Teasing & Bullying YouTube video for CSA virtual conference highlights PREVNet anti-bullying resource

This video has been prepared for a workshop about Bullying & Teasing at the Canadian Stuttering Association virtual conference on Nov. 6-8, 2020.

The video highlights PREVNet – an evidence-based website and network that focuses on bullying.

PREVNet stands for: Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network.

Jaan Pill is a retired schoolteacher who stuttered severely until he got effective treatment.

He comments that for many years he lived on Planet Stutter (separate from the world) until a few people convinced him that he belonged on Planet Earth along with everybody else.

The sense of belonging is something he’s thought about over the years.

You can reach Jaan Pill at jpill@preservedstories.com

His Twitter handle is @jaanpill

Additional videos – about local history and about stuttering – can be accessed at Jaan Pill Vimeo

Transcript of Teasing & Bullying video

Below is a transcript (lightly edited) of the video based on the transcript created automatically by the online editing app at the YouTube website:

I’m a retired elementary school teacher; I retired in 2006. If I have that correct, that was 14 years ago.

When I was six years old I began to stutter. During my teens and my twenties I stuttered severely. At times I could not get out any words at all.

So in my case I chose to find a treatment program that would enable me to deal with stuttering.

Given my interest [in such matters], I’m very much impressed with a website and a network called PREVNet, which stands for Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network. It was founded by Debra Pepler of York University and Wendy Craig of Queen’s University. This network was set up in 2006.

So I strongly recommend – if you have an interest in bullying, especially in evidence-based overviews of bullying – what it is, how to address it, all kinds of information – I strongly recommend PREVNet.

It’s a not-for-profit network of 130 leading Canadian research scientists, and it includes 145 graduate students and emerging scholars. It includes 30 universities and 62 national youth-serving organizations.

And among the topics that you will find at the website is

an overview of PREVNet;

a discussion of what bullying is, and what we can do about it;

there’s also a discussion about signs of bullying;

dangers of bullying;

what parents need to know;

what kids need to know about bullying;

what teens need to know;

what educators need to know.

And it also discusses types of bullying.

I recommend this website very highly.

Definition

A widely used definition, which I subscribe to, defines bullying as a relationship problem. It’s a problem of relationships, and it involves the assertion of interpersonal power through aggression.

To put it another way, bullying is a subtype or a form of aggression.

Other forms of aggression include things like harassment, intimidation, violence in a wide variety of forms – both verbal violence and physical violence, and social violence.

And from my perspective it also includes structural violence, and systemic discrimination.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, ever so slightly.

Problem of relationships

So we can say that it’s a problem of relationships. It involves the assertion of interpersonal power through aggression.

And also, in the standard definition, bullying involves negative physical or verbal action that has hostile intent.

It also causes distress to the victims of bullying, and it is repeated over time, and it involves a power differential between bullies and their victims

Some qualifications

Now, that definition has been qualified by some observers, including Marilyn Langevin from the University of Alberta, who developed a school-based and classroom-based anti-bullying program.

She has noted that on some occasions a single instance of bullying can have a tremendously negative impact on a person’s life.

So we don’t always need to say – according to Marilyn Langevin, and others – we don’t always need to say that bullying is always something that is repeated.

Another aspect of this – if I can find where I’ve written these notes – another aspect of this is that, in the standard definition, we assume that there’s a power differential between the bully – between the person who is in the role of the bully and the person who is in the role of the victim

So, in the standard definition the bully has more power – is maybe larger, is physically stronger, or in some way is more powerful, than the person toward whom the bullying is being directed.

And what Marilyn Langevin and others have pointed out is that, sometimes, bullying can occur where there is no evident power differential. And sometimes this is especially evident in cyberbullying, where there’s no definite or clear distinction, between the person who bullies and the person who is bullied.

Planet Stutter

I can just say a few words about my own situation. When I was younger I stuttered severely, as I’ve mentioned.

I was never teased or bullied to any great extent. I was never bullied, for example, because of the fact I stuttered.

And among the reasons might be that I had plenty of friends; and I had a a way with words, even though I stuttered. If someone said something nasty to me, I was quite capable of using my command of language to respond in a way that would set things right, for me.

Even though that’s the situation, one of the things that I felt was a sense that I didn’t really belong to the human race.

I believed that, as one of my friends from years ago from my volunteer work, said, she felt that she lived on Planet Stutter, and it was a separate planet from Planet Earth, and I certainly felt that. I felt that I really wasn’t a part of the human race.

And it happened, every once in a while, I would meet someone, and just through their body language and their way of speaking with me, they communicated to me, that even though I stuttered, I was okay – I was a fellow human being.

And I don’t remember too many things from when I was younger. My memory isn’t the most fantastic. Unless I write it down, I forget all kinds of things.

So many years – so many things from years ago, are just a blank, and I’m just as happy to leave it as a blank – but I do remember those times, when someone communicated to me that I was okay, and I am, indeed, a full-fledged member of the human race.

And that sense of belonging to the human race was such a powerful thing for me, and I really appreciate that someone – a number of people – just in the course of speaking with me, made it a point to welcome me into the human race.

And that to me is a form of compassion. It’s a form of empathy and it just underlines that, sometimes, the smallest things that we do, out of kindness, can have a lasting, positive lifelong impact. I am so thankful for those people who let me know that even though I stuttered I still belonged.

Marilyn Langevin – Teasing & Bullying: Unacceptable Behaviour

What I like about Marilyn Langevin’s anti-bullying program – which is called Teasing & Bullying: Unacceptable Behaviour, or TAB for short – what I like about the program is that it was developed over a period of several years; it has been field tested; and its effectiveness has been documented on the basis of evidence-based research.

It’s not simply a program where someone introduces something, and then asks a few people what they think, and then decides, “Well, this is a fantastic program.” It’s important to have data to back up any program of this nature.

Children who stutter are bullied more frequently

There’s been extensive research about how often children are bullied in schools, and a consistent finding in the research is that children who stutter are more frequently subjected to bullying than is the case with students who don’t stutter.

Evening visit at elementary school

So, one time I was back at my school for some evening event, and I went up to the second floor of the school. It’s a small school, and there were students walking up and down the hallways, and one student came up to me and said, “Hey, I know you – you’re Mr. Pill. My older brother was in your class a few years ago and he told me a story that I’ll never forget.

“My brother said, ‘Mr Pill, when I was in grade four, told the class that he stuttered, and he said that if any child, any student, in the school who stutters is getting teased, then Mr. Pill wants to know about it. Because if Mr. Pill hears that some kid who stutters is being teased, Mr. Pill will get mad.'”

And when the student, of course, said that Mr. Pill would get mad, what he was saying was that he would find a way to deal with it.

And that’s indeed is what happened. I had one student who was being teased, by a couple of other students. And so I had a quiet talk with each of the students, who were alleged to be teasing. And that was the end of the teasing.

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