As expected, retired judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who was paid $350 per hour by the DCSS Central Office to investigate the Jaheem suicide, found that the school staff and Central Office are not one smidgen to blame, every thing is hunky-dory. Yep, no "bullying" at all, just lots of "name-calling and teasing". Parent Monique McMiller, who was interviewed by the judge, took great offense to the judge's findings.
“My conclusion is there is no evidence of bullying at Dunaire,” said Moore, whom the school district brought in to oversee an internal review. “There is name-calling and teasing, but it is almost always done outside of any adult [being present]. There is a code of silence among the students.”
A friend of Jaheem’s family, Monique McMiller, said four of her children attend Dunaire, including her son, whom she said was bullied in March 2008. McMiller said the principal was unresponsive and that the same kids then are causing problems now. McMiller said she was interviewed by Moore for the judge’s report, as was her son, who McMiller said broke down in tears during the session.
The judge’s conclusion “makes her [Moore] a liar,” McMiller said. “To come to a conclusion there’s no bullying, to drag that family underneath like that, is embarrassing.”
These oral statements by the judge are all the citizens will receive on the matter. According to Atlanta Unfiltered, Judge Moore did not create a written report for review.
It is clear that a truly independent investigation is needed, preferably by the GBI or Georgia Attorney General's Office. The only issue with that is the Attorney General, Thurbert Baker, is a Leadership DeKalb alum and is likely friendly with Superintendent Lewis. Thurbert Baker is running for governor, and needs as many votes from DeKalb as he can get, and is unlikely to call out the school system where he resides.
Why is it difficult to believe that the report could be correct? There are different levels of bullying and different reactions to it. I understood the review to indicate that bullying was not the cause of Jaheem's decision to take his life. In fairness, we will never know the actual reason.
Also, the money paid to the retired judge came from the taxpayers of DeKalb. As a result, she has an obligation to every citizen not just the Central office and school board.
Whatever. She got a check signed by Crawford Lewis, not the "taxpayers of DeKalb".
It is difficult to believe the report could be correct, because a) we've heard numerous cases of bullying at DCSS middle schools, and b) the Crawford Lewis administration has been characterized as never ever taking any responsibility for being at fault in any situation regarding DCSS.
A leader admits the mistakes of his/her organization. Lewis has never done so in his tenure.
Jaheem entered the rest room swinging and was then choked?? What a bunch of B.S. The bullies are clever and have been well coached by their parents.
Sadly, for the taxpayers of Dekalb, the only real way to get to the bottom of this will be through a civil lawsuit, with evidence presented to a jury of Dekalb citizens. It will take years, assuming DCSS doesn't just settle (they tend to like to go to trial, no matter how lost their cause), and in the meantime bullying will continue if it is occurring.
Judge Moore did a thorough and complete job with regards to her nquiry. To insinuate otherwise is an insult to Judge Moore.
The FBI could investigate and still come to the same conclusion and some of you would not be happy. Some of you are only concerned with getting a "pound of flesh" from DCSS - truth and fairness be damned.
"Why is it difficult to believe that the report could be correct?"
because the judge was paid by the entity she was investigating.
because that entity has minimal credibility when it comes to transparency and owning up to its errors
Frankly I could live with a report that spread blame to all involved--bullying kids, faculty and staff, parents, even the poor child himself. It's a sad story all around, and there can be no 'winners' here.
A report that essentially exonerates everyone but the dead child and his mother, however, seems a bit of a stretch.
"Judge Moore did a thorough and complete job with regards to her nquiry. To insinuate otherwise is an insult to Judge Moore."
How in the heck do you know that? The report hasn't been released to the public yet, and really only fellow investigators are qualified to state whether the report was "thorough and complete". Parent Monique McMiller stated her comments were brushed off. Judge Moore was paid handsomely by the school system to issue a report. How about a report from a truly independent source?
The words "as expcted" sum the report up perfectly, because "as expected", DCSS came out of this without any tarnish. If we had some strong BOE members, they would call for an independent inquiry, not one paid for by DCSS itself.
Retired Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Moore reviewed the case at the request of DeKalb County School leaders. She released her findings Wednesday during a news conference.
