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Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well.
 
No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook, the website where so much teenage life, good and bad, now unfolds.
 
Along the way, Bazelon defines what bullying is and, just as important, what it is not. She explores when intervention is essential and when kids should be given the freedom to fend for themselves. She also dispels persistent myths: that girls bully more than boys, that online and in-person bullying are entirely distinct, that bullying is a common cause of suicide, and that harsh criminal penalties are an effective deterrent. Above all, she believes that to deal with the problem, we must first understand it.
 
Blending keen journalistic and narrative skills, Bazelon explores different facets of bullying through the stories of three young people who found themselves caught in the thick of it. Thirteen-year-old Monique endured months of harassment and exclusion before her mother finally pulled her out of school. Jacob was threatened and physically attacked over his sexuality in eighth grade—and then sued to protect himself and change the culture of his school. Flannery was one of six teens who faced criminal charges after a fellow student’s suicide was blamed on bullying and made international headlines. With grace and authority, Bazelon chronicles how these kids’ predicaments escalated, to no one’s benefit, into community-wide wars. Cutting through the noise, misinformation, and sensationalism, she takes us into schools that have succeeded in reducing bullying and examines their successful strategies. The result is a groundbreaking book that will help parents, educators, and teens themselves better understand what kids are going through today and what can be done to help them through it.

Contains a new discussion guide for classroom use and book groups

Praise for Sticks and Stones
 
“Intelligent, rigorous . . . [Emily Bazelon] is a compassionate champion for justice in the domain of childhood’s essential unfairness.”—Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Bazelon] does not stint on the psychological literature, but the result never feels dense with studies; it’s immersive storytelling with a sturdy base of science underneath, and draws its authority and power from both.”New York
 
“A humane and closely reported exploration of the way that hurtful power relationships play out in the contemporary public-school setting . . . As a parent herself, [Bazelon] brings clear, kind analysis to complex and upsetting circumstances.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Bullying isn’t new. But our attempts to respond to it are, as Bazelon explains in her richly detailed, thought-provoking book. . . . Comprehensive in her reporting and balanced in her conclusions, Bazelon extracts from these stories useful lessons for young people, parents and principals alike.”—The Washington Post

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Monique

Monique McClain wanted a new hairstyle for the first week of seventh grade.

She got the idea from her mother, Alycia, who had her long dark hair done up in a sweep over the summer, so that it lay braided smooth on one side of her head and fell in a cascade of curls down the other. Monique, who was thirteen, had her mother’s long dark hair and wanted the sweep for her first week at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown, Connecticut. She thought it would look grown-up.

A friend of Alycia’s who does hair came over and went to work on Monique. When she was finished and Monique’s hair was sleek and shiny, her mother snapped a photo of her daughter in profile, a stud earring in the shape of an M gleaming below the braids and a shy half smile on her face. She looked like a more glamorous version of her old jeans-and-ponytail self. Monique didn’t usually like to strut, but that morning she let her curls swing on the way to the bus stop. “I was excited to go to school,” she said. “I liked how my hair looked. It felt special.”

But Monique’s head was down when Alycia looked out of her fourth-floor apartment window that afternoon and saw her daughter walking home from the bus stop. Alycia called from the window to ask if the hairstyle had been a hit, and Monique said nothing, just shook her head. At the door she followed her mother’s rules by stopping to take off her sneakers, then came inside to tell what had happened: two eighth-grade girls on her bus, Destiny and Cheyenne, had mocked her for being a “biter”—a copycat. It turned out that Destiny’s cousin had gotten the same hairstyle the week before. Monique hadn’t known that. Still, in Destiny’s and Cheyenne’s eyes, she was a biter, and biters were fair game.

The older girls, who were known for being tough, kept at it the next day. They trailed Monique when she got off the bus, walking a few steps behind her and taunting her all the way down the street and onto the grounds of her apartment complex. Monique didn’t know why they cared so much about a hairstyle. She just wanted it to stop. She went to her room and called her friend Sonia. “The eighth graders are in my face on the bus and I can’t take it,” she said. Sonia didn’t ride Monique’s bus; none of her friends did. She had no one to sit with, no one who could be a buffer against Destiny and Cheyenne.

Listening, Alycia felt bad for Monique, but she figured it would blow over. It was just girls being rude; it was just a hairstyle. They’d forget the whole thing by morning. Wouldn’t they?

But the next afternoon, Monique’s head was hanging again: Destiny and Cheyenne had taunted her for being a biter on the way to school and on the way home. Alycia walked Monique to the bus stop in the morning, stayed to make sure Destiny and Cheyenne didn’t bother her, and at noon headed to Woodrow Wilson to report that her daughter was being bullied. Alycia met with a Middletown police detective who was stationed at the middle school. He called in Monique and assistant principal Diane Niles. Niles told Monique that if the girls made fun of her again on the way home, the school would take action. Principal Charles Marqua came in for a few minutes and also assured Alycia the school would not stand for this kind of behavior. “They said they would handle it,” she told me later. “That they would not tolerate those girls going after Monique like that.”

