Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teen Bullying, Gay Bashing and Suicide Prevention: "The Silent Scream"

In light of recent suicides by teenagers due to bullying, cyberstalking and gay-bashing, some startling information has come out as to the extent of these abhorrent activities.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed bullying at services in light of the recent suicides, and told the bar mitzvah class, "If you want to see your rabbi cry, all you have to do is be cruel. If you are cruel to a classmate, I guarantee you will see my cry." I've uploaded the parsha packet that I distributed - it has lots of valuable material, including a test that kids can take.

I've also uploaded one of my all-time favorite (and requested) sermons, called "The Silent Scream," which I gave here way back in 1988. It deals with teen suicide.

See Study: Half of high school students admit to bullying‎ and Is Bullying Getting Worse? Four Preventative Actions for Parents & Schools. Also see this article. At the Federal Bullying Prevention Summit in August, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan remarked:

"One out of nine secondary school students, or 2.8 million students, said they have been pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on during the last school year. Another one-and-a-half million students said they were threatened with harm, and one million students reported they had their property destroyed during the school year."

Here are 5 Essential Bullying Statistics Every Parent Should Know and some more statistics on bullying.

Some more follow up information that I've received since my prior posting on this subject:

FROM JESNA (Jewish Educational Resources):

In recent months, there has been much media attention to bullying and harassment; in the classroom, the schoolyard, and online. Many of the stories reported recently have ended in suicide, particularly among LGBT youth, with the sobering statistic that 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school last year. The response to these tragedies continues to unfold; and the Jewish community has made its own strides toward addressing bullying in our synagogues and classrooms. JESNA has, therefore, begun a new category in the Sosland Online Resource Center for the topic of bullying, drawing on resources both from the Jewish world and the larger educational landscape-- including our own benefactor, Dr. Blanche Sosland, whose new book Banishing Bullying Behavior: Transforming the Culture of Pain, Rage and Revenge (co-authored with Dr. SuEllen Fried) is reviewed here. This issue of Sosland OpenSource will be devoted exclusively to this new topic. View the entire listing of items in this topic here.

From the ADL: See Bullying changes with the times

From Keshet: Please see the pledge– http://jewishcommunitypledge.org/ . The goal is to send a message to everyone in our communities that we will not stand by in the face of suffering and injustice. Our goal is to gather 18,000 pledges by the end of the calendar year. All Jewish community members, youth and adults are being asked to sign, so please forward widely.

You can also find more information about Keshet, at http://keshetonline.org/. Keshet is a grassroots organization dedicated to creating a fully inclusive Jewish community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews in Greater Boston and across the country.


From "Keeping Kids Healthy," a show produced by TBE members Susan and Richard Sabreen: a program on girls bullying: www.keepingkidshealthy.org/topics/girl-bullying/

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