"My conclusion is that there is no evidence of bullying at Dunaire," Moore said.
Moore conducted her report by interviewing students and teachers at the school.
She says Jaheem was a bright and popular child and student of the month in March, but she says Jaheem had started several fights, had been suspended and had several unexcused absences from school near the end of his life.
She also said he was troubled by several traumas in his personal life.
"His mother said he was hit hard by his grandmother's death," said Moore. "He stated he wanted to be buried next to his grandmother. At the assembly, Jaheem reported that his uncle was shot by a gang and died right in front of him" she said.
Moore said she found no evidence that Jaheem's mother reported bullying to the school.
Over the past weeks, his mother had said she reported the bullying to the school and the school failed to take action.
Moore says the mother, Masika Bermudez, did express a desire to move back to her native Saint Croix at the end of the school year.
It's probable that this child killed himself due to issues in his family life - the loss of a beloved grandmother and seeing his uncle shot to death right in front of his eyes.
But, if it makes you somehow feel important to assume that this is DCSS' problem and that a respected Judge's word is not good enough for you, then go ahead, but that's a reflection on you.
Most of the Judges I know are good people and are trained to evaluate information based on law. I do not know who Judge Moore is currently but I will do my homework and get back and let you know.
I do think this is a good indication that we might not need to jump to conclusions. I am opposed to bullying and this is something we should fight, but is there evidence of bullying that caused the death of Jaheem? Jaheem might have experienced bullying. Most children do at some point in their life.
I want to see the report before I draw any conclusions.
Some background on Judge Moore:
Judge Moore is the architect of the Fulton County Family Court and the Family Law Information Center, innovative projects and the first of their kind in Georgia, providing access to justice for all. Judge Moore coordinated strategies to develop a state-of–the-art justice information system, obtained significant grants to implement intergovernmental computer connectivity, expanded alternative dispute resolution and implemented justice system collaboration. Judge Moore has co-chaired a first-of-its-kind symposium on criminal justice to insure fairness, justice, equality, safety and security. In recognition of her vision and achievements, Judge Moore received the United States Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence at a reception and dinner in her sole honor in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Judge Moore is a recipient of over 200 awards, including the 2006 Thurgood Marshall Award from the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, the 2005 Gate City Bar Judicial Section Legacy Award, the 2004 NAACP Jondelle Johnson Legacy Award, Concerned Black Clergy President’s Award, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Pacesetter Award and the Atlanta Business League Catalyst Award. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of California at Los Angeles and completed a fellowship in Psychodynamics at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Judge Moore earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence with Distinction at Emory University where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. A prolific writer, speaker and producer of historical videos, Judge Moore also serves on the Board of the Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights at Clark Atlanta University
Once again, DCSS refuses to admit even one mistake or failure on its part. There is bullying at every DCSS middle school. Talk to middle school parents. Talk off the record to middle school teachers. But Superintendent Lewis accomplished his usual M.O. of deflection.
Judge Moore may be the most respected retired judge in Georgia, and her resume is clearly impressive, but I personally can't get around the fact that the school system paid her $350 per hour for her investigation. I would have liked to see a retired, trained investigator (FBI preferably) do the investigation.
Well, are we all anonymous today? Tough subject. I feel queazy thinking about it. And very sad.
Who's to argue with the judge? I do think, however, that there are bullying issues at that school, and throughout the county and the nation that have taken a very violent turn. Somehow, the program implemented by the ADL isn't able to assuage the harshness so many kids bring to school. There are layers and layers of societal problems at the root of this issue.
She's a judge and she looks for evidence. This case may not be a case of evidence (until they actually go to a trial) so much as for us, it has brought the issue of bullying to the fore and highlighted that somehow, what we're doing as a society is not enough.
Whether or not the bullying was what led Jaheem to take his life, I find it very hard to believe that there was no bullying found by the judge at all. We've heard several parents tell that their children were bullied there - what would be their motivation to lie?
It's not a black and white issue (by that I mean, there are areas of gray) - I don't think we can say that there was no bullying at all - yet I don't think we can say that the bullying is what caused Jaheem's death. We may never really know, since the person who really knows isn't able to speak.
