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Here are a few excerpts from articles printed almost daily on the epidemic of smoking, bullying, violence and vandalism in our country today. It is easy to see how the confidence, health and self esteem, of millions of our children, can be damaged for a lifetime. If the problem is not addressed early in life, it will literally destroy the fabric of our entire society.


Little Bullies Become Concern

Some older bullies were "Barbie brats " first. A survey last year which included over 150 educators, and 25% indicated that bullying occurs most in elementary schools. Research also indicates that three-quarters of 8- to 11-year-olds report they have been bullied, with more than half identifying it as a "big problem." Rumor-spreading, teasing, exclusive clubs, secrets, what social scientists describe as "relational aggression" is often written off among younger children as not worthy of extra hands-on attention. Verbal abuse and social manipulation, which is on the rise in boys, "flies under the radar" of harried parents, teachers or babysitters. It is evident in preschool. "If you don't let me play with that toy I won't invite you to my party." Intentional exclusion is bullying. Giving the silent treatment is bullying. We've normalized this abnormal behavior in our society. There are signs that cyber-bullying which starts at about 10 or 11 may be happening at an earlier age. It's this "me generation"of I have to get what's mine. It's the precursor to more serious bullying. You really have to catch it as it happens at younger ages.


Bullies Take Heavy Toll in Workplace

Here's the funny thing about bullying: It doesn't go away when you become an adult. The not-so-funny truth is that while you may have believed once you left the schoolyard, you would not face bullying. It is unfortunately alive and well in the workplace everywhere.

Being bullied as an adult feels the same as it did as a kid. It's scary and humiliating. You suffer from a mixture of embarrassment, fear and shock. You may get stomachaches, lose sleep, pull away from your family and friends and feel very angry, depressed and alone.


NJ Supreme Court: Schools Can Be Held Liable for Prolonged Sexual Harassment

Public schools can be held liable for repeated, prolonged student-on-student sexual harassment, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. A NJ boy contended he was victimized for years until he finally withdrew from school.

The court ruled unanimously that New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination was intended to protect students from harassment based on sexual orientation, and that it was up to school districts to take reasonable steps to stop ongoing mistreatment.

Chief Justice James Zazzali wrote that students are entitled to a hostile-free environment, just like employees are entitled to hostile-free work environments.

The Attorney Generals Office also praised the ruling as added protection for students against sexual orientation harassment and bullying.


Bullying Can Be Deadly, At Play, At School, Online

The image of a schoolyard bully, inflicting physical pain on vulnerable classmates is giving way to a more sinister and hurtful culprit: the cyber bully.

The nature of cyber bullying is it can go on anytime at any place. There is no refuge anymore.

The methods bullies use may be changing, but their ages haven't. Middle school students are most likely to face some type of bullying, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Nearly half (43 percent) of middle schools reported weekly student bullying compared with 25 percent for elementary and 26 percent for high school.

Congress is weighing in, considering a bill requiring states to form anti-bullying strategies.


Appeals Court Upholds Award To Bullied Student

The New Jersey Court of Appeals upheld a $50,000 award to a bullied student. The panel ruled that New Jersey's anti-discrimination law applies to children victimized by bias-based bullying, saying schools can be held liable for student harassment.

The student was bullied by classmates despite the school districts punishment of some of the children responsible.

The bullying began when the boy was in fourth grade. The school district is appealing the award.


Anti-Bullying programs may cut problem by 50%

A study by a law enforcement group says anti-bullying programs can cut the problem by 50%. Middle school years are fertile grounds for bullies.Most of the times it happens away from adults. Bullied victims can become depressed and the pain can carry into adulthood. It is also reported bullies are more likely to commit crimes as adults, which is a good reason to intervene early.


Report: Films Inspire Kids to Try Smoking

A study published in Pediatrics, reported that smoking depicted in the movies is a primary reason children ages 10 to 14 try cigarettes. The study, the first of its kind, finds 38 percent of young smokers took up the habit because of tobacco use on the big screen.

Some anti-tobacco groups argue that preventing youth smoking is critical. They state that nearly all smokers begin as adolescents and only half manage to quit.


A Growing Crisis in Schools

Over 3 million children are bullied each year. The results of bullying does not always reach the level of the devastation that happened in 1999, at Columbine High School, in Colorado, in which 13 people and two bullied students were killed.

Lifelong emotional and physical scars can be created by bullying. It can not be ignored. Each day about 160,000 stay home from school for fear of being attacked or intimidated by their peers.

Bullying is a full-blown crisis in the American education system.


'Incidents of Rage and Anger' Have Increased in Area Daycare Centers, According to Survey

More than half the day-care centers in one state area say "incidents of rage and anger" have increased over the 2000-2003 year period, according to a survey by Partnership for Children, a child-advocacy group.

