- Last Updated on 02 August 2012
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The class comes after 40 students were caught bullying this past school year and were sent to a Saturdays for Success program to confront their own destructive behavior.
“The biggest part behind it is to create a culture and climate in school where all kids are accepted and bullying is not,” said retired Boston public school teacher and principal Ed Donnelly, who is leading the three-day workshop.
Donnelly is the co-director of the Bullying Prevention Research Institute run by the Education Development Center, a nonprofit hired by Boston Public Schools to help develop bully prevention initiatives.
His “pupils” will go on to become bully intervention and prevention specialists for their schools, serving as a support system for victims of all kinds of bullying — from traditional name-calling and brutish acts to anonymous cyber smears.
The specialists will also educate other teachers on spotting bullying, and encourage bystanders to take a stand and to help redirect a bully’s energy into constructive actions.
“Being a bully is a learned behavior. ... What we are trying to do is take those kids and let them see there are other ways they can use their power,” he said.
Jennifer Flynn, a special-education teacher who already serves as an intervention specialist at John F. Kennedy School in Jamaica Plain, said she wanted to learn more about combating bullying after a fifth-grader came to her after getting repeatedly teased by classmates who called her “dumb” and “stupid” because she is a slow reader.
“I took this to up my knowledge,” she said.
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