I completley agree with Cerebration: "We may never really know, since the person who really knows isn't able to speak"
As a mother, I find it wholly unseemly that the judge and Crawford Lewis are laying all the blame on the mother and Jaheem. Jaheem is not alive to defend himself. There are bullies at every school and they are master manipulators. Parents of bullies more often protect their children as opposed to making sure they are properly disciplined for their actions.
Again, as a mother, for the school system to lay all the blame on Jaheem's mother is incredibly offensive. This just isn't right.
There was no blame laid on Jaheem's mother. Please do not make up information.
Bull#$%^. The judge said there was no proof the mother ever made a complaint. DCSS was absolutely refuting Jaheem's mother.
According to the DeKalb County School Code of Conduct book now available on the DeKalb website in several languages (safety and discipline section), calling Jaheem "gay" was breaking rule #23, punishable by a local formal hearing. I wonder if that was ever done.
It is virtually impossible to provide a judicial verdict to a person's psychologically motivated choice.
And people, if Bermundez pushes for a trial, she better fasten her seatbelt, because her family, her lifestyle, her life choices, her parenting and every other thing in her life is going to laid out for the world to see. Like where is and who is Jaheem's father!!??
I doubt there is a psychologist or psychiatrist in the world who -- based on the plethora of depressing things happening to poor Jaheem -- would conclude complicity on the part of DCSS. Really, how does one exact revenge when a suicide is commited?
It is regretable that the judge said there was "no evidence of bullying at Dunaire" because, as we all know, there is no way the statement is true.
Bermundez must know the name(s) of her son's bullies. Apparently, these same kids are still roaming the halls of Dunaire (based on newspaper accounts). Why doesn't she sue the parents of the bullies? Well, duh!!
"It is not clear whether school officials followed up on that claim. Moore said during her presentation that she would not discuss some details because of student privacy laws."
Funny how Judge Moore went into such detail for certain parts, and then came back with the privacy law card for others. This stinks to high heaven.
I hope that since taxpayers paid her $350 per hour for her report, it is made public online immediately.
"It is regretable that the judge said there was "no evidence of bullying at Dunaire" because, as we all know, there is no way the statement is true.
Apparently, these same kids are still roaming the halls of Dunaire (based on newspaper accounts)."
No Duh: You got me thinking. The judge may be highly intelligent, but she is not a trained investigator. This report needed to be done by a trained investigator. It seems like the judge took the teachers and staff at their word without much pressing. As you said, we all know there is bullying at Dunaire. If the teachers and staff didn't know about it, it's an either/or. They didn't know about it and clearly they should have known if they are competent professionals, or they did know about it and looked the other way.
A lawsuit may be very harsh on Ms. Bermundez, but it may also expose Dunaire staff and Central Office failures which this report ignored.
24 hours later.
The truest statement in this thread is: "It is regretable that the judge said there was 'no evidence of bullying at Dunaire' because, as we all know, there is no way the statement is true."
I will say a mea culpa that my own first reaction was one of anger, but the bottom line to me still is that the judge was told, by Jaheem's parents and other parents that there was bullying and violence and--in the press briefing--basically said there was no bullying. It will be important to see if the report is more nuanced. If for some reason DCSS does not release the full report I would have to be suspicious.
But what message was sent yesterday?
To the parents--we don't believe you?
To the faculty--you were adequately vigilant (I don't doubt bullies could have hidden what they were doing, but that should be cause for more vigilance, not being told 'you're in the clear')?
To the administration, this had nothing to do with you?
To the bullies and their parents--you got away with it (it being bullying, not the child's death)?
I'm just concerned there's an element of 'nothing to see here, let's move on' until it happens again. I hope I'm wrong.
The judge reminds me of parents I've met over the years. You know, the ones who are told that "little Johnny" is doing this or that - and then the parent comes back to the accuser and says, well I asked little Johnny, and he said he didn't do it - so he didn't.
Seems to me, the judge conducted interviews, but didn't really investigate the same way a trained investigator would. (They tend to not believe much of what people say.) Now - supposedly Gwen Keyes is conducting an investigation - but how much moxy would it take for her to come up with a conflicting result from this judge? This judge has massive political power - I'm sure Keyes' career would be toast to go against the judge's findings.
