Multimedia Bibliography – Bullying Resources
by Mary Jane McClendon
Bullying is one of the hardest realities students face. According to a 2011 report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center of Institutional Statistics, around 28 percent of 12 to 18 year old students reported being bullied at school during the 2009 school year, while 6 percent reported being cyberbullied. Undoubtedly, many more instances go unreported. The purpose of this project is to identify and annotate resources for children and teens who experience bullying, as well as both students and adults who want to ensure a safe, comfortable learning environment for all students. Originally, I intended the bibliography to be dedicated to students, perhaps as a reference that a school librarian or counselor might offer students in need. However, the further I explored the materials, the more I realized the value of a collective approach to addressing bullying, and that young people are not the only ones who need guidance. In the end, I included organizations and websites that adults would find helpful as well. Because bullying is ubiquitous across age groups, rather than limiting the selection of bullying resources in this bibliography, I have included resources that are appropriate for a range of ages. This list of multimedia resources is intended for elementary, middle school, and high school students, as well as for teachers, parents, and other educational professionals who take part in providing a safe, comfortable learning environment. For each item, I have indicated the age groups appropriate to the resource.
The scope includes websites, organizations, videos, and printed materials related to various types of bullying, including verbal, physical, gender, racial, and bullying associated with sexual orientation. While children may not be dealing with their own sexual identification during early childhood, it is important to remember that they may have parents or siblings that are experiencing issues with sexual orientation and/or bullying. Cyberbullying is another aspect of bullying addressed by some of these resources. To select materials for this bibliography, I began exploring government and educational websites, as well as review sources such as the American Library Association’s Booklist and School Library Journal. The ALA’s website offered several lists of recommended bullying resources, including the GLBT Round Table’s “Speaking OUT Against Bullying” list and Helen Foster James’ “Bullies and Bullying” list, which, in addition to professional resources and websites, identifies novels for both younger and older readers that address bullying in their themes. While this is by no means an exhaustive bibliography, I have selected materials which I believe to be relevant, well reviewed, and interesting to both children struggling with bullying and the adults who care about them.
WEBSITES AND ORGANIZATIONS
1. Stopbullying.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed November 10, 2012. http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/index.html. (Grades 1-5).
StopBullying.gov is a website managed federal government that provides information on bullying and cyberbullying, including who is at risk and how to prevent and respond to bullying. Appropriate for elementary and middle school students, the “Kids” section features facts, videos, games, and recommendations for dealing with bullying. A series of animated videos introduce a cast of school age characters who each encounter bullying in a different way. Following each video, children can take a short quiz to assess their understanding of how bullying was exhibited and addressed.
2. It Gets Better Project. IOLA Foundation. Savage Love, LLC, 2010-2012. Accessed November 10, 2012. www.itgetsbetter.org (Grades 6-12).
The It Gets Better Project is a worldwide movement to support and inspire LGBT youth dealing with harassment, reminding them that they are not alone and that life gets better. The project began in 2010 when author Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller created a YouTube video to encourage youth dealing with harassment. Since then over 50,000 user created videos have been submitted from celebrities, politicians, organizations, and everyday young people. The messages are appropriate for adolescents and teenagers coming to terms with their sexual identities, and are intended to reassure young adults that their lives will improve after high school, that the pressures, judgments, and bullying they may be experiencing now are temporary, and that they can develop a strong, social support network. Savage and Miller have also published a book, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, which is listed below.
3. Speaking OUT Against Bullying. American Library Association. Accessed November 14, 2012. http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/popularresources/bullying. (Grades K-12, Adults)
This ALA list compiled by the GBLT Round Table contains various links to resources supporting the GLBT community. Resources include contact information for a suicide hotline, links to various organizations and projects, true stories submitted by GBLT youth, legal resources, research, and news articles.
4. Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International. Accessed November 10, 2012. http://www.kidpower.org. (Grades K-12, Adults).
Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, or Kidpower for short, is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to working together to build cultures of caring, respect, and safety for everyone, everywhere.” Programs focus on bullying prevention, abuse prevention, and kidnapping prevention. The website includes a free online library of bullying prevention resources, tips for children, teens, and adults, as well as information about in-person workshops, long distance, seminars, personal coaching for families, and consultations for schools, organizations, and employers. Other tools include teaching kits and guides for parents and teachers.
5. The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project, Inc., 2010. Accessed November 14, 2012. www.thetrevorproject.org. (Grades 6-12).
On its website, The Trevor Project describes itself as “the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.” Founded in 1998 and named after the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, the project operates a national crisis hotline for LGBT teens and young adults. The home page provides access to the hotline phone number, blogs, social media, videos, suicide prevention tips, and volunteer opportunities.
6. “Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment in Our Nation’s Classrooms.” Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students to the American Institutes for Research. Accessed November 24-25, 2012. http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov. (Adults, Educators).
This website provides free training modules for teachers to learn skills to address bullying in the classroom. Important aspects include “cultivating meaningful relationships with students” and “creating a positive climate in the classroom.” The first module focuses on understanding and intervening in bullying behavior. The second module focuses on building a supportive classroom climate. A trainer’s guide, PowerPoint, handouts, and trainer feedback forms are included. Links are provided for additional resources, including other training toolkits, webinar series, and stopbullying.gov.
7. “Violence Prevention Works.” Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Hazeldon Publishing. Accessed November 10, 2012. www.violencepreventionworks.org. (Adults).
The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence recognizes the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, and the Blueprint Model Program and by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health recognized it as a Model Program. Research based and internationally known, the program is designed for students age 5 through 15 and seeks to eliminate current bullying problems in schools, as well as prevent new bullying problems from developing. Aimed at school administrators, educators, and parents, this website offers a variety of tips, materials, and programs to address bullying in schools.
8. “Bullying.” The National Crime Prevention Council. Accessed November 24, 2012. http://www.ncpc.org/topics/bullying. (Grades 1-3, Parents and Educators).
This website provides a plethora of information for children, educators, and parents. Quick reference documents such as “A Dozen Things Teachers Can Do To Stop School Violence,” with versions available for principals and parents, offer concrete strategies for preventing and coping with violence. Other information includes bullying information, training for youth and adults, publications and products, programs, and downloadable resources.
VIDEOS AND DVDs
9. Bullies Never Win. Spoken Arts, 2011. (Grades K-3).
Based on the book by Margery Cuyler, this video uses the story about a girl who stands up to a bully, this film presents options for dealing with bullies. The video features an introduction from the author and includes a study guide with discussion questions and activities for students to explore coping strategies, how to recognize hurtful behaviors, and develop empathy.
10. Wise Owl Bully Stopper Kit. Human Relations Media, 2011. 32 min. (Grades K-2, Teachers).
Hosted by the animated Wise Owl, this DVD series includes example vignettes and covers topics such as recognizing bullies, coping techniques, and how to help others being bullied. The available teaching kit includes a teacher’s guide, classroom posters, activity materials, and a teacher’s resource book filled with coloring pages, worksheets, and project ideas.
11. Bully Bystanders: You Can Make a Difference, Human Relations Media, 2010. 17 min. (Grades 7-12).
It is difficult for students to stand up to someone who is bullying a classmate, but inaction often makes things worse. This program follows Jason, an older teen, whose rule of survival in high school is like most students, “MYOB” (mind your own business). Over time, on the bus ride to school, in the classroom, in the library, and in the cafeteria, Jason watches as a classmate is verbally harassed, excluded, and the target of cyberbullying. When he hears that she has attempted suicide—or bullycide—he imagines how this could have been prevented if he had stepped in. This dramatization of the same scenarios, replayed, is effective and constructive as Jason’s calm but assertive interjections diffuse the situations and cause the tormenters to back off. Graphics offer factual information and interviews with real teens reveal the trauma of being a victim, the relief of the spectator who isn’t the target, and the acknowledgement that bystanders want to intervene, but usually don’t. Poignant photos of Carl Walker Hoover, who committed suicide at age 11, are shown as his sister explains that she had no idea that he had been being bullied. The strength of the program is the honest testimony of the diverse group of teens, the simple strategies for intervening, and a focus on the commonly ignored element in bullying—the bystander. This realistic, well-produced film is a must-see for high school students.
– Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia Jr. Sr. High School, NY, School Library Journal Starred Review
12. Pushed to the Brink: Bullycide on the Rise. Human Relations Media, 2011. 20 min. (Grades 7-12).
Kristina and Jeffrey were victims of bullying. We see photos and hear from their mothers who are trying to understand how taunts from schoolmates resulted in their suicides. The ubiquitous problem of bullying among youth is explored in a straightforward manner. The mothers of the two victims articulate the trajectory of torment their children endured, and attempt to share possible ways to stop bullying. Dr. Joel Haber, a clinical psychologist, discusses different types of bullying. Four teens explain how bullying hurt them and how they moved beyond the pain. There are many different forms of bullying, and there are physical, verbal and exclusionary tactics all designed to humiliate the victim. Cyberbullying may be the worst of all because these comments and images travel with lightning speed to a wide universe of recipients. Methods to combat bullying are presented. It is emphasized that victims of bullying must be defended by others. The tone of the DVD is direct without being preachy, and the use of corny simulations is avoided. A welcome tool to help fight this pervasive problem. –Robin Levin, Fort Washakie School/Community Library, WY, School Library Journal Review
13. The Wild Wild Web: A Student’s Guide to Preventing Cyber Bullying. Twisted Scholar and Intermedia, 2010. 26 min. (Grades 5-8).
“Break the chain and stop the pain” is a repeated message about the triangular relationship between bullies, victims, and bystanders. Part of a “Code of Conduct” for the “Wild, Wild Web,” this rule joins two others: “If you wouldn’t say it face-to-face, don’t say it in cyberspace,” and “Tell someone.” These rules are delivered by a nerdy but charming 20-something narrator who sings and dances his way through a middle-school classroom and travels via special effects to various destinations. At a picnic area, he acts out an analogy of a bully being the match, the victim the charcoal, and the bystanders the lighter fluid in most bullying incidents. The informative and entertaining program also interviews adolescents about their cyberbullying experiences and interjects captioned commentary by educators and other experts, including Dr. Phil. In the segment about telling someone about a cyberbullying incident, viewers are encouraged to gather evidence, such as using a screen capture of malicious messages or images to show a parent, counselor, or trusted adult. The endearing narrator and easy-to-remember “Code of Conduct,” repeated in song and graphics, make this a must-have program for middle school audiences.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia Jr. Sr. High School, NY, School Library Journal Starred Review
14. How to be Assertive: Sticking Up for Yourself (Play It Out Series). Mazzarella Media, 2011. 28 min. (Grades 7-12).
Standing up to bullying and peer pressure requires that students learn how to be assertive and communicate their needs. A diverse group of young actors dramatize various situations in which someone is being coerced to do something that they find uncomfortable. Segments depict teens being pressured into drinking, using steroids, going to a party where drugs are being used, and having sex. Some of the vignettes are depicted three times with the teen responding passively, angrily, and assertively. The host explains how to speak in an assertive manner, that it is okay to change your mind, and more. Viewers are told that being assertive “gives them the power to negotiate.” The film culminates with a the consultants reviewing the information and stating that “people often mistake aggression for assertion” and that being assertive can be frightening because it requires you to take a risk. Although the “consultants” offer the most concise and usable information of the production, their credentials are not given. This film does a fine job of presenting some very basic points about becoming assertive and would be useful to generate classroom discussion.–Lisa Hubler, Memorial Junior High School, South Euclid, OH, School Library Journal Review
15. Bullying: Help! and Cyberbullying: When Bullies Attack…in the Digital World. BrainPOP, 1999-2012. http://www.brainpop.com. (Grades 3-8).
