Thank you to Rilye Kline (letter to editor, July 1) for speaking out against bullying.
As community education coordinator at The Center For Violence-Free Relationships, I work with students in several schools to address the problem of bullying. Bullies engage in actions that are aggressive, intentional, repetitive and power based.
Social gain is at the root of 95 percent of bullying; kids want to be at the top of the social hierarchy because they perceive that those at the top are being treated more favorably. Often times kids are struggling with “big adult” problems at home and use bullying behavior as a way to maintain/re-establish a sense of power and control. Kids who bully tend to lack coping skills and try to wield power in inappropriate ways by repeating the behaviors they have observed and/or experienced.
The reality is that bullying has a huge impact on kids who are targets of bullying. They are more likely to experience depression, feelings of sadness/loneliness, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, and increased health complaints — primarily headaches and stomach aches.
One of the ways to address bullying is to empower kids to become active bystanders and stand up to the bully and/or tell an adult, just like Rilye did. The more bystanders that stand up for someone who is bullied, the less likely the bully is going to victimize students.
At the center we address these issues through a school-based program called TEACH. It is a 25-week program that focuses on building social/emotional skills in the area of body image, self esteem, empathy, boundaries, anger management, assertive communication, healthy relationships, bullying and conflict resolution. If you are interested in learning more about bullying or TEACH, please contact The Center at 530-626-1450.
There are so many Rilyes in our communities, and I applaud all of them who, like Rilye Kline, stand up to bullies. Way to go Rilye.
Community Education Coordinator, Center For Violence-Free Relationships