Need Help Dealing With A Bully-Long

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DressageLady, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Feb 15, 2015

    It breaks my heart to write that word. Bully. This student has been a tough nut all year. She is a naturally assertive, pushy kid who is working well above grade level. It has been a real struggle to keep her engaged in class because she picks academics up so quickly. I have been differentiating her work since the beginning of the year, but even more challenging work gets done immediately. And then she blurts out, engages other students in cross talk. Gets into things. She is very, very obnoxious.

    Her most concerning behavior is the fact that she has grown into a monster of a bully. Not so much with boys, but very much so with girls. She can be very rude in general: "How can they not know how to do this! I knew how to do it when I was three years old" blurted out during a whole class activity. This kind of general nastiness is directed at everyone, boys and girls. The targeted bullying is always directed at a girl.

    She had targeted a female classmate last fall. I nipped it in the bud quickly. She slowly shifted her attention to another girl in our class. This new target is vulnerable. Her father died suddenly last year, and Mom moved the family to this state in order to get a fresh start. This girl is bright and is a wonderful member of the classroom. She is very serious, but sweet.

    I have talked to both students until I am blue in the face. I have talked to the bully's Mom and Dad (separately, because they don't talk to each other...at all). I have implemented protocols in my room in an attempt to limit the bully's ability to do her thing: she has to be the caboose in any line (she was pushing kids out of the way to be first in line); she can't have any contact with the other student.

    I have used the basic behavior management plan with her (the bully) that I use with the rest of the class, and it doesn't seem to have any impact on her. I make contact with the parents. I send notes home. She loses recess. She has to write letters of apology.

    I did contact the school counselor about the situation, and he agreed to pull the bully for 1:1 talks a couple of times. He gave her a tennis ball for recess, to give her time more structure. She was horrified to find that it wasn't her ball and that she was expected to share the game if someone else wanted to play. She complained for a day and then "lost" the ball.

    On Friday I intercepted a note she was passing to another student. It was a warning to that student not to play with her target. Another student came to me and said that the bully was telling her not to talk to the target. And the bully passed me a note which read "Nobody likes a tattle tale" in response to my sharing the other note and student feedback with the counselor.

    She is just the most vile person at this point. I don't feel like I am getting much concrete guidance from the counselor on how I can best manage her behavior. And what I have been doing isn't working very well. I am losing a ton of instructional time in my first grade class to dealing with this child.

    Any advice for me? Any strategies on how to limit her behavior and protect everyone (including her) from her?
    Sheilah
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2015

    Does your school have HIB policies in place?
     
  4. TXTeacherW

    TXTeacherW Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2015

    Sounds like you may need and individualized behavior plan. We tier kids for behavior and she would be Tier 3, which means you have already tried interventions (behavior plans and redirections different from what you use with other students). I have two kids with behavior folders. It is a chart with three columns describing what the child WILL do (based on what she does do that is wrong) and down the side are various chunks of time throughout the day (Morning time/announcements, Math, Reading, Lunch, Recess, etc etc, Pack up/Dismissal)... She must earn Ys (yes) or she earns Ns (no). At the end of the day she goes to the counselor or behavior interventionist and that teacher draws one card from two buckets. One bucket has a column number and one has a row number. If she earns a Y in that intersection, she earns "money" or points that she can save up for spending on a menu of privileges that you and her choose together.

    That is just an example of what I have had to use (usually rather successfully... it doesn't create miracles, but it does create drastic changes)... With that, a LOT of positive reinforcement. I have one that tries to do suck up chit chat with me after being firmly redirected and I'll say, "While I appreciate you trying to start a kind chat with me, we just had a serious issue together and we are not ready for this level of chat with each other. You should be thinking more about ways to be a part of a solution, not part of a problem."
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2015

    This needs to be brought to your principal. It's become a discipline issue, not a guidance issue. I wish you much luck with the case. Keep us in the loop!
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2015

    Idaho does have policy - see link: http://www.nasbe.org/healthy_schools/hs/bytopics.php?topicid=3131

    As I read the statute in the brief form, the school not only has the power to suspend the student, but actually has the obligation to take all allegations of HIB seriously. Unfortunately, your school (counselor) doesn't seem to be on board or knowledgeable about what needs to be done. One of the hardest things with HIB is getting the target, or victim, to report and follow through, because they are being intimidated. Try going to administration with the same documentation you have shared with us, your information on the Idaho statutes and policies, and see if you can't get a different result. You may want to address the this to the counselor first, to give him the chance to redeem himself and do the right thing. Unfortunately, the victim will probably have to come forward, but the counselor and administration should be handling that aspect of the case. Here in NJ, teachers file suspected HIB violations to a HIB officer in each school, and then it leaves the teacher's hands, other than providing the documentation that you actually have.