BrainPOP, an educational website featuring short animated videos for all different subject areas, includes several videos instructing students on how to address bullying in their schools. Most videos on the website require a subscription. Bullying: Help! defines bullying and it various forms while providing tricks for students to protect themselves and intervene on the behalf of others. Cyberbullying, available free without a subscription, defines and gives examples of cyberbullying. Advice includes letting bullies know they are being hurtful, ignoring or blocking bullies, or saving emails and screenshots to report incidents to adults. Sticking up for others and being careful not to be a cyberbully yourself are other important lessons. Web safety tips include protecting personal information and passwords. Quizzes and activities accompany the videos to reinforce lessons learned.
16. Bully. Directed by Lee Hirsch. Where We Live Films, 2011. 94 min. (Grades 6-12).
Winner of numerous awards, Bully is a 2011 documentary that explores bullying in schools across the United States and seeks to draw attention to the 13 million students who will be bullied in the next school year. The following plot synopsis is from the movie’s website, which also includes trailers, stories, and information about the companion book and the Bully Project, a social action campaign that emerged from the film’s success.
Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.
BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole. –Plot Synopsis, Bully Production Notes
17. Are You A Bully? Test. Human Relations Media, 2011. 23 min. (Grades 6-9).
Bullying takes many forms, and bullies come in different ages and sizes, but the end result is always the same, with the victim suffering physically, psychologically, and emotionally. In this informative program, youngsters talk about what it feels like to be bullied. Expert Joel Haber offers helpful commentary, explaining that most bullies do it to inflict harm, feel superior, instill fear, and acquire respect and admiration from friends. Different forms of bullying are examined, with dynamic and articulate teen hosts challenging viewers to examine their own behavior. Bullying can take the form of pushing and shoving, spreading malicious rumors, excluding others by telling secrets, teasing, deliberately hurting someone, posting false information online, and sending nasty text messages. Examples of each type are included, and victims talk about their feelings and responses, and former bullies explain their behavior. Includes an educators’ resource book with student activities and much more. — Carol Holzberg, Booklist Review September 8, 2011.
18. Borda, Michelle. Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues That Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing. Jossey-Bass, 2001.
In her “Bullies and Bullying” list on the ALA website, Helen Foster James recommends this title as a professional resource, stating, “ This resource provides educators with strategies to assist children in developing strong moral habits, controlling aggression, standing up to peers, and handling emotions.” Additional resources are available on the companion web site at http://www.moralintelligence.com.
19. Savage, Dan and Terry Miller. It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. Dutton, 2011. 340p. (Grades 6-12).
“I wish I could have told you things get better.” The words that became a call to action were born in the comments section on a blog post written by Savage about 15-year-old Billy Lucas. Savage, an author (The Kid, 1999), gay activist, and sex-advice columnist, together with his partner, Miller, launched the It Gets Better project on YouTube as a reaction to Lucas’ and two other suicides precipitated by gay bullying during the summer of 2010. So far it’s garnered more than 10,000 videos filled with messages of hope, love, and encouragement for LGBT teens from LGBT and straight adults wishing to reach out to kids with limited support and resources. It Gets Better—the book—expands on a selection of those videos, capturing stories from people of every background, including a startling collection of famous writers, entertainers, and politicians. Particularly noteworthy are essays from President Obama and David Sedaris and a bilingual entry from a Mexican student now living in Canada. This a resource every library should have on hand. — Courtney Jones, Booklist Review, April 27, 2011.
20. Strauss, Susan. Sexual Harassment and Bullying: A Guide to Keeping Kids Safe and Holding Schools Accountable. Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. (Adults).
