- Rumors and gossip are a form of bullying.
- It is important to communicate with trusted adults.
- Help is always available.
- Social and emotional changes are just as much a part of adolescence as physical ones.
Adolescent Bullying Awareness Program Grades 6–8
Bullying is a widespread and serious problem. From the playground to the classroom to the Internet, bullying can happen anywhere at any time. Ninety percent of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.* Statistics indicate that there is a strong connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 14.†
Bullying affects not only the victim. Sixty percent of middle school bullies continue to have run-ins with the law later in life.
Kaiser Permanente’s adolescent bullying awareness program for grades 6 – 8 demonstrates to students that they are not alone and help is available. It supports the Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools in the areas of mental, emotional and social health; injury prevention and safety; and growth, development and sexual health.
THE PLAY (50 minutes)
Someone Like Me tells the story of the changing friendships of four middle school students, Danielle, Jacob, Gabriel, and Carmella. Formerly the best of friends, they find themselves growing apart. When Gabriel takes Danielle’s journal, it sets off a series of events, culminating with Danielle seeking help in dealing with her depression and thoughts of suicide. The play also addresses the issue of relational bullying (gossip, rumors, and cyber bullying).
The program is designed as a springboard for discussions between students, teachers, parents and other trusted adults. It also models ways for students to reach out for help (for themselves or their friends) should they need it. At the end of each performance, the actor-educators are available to the students to talk one-on-one. Disclosures made by the students regarding abuse, bullying, depression or threats to themselves or others are taken seriously. Those students are bridged to the principal, counselor or other school personnel for further follow-up. In addition, all students receive a list of health related resources should they need it for themselves or a friend.
*Bullying Statistics: “Bullying Statistics 2010”; (2010); http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-statistics-2010.html
† Make Beats Not Beat Downs: “Bullying Facts”; (2011); http://www.makebeatsnotbeatdowns.org/facts_new.html