And so when Alycia met Monique at the bus stop later that afternoon, she expected to hear that the ride had gone smoothly. But Monique was blank-faced and silent. When the other kids streamed away down the street, she mumbled to her mother in a low voice that the eighth graders were now calling her a snitch as well as a biter. No one—not one kid—was sticking up for her. Alycia called the police on her cell phone to make a harassment complaint. She also called Niles, handing the phone to Monique right there on the sidewalk so she could describe how the bus ride had been worse, not better, than the day before.

Niles listened sympathetically and said she would call Destiny’s and Cheyenne’s parents. But later she called Alycia back to say she hadn’t reached the girls’ parents, which meant she couldn’t tell them to stay off the bus. Niles suggested that Alycia drive Monique to school the next day. Alycia, who is a home health aide trained to care for disabled patients, was working the night shift. She asked her mother, Alexa, to drive Monique in the morning. But this didn’t strike Alycia as a viable long-term solution, since Alexa lived a few miles away and Alycia usually borrowed her car to get to work. And why should Monique be the one forced off the bus?

Niles told Destiny and Cheyenne to sit away from Monique on the way home that day and from then on. Over the next several days, the girls didn’t do as they were told. Some afternoons they got off at the same stop as Monique and followed her home, yelling insults along the way. Smoking cigarettes at the bus stop, they blew smoke in Monique’s face.

During the last week in September, principal Charles Marqua boarded the bus in the afternoon before it left school and admonished Destiny and Cheyenne to sit in the back, away from Monique. Marqua was new to the school. He hadn’t had time to establish his authority, and Destiny and Cheyenne decided to test it. Telling Marqua that only her mother could tell her where to sit, Cheyenne turned her back on him and walked down the aisle. Marqua told her to behave and got off the bus. As soon as it left Woodrow Wilson and rounded the corner, the girls moved to seats right behind Monique, cursing her for snitching, and then shadowed her on the walk home from the bus stop. “We don’t totally control the bus,” Marqua would tell me later. “We can only do so much.”

Monique didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Over the weekend, she did her best to shake off the dread she felt about riding the bus. She saw her friend Sonia and a couple of other girls, and tried to make sure that the bullying didn’t infect the rest of her life. “My friends weren’t jumping into it,” she said, talking about the trouble she was having with Destiny and Cheyenne. “I always had a lot of different friends at school. I never had a problem like this before.” In fact, Monique had thrived in school, doing well in math and reading and in fifth grade even winning an academic achievement award. Signed by President Obama, it hung on a wall in her grandmother’s apartment next to the invitation Alexa, a devoted Obama supporter, had gotten to the president’s inauguration.

Alycia and Alexa went back to Woodrow Wilson repeatedly in September to press Niles about why Destiny and Cheyenne had been allowed to keep riding the bus and to keep sitting near Monique. Alycia suggested that the girls be suspended from the bus for a month. Niles finally said she would tell them to stay off the bus. But when they didn’t listen to her and went to the bus stop anyway, it turned out that for liability reasons, the bus drivers had orders to let on any kids waiting at the bus stop. Destiny and Cheyenne kept riding and sitting where they pleased.

At last, at the end of September, the girls got a one-day in-school suspension, which they were supposed to spend in a supervised study hall, isolated from the other students. But in the afternoon, Destiny saw Monique walking by on her way to science class, and from the doorway, hissed, “You think ISS”—in-school suspension—“is gonna stop me?”

Back on the bus, Destiny and Cheyenne tried to provoke a showdown. Instead of sitting apart from Monique as they’d again been told to do, they stood in the aisle, berating her, as a bunch of eighth-grade boys started calling, “Fight, fight, fight!” Monique kept her face turned toward the window, putting every bit of will she had into stopping herself from crying. When the bus driver told them to sit down, Destiny and Cheyenne moved to the back and threw pens and food at Monique, persuading a few other kids to join in.

All of this behavior broke the rules for riding the bus. At the time, though, Connecticut didn’t officially require schools to address bullying on the bus or at a bus stop (the law changed the following year). The administrators at Woodrow Wilson tried to help Monique, but their half measures were no match for Destiny and Cheyenne’s determined meanness. At the end of September, assistant principal Niles returned the bullying complaint form that Alycia had filed weeks earlier, checking off the box saying she’d investigated the case and found that Monique was in fact the target of threats and intimidation. She recommended a mediation meeting between Monique, Destiny, and Cheyenne.

