Update: All of the bully poems are now available online.
Tomorrow (27 Feb) is wear pink day, and according to Christy Clark:
Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet … on February 27th I encourage all of you to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere. I wish I could take credit for this idea but it comes from two incredible Nova Scotia high school students … [more on Christy’s website]
Andrea, my wife, was involved in anti-bullying program development for several years, and unfortunately not enough has been done to really address the issues. One of her sources of inspiration was Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander. A few years back, Andrea wrote a series of thirteen poems on the theme of bullying and then developed discussion topics and suggested learning activities for each one. She never published these, [update: more of Andrea’s poems now at BullyPoems] but I have convinced her to let me post one on my blog for today:
Belinda Bates is a bully
A bossy, belligerent bully.
Though a beauty and bright,
She’s so full of spite
But adults don’t know she’s a bully.
“Oh please let me help, Miss O’Neil”
“What a lovely tie, Mister Beal”
She’s as sweet as canned spinach
A fake to the finish,
Yet, grown-ups are sure she’s for real.
If they’d walk out on the playground
On any given day
They’d see Miss Bates in action,
And much to their dismay,
They’d see …
A shy girl is shunned and she’s teased,
Her brother is kicked in the knees,
Another called “Fatso”
They all laughed so.
Such pain she inflicts with great ease.
I can see it happen.
And I know it isn’t right.
I can tell a teacher,
And refuse to watch a fight
I can help save the shy girl.
Lift her brother to his feet.
Call Fatso by his real name,
And refuse to join the clique.
I can even be nice to Belinda,
For I’m sure there is something wrong.
I think that she is really unhappy.
Let’s see if we can’t get along.
Topics for Discussion:
- Why are adults often not aware of a bully’s behaviour and how does a bully manage to pass undetected?
- Describe different types of bullying: physical; verbal; relational; or scoial. How do they manifest themselves.
- What are cliques? When do cliques become a problem?
- What roles can an onlooker play?
- When should you intervene, and how?
- What might be the underlying cause of bullying behaviour?
- Using the first stanza as an example, practise using alliteration to write a stanza about bullying.
- Using the phrase “She’s as sweet as canned spinach” as an example, write other similes to describe bullies.
- Explore empathy by finding possible explanations (not justifications) for Belinda’s behaviour.
- Try methods of intervening by role-playing.