    I will say that it will be an uphill battle because of the young age of the girl - people will want to say that she is just too young to know how hurtful are actions are. Similarly, the victim is too young to be truly aware that she is a victim - she just knows the girl is mean to her. Tough classroom situation, but you do need to escalate this above your pay grade and make sure that admin does what is right.
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Feb 15, 2015

    HIB is very very important to follow, hopefully your state has some regs on that.

    Any chance of an emotional disability being at play?
     
  8. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Feb 15, 2015

    The state, district and the school absolutely have HIB policies. I think my frustration stems in large part from feeling as if the procedure just isn't being followed with this student, or the behavior isn't being taken seriously by the counselor. Or as seriously as I feel it should be.

    I went to him with my concerns, asking for help in making the school a safer place for the most recent target and help in formally addressing the behavior with the bully. I laid out the steps I have taken, and asked what was next. He offered to talk with the bully in a more structured way than simply pulling her out in the hall for a few minutes. Which he has done. Not much help, since she has increased her intimidation by trying to influence other students. She is a very, very bright child who can say all the right things. He seems satisfied that she is getting the message, but I am not at all happy because I am seeing her up her game in response to the interventions already tried. keep in mind that the counselor was involved in dealing with the parent of the other target last fall. He is very aware of the bully's serial targeting.

    I think it is time to pull Mom and Dad in, despite their dislike of each other, and really address her behavior. I would like to see the counselor and the principal involved in a meeting, since doing it on my own has had no positive impact so far.

    I think I will ask to speak with my mentor teacher when we return to school on Tuesday and get a feel for how I should approach this. I have another student who has been a real problem behaviorally all year and the counselor was disinclined to see it as a serious problem with this other student, too. I finally had to just bypass the counselor and submit my student to the RTI team on my own in order to get some attention for the student in question.

    I do not think there is an emotional disability at play with the bully.
    Sheilah
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2015

    Maybe not an emotional disability but I wonder which parent has affected her so negatively that she is lashing out like this? Maybe both parents.
     
  10. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Feb 15, 2015

    I strongly urge you to document everything you have done including dates, especially the ones when you spoke to your guidance counselor and your principal. Document what they did. Parents of the bullied students have the right to sue, especially if there are laws in place and the situation continues. Protect yourself. Get your Union involved so they can protect you, too.
     
  11. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Feb 15, 2015

    Thankfully, I am a documentation freak. I write down everything. And make copies of everything and file it all in a binder.

    I do know the bully is struggling emotionally. Parents separated over the summer and the two times they have been at school at the same time, they very carefully avoided talking to each other. Even when they were sitting at the same lunch table. Her twin, a boy, was assigned to a different first grade room. This is the first time they have been separated and the twin has been much, much more successful socially than she has.

    And she has always been a challenge. One of the reasons why they decided to separate the twins was he bully behavior with her brother.
    Sheilah
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 15, 2015

    thank goodness the parents are aware of her behavior.
     
  13. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2015

    I'm using resources from here with girls in my class right now-
    http://www.opheliaproject.org/downloads.html

    BUT my situation hasn't turned into bullying yet, I'm just seeing the potential with a few of my girls and trying to nip it in the bud before it gets bad.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 15, 2015

    I would also have a classwide presentation and discussion on bullying. Not mentioning any names or even the fact that it is present, but an overall awareness.
    Bullies get a lot of their power from others. Those who stand by and watch, those who will obey and not play or talk with the 'target' are giving the bully power, but if they all refuse, then it's just one girl acting mean and it can easier be handled.
     

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