Kindergartners today have "more emotional and behavioral problems" than were seen in 1998, according to 93% of 39 schools responding to the survey.

Few school districts will admit to a violence problem. A largely poor urban district had 19 reports of weapons possession and 42 assaults by kids in kindergarten or first grade.


Bullied Kids Risk Depression, Antisocial Behavior

According to a new study, young children who are bullied at school, show signs of antisocial and depressive behavior.

Many kindergarten students find themselves verbally and physically abused by their playground peers, but by the time they reach first grade, an increasing amount of the harassment centers on a smaller group of perpetual victims.

Two hundred and sixty six students from one elementary school were observed interacting on the playground on many occasions, from the start of kindergarten to the end of first grade, counting the instances of aggression and victimization.

Substantial rates of victimization were observed. On average, children were targets of peer physical or verbal harassment about once every three to six minutes.


Bullying Mentality Has Become Prevalent In Our Schools

Today 160,000 students will stay home from school because they are afraid of getting bullied. This month, one in four students will be bullied.

In a survey, more than 80 percent of students admitted to bullying.

Of students who considered suicide, getting bullied, teased and rejected is their biggest reason for wanting to end it all.

And two-thirds of the attackers in 37 school shootings said they were seeking revenge on classmates who constantly persecuted them.


Bullying's Fallout

One survey on children revealed that bullying others and being bullied are consistently tied to violent behavior in school.

It has been estimated that up to 160,000 children do not go to school each day out of fear of an attack or intimidation from their peers.

.....bullies represent 7 to 15 percent of the school-age population, victims are 10 percent and students who are both bullies and victims make up between 2 and 10 percent.

Bullying has an effect on self-esteem. It can generate a lot of anxiety, mistrust, anger, frustration and a feeling of helplessness.

..... it's no longer acceptable for bullying to be explained away as a normal part of growing up. Bullying has only harmful effects on the target, the perpetrator and even bystanders. The scars can last a lifetime.

Bullying is a serious problem that was once thought of as a normal part of growing up.


Study Shows Teen Smoking Retains It's Cool

Despite many years of antismoking campaigns, a new study of 1500 sixth and seventh graders, found that the more popular a student is in seventh grade the more likely he or she is to smoke.

Ninety percent of sixth graders and 84 percent of seventh graders surveyed were non smokers.

It was estimated that about 1 million people under the age of 18 start smoking annually in the United States. Not all of them become regular users. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of adult smokers started by the age of 18.

The goal of keeping kids smoke-free makes sense.

The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Adolesent Health.


Tiny Terrors

Elementary school principals and safety experts say they are seeing more violence and aggression than ever among their youngest students, pointing to what they see as an alarming rise in assaults and threats to classmates and teachers.

"Some of my most violent kids have been in kindergarten, first and second grade," said an elementary school principal in one rural state.

While few federal figures exist on very young children and violence, a few state and local statistics suggest that violence by younger children is rising, and that schools are cracking down on children as young as kindergarten.

  • The first part of the 2002-2003 school year brought the suspensions of 22 kindergarten students in a large inner city school district.

  • A large Midwestern school district has suspended more than 500 kindergartners during 2001-2003 school years for fighting, indecent exposure and "persistent lack of cooperation," among other offenses. Another Midwestern state suspended nearly 4,000 kindergartners, first and second-graders, most for fighting, disorderly conduct and the like.

  • In a New England state, the percentage of suspended students in pre-kindergarten through third grade more than doubled between 1995 and 2000.

  • In 2001-2002, a southern school district suspended 132 first graders, 75 kindergartners and two pre-schoolers.

Bill Modzeleski, director of the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools program says schools are beginning to realize that they need to deal with school violence from an early age. "It's a sign that these problems don't just begin in junior high school," he says.


Anti-Bully Policies Already in Many Schools

Children can be cruel. However, while school bullying has been around since the one-room schoolhouse, the accepted attitude is no longer "kids will be kids."

Victims feel outcast and inadequate, while bullies are labeled "bad kids" and become more likely to turn to bad behavior, drugs and alcohol.

While the most serious bullying may take place at the middle school and high school levels, preventing and monitoring the behavior begins much earlier.


Opinion - Bullying Effort A Winner!

Bullying will never be eliminated completely, but ignoring it isn't an option, either. Teach children what to do if they are bullied, or if they see someone else getting picked on.


Study: Peer Pressure Influences Bullying

Peer pressure doesn't stop with drugs and alcohol. A new study found that it also extends to bullying.

The study, found that kids who hang out with peers who bully, both boys and girls, tend to do more bullying themselves.

Bullying behavior was defined as teasing, harassment, rumor spreading and social exclusion.


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