District Administration - July 2008 - (Page 18)

Conversations Israel “Izzy” Kalman Turning Bullying on Its Head If cruel behavior among students is on the rise, it may be because too many kids see themselves as victims and not enough are learning to respect their antagonistic peers. At least that’s the message advocated by Bullies to Buddies, a company founded by school psychologist Israel “Izzy” Kalman that is helping to change kids’ behavior. A nationally renowned speaker who has worked as a school psychologist and psychotherapist since 1978—14 years in Staten Island’s public schools in New York City—Kalman has led more than 600 seminars throughout the country for mental health professionals and educators. Free manuals on the group’s Web site (www.bullies2buddies.com) also offer schools in-depth information on Kalman’s program. He took some time to speak to News Editor Zach Miners about the problem of bullying and how he thinks schools can stop it. Kalman: That’s a very perceptive question. Of course they’re both problems, but the anti-bullying policies make it worse. And there’s a very simple reason: Let’s say you and I are kids in school and you bother me—you call me bad names, you push me—I tell the teacher, and you get sent to the principal’s office because you bullied me and you get punished. Is that going to make you like me? DA: What’s the bigger problem—bullying, or the antibullying policies schools adopt to combat it? DA: Then what do you recommend? Kalman: You’re going to hate me! You’re going to want to beat me up after school. The school has just created a worse incident. Plus, these policies are rewarding kids for acting like victims. And most of the kids that we call bullies present themselves as a victim: “I’m not a bully—he started with me!” We don’t realize DA: And kids can rethat the real problem is victim behavior, but we call it “bullying.” spond in all different Right: Izzy Kalman and a student role-playing—an important part of his program—for the cover of one of Kalman’s publications. DA: How do you teach kids not to be victims and not make them feel like “sissies”? ways to that display of power when they’re bullied, right? Kalman: It’s only bullying if I act like a victim. You can say something to one person and they’ll laugh about it, and you can up for themselves. They do it because they’re getting upset, and say the same thing to somebody else and they’ll get upset. It’s the then it escalates. Through role-playing I show kids that by not get- reaction that determines if it’s bullying or just friendly behavior. ting upset, you actually win—you make the kids stop picking on you. If you show people respect, they will like you and protect you. DA: What are the linkages between bullying and preventing security crises like shootings? Kalman: The biggest trap is when people think they have to stand DA: What is bullying really about? Kalman: It’s about power. We think that wanting power makes Kalman: We think that the problem is bullies. And the rea- you “evil,” but all living creatures want power. In my book Bullies to Buddies, I talk about two ways of having power. One way is the bully way. The other way is the buddy way. The better way of having power is by being buddies, which is what most people do. Most people in the world don’t go around fighting each other. 18 July 2008 son we have this anti-bullying movement is because of school shootings like Columbine. But were any of these shootings committed by bullies? They’re all committed by people who feel like victims. Bullies aren’t looking to kill—they want living victims. The people who kill are victims. When a person feels like a victim he’s full of anger, hatred, revenge. They can do District Administration http://www.bullies2buddies.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - July 2008

District Administration - July 2008
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Letters
News Update
Curriculum Update
Administrator Profile
Conversations
Getting Mobile
School Supplies on a Budget
The Silent Issue
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
New Products
Management Books
Speaking Out
Calendar of Events
Research Center

District Administration - July 2008

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