Case closed I think. Lesson learned - if your kid is being bullied - file WRITTEN complaints and CC everybody and their brother to cover yourself.
Second lesson - there's usually no blame in a suicide. This type of blame has (as far as I know) never been assessed in a court of law. In fact the horrible mother who taunted a "friend" of her daughters on the internet - and the girl committed suicide - only got convicted of unlawful use of a computer or something.
I suppose there's room for pain and suffering or some other civil case - but I just don't think you can say anyone can push someone to commit suicide. Plus, if she wants to go down that rabbit trail, she would have to admit that her own family circumstances contributed.
I'm pretty upset though, that the judge claimed no evidence of bullying at all. I think that she could have admitted that there are bullying problems - there certainly are at every school in America - but that doesn't mean there is culpability in a suicide.
Now, in order to defend DCSS, the whole issue of bullying has been swept under the rug - and only sends the message that if you feel you are being bullied in DCSS, you are dreaming.
After the Jaheem tragedy, I know that the Superintendent ordered all the schools to hold discussions about bullying with the students -- that did take place at Henderson Middle and Evansdale. Unfortunately, the mandate (at least at Henderson Middle) was simply at XXX p.m. all teaching would stop and each teacher was to turn the conversation to bullying, etc. Not all teachers are equipped to facilitate such a discussion.
I want to see a full-court press by DCSS on the power of the By-stander. I want to see documentaries about how bystanders felt when they watched bullying happen and didn't do anything -- and testimonials about what it felt like to stand up to bullies on someone else's behalf.
And if the school officials can't mediate a conflict between two students, I want them to have a cadre of outside mediators who can work with both families toward a solution to their conflicts.
And I want DCSS to stop being worried about the stigma a school may face if it admits there are bullies in it. It will only take a relatively short time for our schools to mellow out if our leadership DEMANDS action by the principals and then provides the resources to principals.
And I want DCSS to demand that its teachers WAKE UP and LISTEN to the banter between students.
No Duh: They have an administrator, Jennifer Errion, who gets paid over $100,000 per year to come in with a full-court press to stop bullying. But she's a Central Office staffer, so of course her butt is covered from any fault in the Judge Moore report.
Hey Crawford: get the report online!!
I want the system to admit that there are people who aren't worth employing. GASP.
I want the system and Dr. Lewis to put loyalty to his friends and colleagues behind what is best for the students.
Right now they are moving a bunch of Assistant Principals around. What a crock! Show some real guts and fire some principals who aren't getting the job done. Prove that you really care about students.
Go out and beg, borrow and steal to get the best school administrators you can find. Stop recycling poor employees from one school to another.
I wouldn't look for them to post the report. We're going to have to rely on the AJC to request it. Case in point - Dr. Lewis promised at the Military Academy meeting back on April 16 that all additional questions (written by attendees on index cards) would be answered and posted on the school system website.
Good thing I didn't hold my breath.
"No Duh" and others. PLEASE and I do mean PLEASE stop placing blame on Teachers.
Student does not do his/her work, who gets blamed? The Teacher..
Student does not do their work when it was due, who gets blamed? The Teacher..
Student talks back to teachers, who gets blamed? The Teacher.
Student does not pass the CRCT, who gets blamed? The Teacher.
Student wears clothes that should not be worn to school, who gets blamed? The TEACHER.. (This is part of the new dress code for next year)
It's a long story but in short, if your student comes to school wearing clothes that the student handbook states that your student can't wear and we miss them, (meaning they walk pass us and we may be helping out a student, parent, or colleague) we get a WRITTEN REPRIMAND in our permanent school file.
When are we going to start putting the blame where it starts? THE HOME. It is so easy to blame the person that is basically raising your student day in and day out.
How many parents out there actually sit down and talk to your student. Ask them how their day went. Take time for just one on one, no cell phone, no computer,no tv, no video games to get in the way.
Well I do listen. How many of you know that your students are facebooking at 1, 2, 3 am on school nights? How many of you know that your students say mean and bullying things on that Facebook account? How many of you ask to see your student cell phone and read their texts? You should. Bullying is happening right under your noses and yet you are BLAMING THE TEACHERS.
