A Nebraska school is under fire for giving questionable bullying advice. On Wednesday, Zeman Elementary school distributed the flyers, which included nine “rules” for dealing with bullies. Parents were outraged, as the rules specifically stated “do not tell on bullies.”
As the flyers appear to be outdated, their original source is unknown. However, school officials admitted sending the rules home with numerous fifth grade students on Wednesday afternoon.
Bullying has become an epidemic in schools throughout the United States. As school administrators and parents attempt to cope with the issue, children are encouraged to report any and all incidents.
The Nebraska school’s bullying advice is not only unusual, it goes against all other advice the children have received. Although some of the rules are sound, others are specifically bizarre.
Rules number one, four, and, six, advise children to remain calm when faced with bullies. All four rules offer valid advice, as getting angry and fighting back may escalate the situation.
Rule number two is specifically unusual as it encourages children to “treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you.” The second rule also advises students to “be grateful and think they really care about you.”
Rule number seven is the most disturbing, as it advises children to “not tell on bullies.” The flyer continues, explaining why students should not tell:
“The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate… Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?”
The Nebraska school’s bullying advise is specifically harmful, as it underlines the reason many children fail to report bullies — they fear retaliation.
Parents, who received the flyers on Wednesday, took their complaints to the school district’s Facebook page. The complaints prompted the Lincoln Public school District to offer an apology.
“The flyer was sent home with good intentions, unfortunately, it contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents…. We apologize for any problems or confusion this has caused for students and families.”
The apology included a link to the districts website, which includes updated bullying advice. Although the original flyer offered tips for students, the updated information was developed for parents.
Thankfully, the updated Nebraska school bullying advice includes valid and useful information for parents and their children.