SHARE SPECIFIC ANECDOTES THAT ILLUMINATE THE WORK YOU DO?

A: I WAS JUST IN COLORADO, WORKING WITH THE PUEBLO CITY SCHOOL DEPARTMENT. I WAS IN A CONFERENCE ROOM WHEN THE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDANT STOPS BY TO RAVE ABOUT OUR WORK. SHE’S BEEN THERE TWO OF THE FOUR YEARS WE’VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE DISTRICT, AND SHE SAID SHE HAS NEVER SEEN A CULTURE SHIFT HAPPEN AS EFFECTIVELY AS THE ONE SHE HAS SEEN IN PUEBLO’S SCHOOLS THROUGH OUR WORK. THAT’S THE KIND OF FEEDBACK WE GET WITH FREQUENCY. 

 

I RECENTLY HEARD FROM A SOCIAL WORKER AT ONE OF OUR RHODE ISLAND SCHOOLS, WHO HAS BEEN WORKING IN THE DISTRICT FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS. SHE SAID SHE’S NEVER SEEN A PROGRAM THAT TARGETS AND PREVENTS BULLYING AS WELL AS NO BULLY. SHE SAID IT’S CREATED A CULTURE WHERE THE KIDS ARE LOOKING OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER, AND THEY STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER. 

 

THERE WAS A STUDENT BUDDY PROGRAM IN RHODE ISLAND, AND SOME OF THE COMMENTS I HEARD FROM STUDENTS WERE HEARTWARMING: “THERE’S MORE KINDNESS AND PEACEFULNESS IN OUR SCHOOLS,” AND, “WE CHALLENGE OURSELVES TO TALK ABOUT HARD SUBJECTS.” ONE EIGHTH GRADE GIRL IN PAWTUCKET, R.I., SAID, “I ALWAYS FELT ON THE OUTSIDE. BUT THROUGH THIS WORK, PEOPLE ARE TALKING TO ME. THEY AREN’T AFRAID TO BRING ME INTO THEIR CIRCLE. FOR THE FIRST TIME, I FELT WELCOME AT MY SCHOOL.” 

 

Q: DO YOU HAVE ONE HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE FOR KIDS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT BULLYING—PERHAPS COMMON MISTAKES KIDS MAKE, OR HOW TO BE PROACTIVE?

A: IT’S FIRST ABOUT UNDERSTANDING YOU HAVE THAT VOICE WITHIN YOU. WHEN YOU SEE BULLYING BEHAVIOR, YOU NEED TO DECIDE THE BEST WAY TO HELP THAT PERSON WHO IS BEING BULLIED. IT ISN’T ALWAYS INTERRUPTING THE BULLYING. SOMETIMES KIDS DON’T FEEL SECURE ENOUGH TO DO THAT. IT MIGHT PUT THEM IN HARM’S WAY. IN THAT CASE, FIND A TRUSTED ADULT AND EXPLAIN WHAT YOU SAW, AND THEN DECIDE TOGETHER THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION. BY FINDING THAT ADULT, YOU’RE NOT JUST BEING A BYSTANDER, YOU’RE BEING AN UPSTANDER, BECAUSE YOU’VE TRIED TO RESOLVE THAT ISSUE. 

 

WHEN WE WORK WITH SCHOOLS, PART OF OUR WORK IS DEVELOPING A SOCIAL VISION, AND THAT VISION IS WOVEN WITHIN THE FABRIC OF THIS SCHOOL. HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF A SOCIAL VISION: “AT KENT MIDDLE SCHOOL, WE ARE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. WE ARE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE.” IF A CHILD FEELS SAFE ENOUGH, IF THEY CAN WALK UP TO THE PERSON AND SAY, “THAT’S NOT KIND. THAT’S NOT COOL TO DO HERE.” AND THEN THEY CAN SAY TO THE KID WHO’S GETTING BULLIED, “HEY, COME WALK WITH ME,” AND IN THAT WAY, HELP REMOVE THAT KID FROM THE SITUATION. THEY MIGHT GET A FRIEND TO GO WALK OVER WITH THEM BECAUSE THERE’S CAMARADERIE AND STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. WE KNOW THERE’S A 10-SECOND RULE. IF AN INDIVIDUAL INTERRUPTS DISRESPECTFUL OR BULLYING BEHAVIOR WITHIN 10 SECONDS OF IT STARTING, IT WILL STOP. WE KNOW THAT. BUT IT TAKES COURAGE TO DO IT. 

 

Q: YOUR WEBSITE SAYS, “INDEPENDENT RESEARCH DEMONSTRATES THAT EDUCATORS TRAINED AS SOLUTION COACHES ARE ABLE TO STOP INCIDENTS OF BULLYING 90% OF THE TIME.” COULD YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU GOT THAT STATISTIC?

A: WE ARRANGE “SOLUTION TEAMS,” WHICH ARE GROUPS OF STUDENTS BROUGHT TOGETHER TO RESOLVE A BULLYING SITUATION ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER STUDENT. THE SOLUTIONS ARE COMING FROM THE STUDENTS, WHICH IS WHY THEY WORK. IT’S NOT AN ADULT TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO. THE SOLUTION COACH COMPLETES A LOG THAT KEEPS EVERYONE ON TRACK, SO THEY KNOW WHAT’S BEEN SAID AND WHAT’S HAPPENED. THOSE LOGS ARE SUBMITTED TO AN INDEPENDENT EVALUATOR, AND THAT’S WHERE THE 90% COMES FROM. 

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, AT THE SAME TIME WE’VE BEEN WORKING TO WEAVE IN A SOCIAL VISION INTO THE COMMUNITY, SO THERE IS LESS BULLYING TO BEGIN WITH. 

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON CEDELLA MARLEY’S BOOK, HOW SHE INTERPRETED HER DAD’S ICONIC LYRICS INTO AN ANTI-BULLYING MESSAGE?

A: CEDELLA MARLEY HAS BUILT THE LYRICS OF AN ICONIC SONG INTO A PICTURE BOOK THAT GIVES KIDS THE IDEA THAT THEY HAVE A VOICE. AND IN FINDING THEIR OWN VOICE, THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO STAND UP AND ACT COURAGEOUSLY. AND IT’S COOL. I’VE BEEN SHOCKED AT HOW MANY YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW BOB MARLEY’S WORK. CEDELLA BRINGS THIS PASSION—SHE’S ABLE TO SEE WHERE THERE’S A NEED, AND IS TRYING TO FILL SOME OF THOSE GAPS. CAPTURING THAT VOICE AND BEING ABLE TO MAKE IT COOL TO STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, SHE’S CAPTURED THAT BEAUTIFULLY. 


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