I have told countless parents that they need to get involved with their children. Parents do not, they are too busy making sure that their child makes soccer, ballet, tennis, or whatever sport/subject your child in into, instead of talking to them and listening to what they say.
It's depressing when you try to help early on, only to see them arrested before they graduate high school.
Teachers do listen and teachers try to help but parents need to step up to the plate and take responsiblilty for their student instead of excuses.
Again, until parents get into their students lives and fix the problems that are at home, STOP BLAMING THE TEACHER!!!!!
There is no written report. I asked for it yesterday and was told the judge's findings were only delivered orally. Nothing in writing. You can see my story at http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/atlmainstream0522b.html
Sorry Anon 6:13 a.m.
I REALLY wasn't trying to blame the teachers. I'm pretty sure -- in re-reading my comment -- that it came off that way, and I apologize.
I guess, I meant, when a teacher passes a hallway or classroom discussion and hears a child telling another one "that's so gay," or "you're retarded," etc. maybe the teacher should just call out: "I heard that! It's not an appropriate way to speak to people. Stop talking like that." Which is exactly what I do in my home when my son and his buddies start that kind of banter.
Unfortunately, for some kids it's banter, for others it is cruel and intentional. That's why teachers need to let the kids know they are listening -- even if the teacher knows or thinks he/she knows that the kids are friends.
For every parent who doesn't listen to their kids, there is one who does listen. That's why the education of the By-stander is so important, and the tone the school sets, and the tone the teachers set. You are all incredibly busy (I'm in our children's schools nearly every day, teachers will not get a more loyal champion than me.)
This will blow you away Anon 6:13.
When my boy was in first grade, he and another boy were on the school bus and apparently were saying something to another boy that made the boy cry. (I never did find out what they said). A third grade girl told me that she saw it happen. The bus driver didn't even know it had happened. No school official knew anything about it.
Did I talk to my son? No. You know what I did? I called the other "bully's" father and said I'd like to have the principal call our boys in and talk to them about saying mean things (mind you, they were in first grade). The other father thought that was a great idea.
So, I actually asked the principal to do this for us. He thought it was a great idea, too. So, he went out to the playground (where the boys were frolicking with their friends), called them both off the playground and into his office.
Why did I "outsource" my parenting to the principal, you may be thinking? Because I believed the impact would be greater on a very good little first grader. I believed he would better get the message if he realize how serious his actions were.
BTW, my husband and I also called the parents of the boy that our son made cry and apologized. The mother didn't know anything about it, because her son hadn't told her.
I'm not asking for a gold star. I'm just trying to let you know that a lot of us parents are on your side.
Again, I'm sorry my earlier comment implied blame on teachers' parts. I in no way meant that.
1) Thank you for the no-nonsense, direct piece. Your only mistake was not listing Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore's name so that when others Google her, they will come across this piece.
2) Thank you for using the words 'As Expected.'
3) Thank you for revealing Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore was paid $350 an hour of the taxpayer's dime. The AJC did not tell us this.
4) There is no school on planet earth that has "no evidence of bullying".....none at all! Wow! Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore needs to alert psychology and anthropology experts all over the world of her unique finding...experts from all over will want to come to research/study this school with no bullying!!!
5) How is severe name calling and teasing not equal to bullying?????? They are the same thing.
6) What a retired piece of trash. She will get hers in the end.
Jim - thank you for enlightening us - there is no report!! I am shocked beyond belief! A judge - who didn't think she needed to write a report on what she learned? Especially one we paid $350 an hour?
I am shaking my head right now.
ps - thanks for the heads up on adding her name for the Google search - I'll do that right now.
Glad you're here, Jim!
Click on the No Bullying Photo at the right to access the research we've found on bullying. So far, it appears that Cobb County is the most knowledgeable and proactive school system in the area. Here are highlights from their description of bullying (as you can see, teasing and taunting IS bullying).
• Children are more likely to be bullied in elementary school.
• Most bullying is non-physical behavior such as name-calling.
• Most bullies use bullying behaviors with more than one victim.