Being bullied or harassed is a common fear of schoolchildren, but recently, the use of social media and the suicides of children who have been severely harassed have heightened the concern of parents and educators. Strauss draws on her experiences as consultant, former high-school teacher, and parent of a child who was sexually harassed to advise parents, teachers, and other adults on how to protect children. She begins by clearly defining bullying and sexual harassment and advising how to avoid overreacting to innocent curiosity. Strauss offers a particular focus on the kind of harassment of gay, bisexual, and transgendered students that has led to suicide in several cases, highlighting warning signs for distress in children who are harassed. She devotes a separate chapter to examining how social media, including MySpace and Facebook, have ramped up bullying and harassment. Finally, she examines laws and school policies regarding harassment and provides sound advice on how parents can hold schools accountable for misbehavior and protect their children. Strauss includes a guide for online and other contact information for helpful resources.— Vanessa Bush, Booklist Review November 15, 2011
21. Ryan, Peter. Online Bullying. Teen Mental Health, 2011. (Grades 9-12).
The Teen Mental Health series covers serious topics that can affect the lives of older teenagers still reading at a fifth- to sixth-grade reading level. Content is written in a bland but conversational style, and pages are broken up with headings to make them easier to read. Illustrations show teens from a variety of ethnic groups, but some of the same pictures are repeated from book to book. Online Bullying focuses on both the bullies and their victims, emphasizing the seriousness with examples of teens who were driven to suicide. Each of the books includes a set of “10 Great Questions to Ask a School Counselor” and a list of additional resources. Students looking for in-depth information will not find it in this series, but those wanting to know a little more about mental-health issues for themselves or their peers may find the help they need. — Susan Dove Lempke, Booklist Review November 15, 2011
22. Franel, Erin. Weird! Illustrated by Paula Heaphy. Free Spirit Press, 2012. (Grades 1-3).
Luisa tells her story: “I have a problem. There’s a girl in my class who thinks that everything I do is WEIRD!” Whenever Luisa speaks in class, tells a joke, or wears her polka-dot boots, Sam is always around muttering “weird.” Luisa keeps changing her behavior to appease Sam, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. After talking it over with her mom, Luisa puts on her boots, tells her jokes, and raises her hand. She realizes, “The more I act like I don’t care what she says, the more I really don’t care.” This book, with its scrawling ink art highlighted with pops of color, does some things very well, especially dealing with the feelings of someone who is not so much bullied in the classical sense, but is bewildered and losing confidence because she thinks she needs to please others. (The book does call this bullying.) The substantive back matter, including tips for coping with bullying, help further push this blend of fiction and information into the nonfiction camp. — Ilene Cooper, Booklist Review September 15, 2011
23. Balog, Cyn et al. Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories. HarperTeen, 2011. 384p. (Grades 7-12).
In brief, true stories about bullying victims, perpetrators, and bystanders, 70 children’s authors look back at what was often the hell of growing up, especially in junior high. In addition to the painful accounts of victims are stories about perpetrators that describe with candid honesty the rush of behaving badly. Many entries detail the guilt of the bystander who did nothing (“I watched. . . . I was quiet”). Jon Sczieska feels guilty about having been part of the “no-think group brain” in fifth grade, and coeditor Jones writes in free verse about being bullied for her speech defect before she grew up to lead a successful adult life. For many, “I wish I had . . .” sums up their messages of regret. A few stories have a heavy-handed tone, but readers probably won’t mind. With authority often turning a blind eye and cyber-bullying rampant, this timely collection is an excellent resource, especially for group discussion, and the appended, annotated list of websites and further reading extends its usefulness. — Hazel Rochman, Booklist Review July, 2011.
Booklist. School Library Journal. Accessed November 10-26, 2012. http://www.booklistonline.com.
James, Helen Foster. “Bullies and Bullying.” Book Links. American Library Association, February/March 2002 (v.11, no.4). Accessed November 10-26, 2012. http://www.ala.org/offices/Publishing/booklist/booklinks/resources/bulliesbullying.
Mandell, Phyllis Levy. “National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month.” School Library Journal, September 15, 2011. Accessed November 16-26, 2012. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/Slj/home/892024-312/national_anti-bullying_awareness_month.html.csp.