• In elementary school, most students who are bullied tell a teacher or parent. When students reach middle and high school, children are less likely to reach out for adult intervention.
• Bullying is most likely to occur during school hours.
• Most students think that they should be involved but do not know how.
• Class size does not increase the frequency of bullying behavior.
• Students who bully have average to above average self-esteem.
• Most victims who are bullied are not bullied because of external deviations like red hair, glasses, etc.
• Empathy crystallizes in elementary years.
• If a child is being bullied, ask the student to log the bullying behavior (where, what type of bullying, when, how and who’s doing it).
• Bullies do not pick on others at random but instead engage in a shopping process targeting preferred victims.
• Bullies consistently see other children as more aggressive than themselves. They see threats where none exists and take these imagined threats as provocation to strike back.
• Children who are potential victims must learn to recognize the importance of body language.
• As a result of a bullying episode, there must be contrasting feelings. The child who bullies may feel excited, powerful or amused while the victim feels embarrassed or hurt.
• Bullies are as popular as well adjusted students. Victims occupy the bottom of the schoolyard food chain, the lowest rungs of the social ladder and the bottom of the pecking order.
Here's the Cobb link -
WTF? No written report? $350 per hour and no written report? Are you f-ing kidding me?
Dale Davis is full of sh#$ about the attorney-client priviledge crap. The judge is an independent contractor in this case hired to perform a service. She was not hired as an attorney to represent the school system.
How is a competent superintendent satisfied with paying someone $350 an hour and not receiving anything in writing???
5) How is severe name calling and teasing not equal to bullying?????? They are the same thing.
6) What a retired piece of trash. She will get hers in the end. I guess you outed yourself as a bully?
Anonymous 9:32, Anonymous 1:11 gotcha there.
Let's all try to watch the name-calling here. I know it's an emotional issue - but try to make your point without demeaning anyone. It's more powerful and credible that way.
On the "Georgia Gang" news show this morning, the panel mentioned the Dunaire (verbal) report. They emphasized that Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore found no actual "proof" of bullying. They did note an atmosphere of violence at Dunaire. But how can anyone find actual proof? Judget Moore blew off what she heard from other parents in her verbal report, and the Dunaire teachers she interviewed circled the wagons.
But they learned from the best. No one circles the wagons and deflects responsibility like Crawford Lewis and his Central Office minions.
From a board member, there is so much more to this story than the school system is permitted to make public. Suffice to say, the school did the best job it could under the circumstances. Most of Jaheem's situation was out of their control. If Ms. Bermudez goes forward with her lawsuit and there is a trial, it will all come out.
It's time to move on.
The school system is going to be defending itself against a lawsuit. There should not have been an expectation that all of the information Judge Moore gathered was going to be made public.
There were a lot of negatives going on in this poor little boy's life. People who committ suicide generally don't do it because of one thing -- but a cumulation of things and being unable to cope.
However, the school sounds like it was/is out of control. It has a principal, two assistant principals, two counselors and prevention/intervention specialists for 650 students.
Regardless of the specifics of this case, far to many incidents are being reported at a school with that many non-teaching adults.
I wonder if no lawsuit had been filed, if some administrative staff would have been shuffled around. Now the school system's back is against the wall, and even if they think there should be consequences, there can't be. To remove the principal would be akin to admitting responsibility.
County DA Gwen Keyes said she's investigating the Dunaire suicide, but that must be hard to do when she takes a full day off to complain about a very needed bicycle center in South DeKalb by Arabia Mountain. Plus, there is no way Gwen would be tough on her fellow Leadership DeKalb alum Crawford Lewis:
And this is unrelated to county schools but a pretty interesting story on the Board of Commissioners Presiding Officer Larry Johnson:
The D.A.'s office has reached out to Jaheem's family several times. No one will come forward to speak with the D.A.
Let's see, the DA is supposedly investigating this suicide, the CRCT cheating scandal and Pat Pope... any news on anything? na... Will there ever be? na...
At any rate, apparently we're already in to Judge Moore for $19,000 and just extended her "contract" yet still, she has produced no written report. Nice work if you can get it!
Child Trends Provides Solutions for Bullying Among Adolescent Youth
In today’s society, conflict among peers is common, and not necessarily a bad thing. Disagreement, teasing, and conflict are a part of growing up; however, children and adolescents need to develop skills to resolve these clashes. Unfortunately, bullying, an extreme form of peer conflict or teasing, can be physically and psychologically harmful. To help lessen the effects of bullying, it is important for programs to easily identify bullying, and promote positive peer conflict resolution techniques for young people.
In response to adolescent bullying, Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center that studies children at all stages of development, recently released a report entitled, “Assessing Bullying: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners.”
Written by Dr. Elizabeth C. Hair, Alyssa Milot and Kathleen Sidorowicz, the brief provides information on who is most likely to be a bully or victim, how to know when conflict has turned into bullying, and ways to reduce bullying. The report also includes specific questions to assess students’ tendencies to bully others, to be victimized by bullying, and to be pro-social and help others.
Child Trends works to improve outcomes for children by providing research, data, and analysis to the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children. For the latest information on more than 100 key indicators of child and youth well-being, visit the Child Trends DataBank at www.childtrendsdatabank.org. For summaries of over 400 evaluations of out-of-school time programs that work (or don’t) to enhance children's development, visit www.childtrends.org/WhatWorks.
Funny, Thelma Wyatt Cumming Moore, who received a half million DCSS dollars from Crawford to investigate who DCSS handled the Jaheem suicide, is advocating that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference reinstate its "chairman and treasurer who were removed last month after allegations of financial improprieties".
Nice judgement Thelma. Eeven though there are "allegations the two men diverted at least $569,000 to bank accounts they controlled", Thelma wants them back (so they can embezzle more).
You sure can pick 'em, Crawford.
From State Rep. Mike Jacobs:
Jaheem Herrera was a fifth grader at DeKalb County’s Dunaire Elementary School who committed suicide in 2009 after repeated incidents of school bullying.
In the wake of this tragedy, I was approached by concerned DeKalb citizens, including some of my own constituents, to look into the adequacy of Georgia’s anti-bullying statute. I was dismayed at what I found and became determined to fix it.
The law that was on the books in 2009 did not even cover the Jaheem Herrera situation because it applied only to grades 6 through 12. The old law included a virtually useless definition of “bullying.” Overall, Georgia’s anti-bullying statute was bare bones and inadequate.
43 states have anti-bullying laws. Until this year, Georgia’s law was the oldest of the 43. A lot of states had come up with better ways to address the issue after Georgia initially enacted its statute.
My first attempt at anti-bullying legislation was introduced as House Bill 927 (click for information). The version of HB 927 that finally emerged from a House committee set forth a substantially improved definition of “bullying” that better captured what bullying is, without being overbearing. The bill required local school systems to adopt an age-appropriate range of consequences for bullying incidents in grades K through 12, not just 6 through 12. In addition, for the first time in Georgia law, the bill required that the parents of the students involved on both sides of a bullying incident be notified of the incident.
The bill faced a steep uphill climb in the House of Representatives, but after a couple of close calls in the House, it sailed to passage in the State Senate. Ultimately, the anti-bullying language had to be amended onto another bill that dealt with disruptive behavior on school buses, Senate Bill 250 (click for information), in order to win final approval in the General Assembly. SB 250, including the “Jacobs Amendment” on school bullying, was signed into law by Governor Perdue on May 27, 2010. Click here to see a photograph of the bill signing ceremony.
While the anti-bullying bill was winding its way through the General Assembly, headline-grabbing school bullying problems came to light in Massachusetts, in Texas, and in Murray County, Georgia. These incidents underscored why the legislation was necessary. Even the Savannah Morning News chimed in with an editorial supporting the bill. If you're interested, you can read the Savannah editorial here.
By August 2011, every local school system in Georgia is required to review and revamp its anti-bullying policy. Parents who are concerned about this issue are encouraged to talk with their local school board members while they are in the process of reviewing and improving the anti-bullying policy in your school district.
The mother of an 11-year-old who hung himself after reportedly being bullied in a DeKalb County school says her daughter is now being targeted.
Jaheem Herrera, who attended Dunaire Elementary School in Stone Mountain, committed suicide last year.
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