Niles meant well, but sitting all three girls down together was likely to backfire. Mediation works well when kids of equal status are having a two-way conflict, not as an antidote to bullying. Putting a victim and her bullies in a room together and asking them to make up doesn’t recognize the power differential between them. Kids who bully are good at manipulating this kind of setting: they often say what adults want to hear in the moment, then retaliate later. One review of anti-bullying programs found that programs that urged peer mediation were associated with more victimization, not less. And if intervention isn’t skillful, bullies can use it to their own destructive ends. No one had to tell Alycia this. “I said absolutely not,” she told me. “It was common sense. You don’t stick a child who’s been bullied in a room with all these girls and expect any real change. There’ll be all this fronting and pretending and then they’d walk out and say she’s a snitch again.” The day after Niles finished her investigation, Cheyenne blew smoke in Monique’s face at the bus stop again.

After a full month of bullying, Alycia was worried about her daughter. Monique was turning inward, losing weight, and sleeping for long stretches—signs, her mother and grandmother feared, that she was depressed. When I met Monique that spring, it was hard for her to talk about the previous fall. Monique had a composed steadiness and could flash a high-wattage smile when she was pleased, but she shut down when I asked her to tell me about her experience at Woodrow Wilson. Her eyes dulled and her voice flattened. She said she didn’t remember much. She avoided saying Destiny’s and Cheyenne’s names. “Yeah, I was crying a lot,” she said, staring at the floor of her living room. “Not in front of anyone, but coming home, talking to my mom, thinking about it. At school I didn’t go to the second floor where the eighth-grade classes are. I tried to stay away from them, but it didn’t work.” At that point, Alycia and Alexa took over telling the story, and Monique got up, went to her bedroom, and closed the door.

Thinking that an activity outside school might help, Alycia signed up Monique for a local boxing program. Monique liked it at first, but then she started to feel excluded because one of the girls on the team was turning the others against her. That girl was Brianna, the cousin of Destiny whose hairstyle Monique been accused of imitating at the beginning of all the heartache. On one bad afternoon, Monique was drinking water when Alycia came to pick her up. A younger girl on the team whom Monique knew well playfully tapped the bottom of the cup Monique was holding, spilling water on her chin. Monique asked the girl to stop. She did it again. Monique threw the cup down and screamed, “Leave me alone!” She ran out of the gym, and by the time Alycia caught up with her, Monique was doubled over by their locked car, sobbing. “Why does everyone keep messing with me?” she asked, over and over. “I just want everyone to leave me alone!” Alycia had never seen Monique break down like that. She realized how much her daughter was holding inside, behind her blank expression and affectless speech. The next day she took Monique to see a therapist.

Alarmed, Alycia now tried everything else she could think of to stop the bullying at school. She called the mother of Monique’s friend Sonia to ask if Sonia would be willing to ride the bus with Monique and sit next to her. That helped for a day or two, but then Destiny and Cheyenne complained to the bus driver that Sonia didn’t belong on this bus, snapping a picture of her so they could prove Sonia had to go back to her own bus. Alycia tried calling the police the next day to report Destiny and Cheyenne for harassing Monique on the way home. An officer came to the house and took down the complaint but said there was nothing he could do: the girls hadn’t broken any laws.

Alycia didn’t know Destiny’s and Cheyenne’s parents, but she had a friend who knew Cheyenne’s mother, and he offered to broker a meeting. “He said, ‘We’re going to solve this,’ ” Alycia remembered. She drove to Cheyenne’s house, and her mother came over to the car. But she quickly got defensive, said her daughter had done nothing wrong, and threatened to have Monique suspended from the bus.

Sick with frustration, Alycia turned away. Monique would be waiting for her at home, hoping for relief, and she had none to offer.

Why do strong kids like Destiny and Cheyenne go after weaker kids like Monique?

I started asking myself this question soon after I met Monique. It also happens to be the starting point for the first research ever done on bullying, more than forty years ago. A Swedish graduate student named Dan Olweus had just finished his PhD in psychology in 1969 when he decided to study aggression and victimization among boys. At the time, few adults considered meanness among kids to be a subject worthy of academic attention, but Olweus shuttled from school to school in Stockholm and the town of Solna, asking one thousand sixth- and eighth-grade boys to tell him which of their peers started fights or teased other kids, and which kids were targets. Uncertain about the reliability of the boys’ answers, he checked their responses against the impressions of their mothers and teachers. He then asked what aggressors and targets looked like: How did they talk and behave? Were they physically strong or weak? He gave the boys Rorschach-like psychological tests, and went into their homes to gather information about social status and child-rearing practices. How much education and money did the boys’ parents have? How strictly did they discipline their children? Finally, Olweus collected data on the school setting and climate. Did the size of a school or a class matter? Did students’ attitudes toward their teachers and their schoolwork?
Emily Bazelon

About Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon - Sticks and Stones
Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. Before joining Slate, she worked as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, and lives in New Haven with her husband and two sons. This is her first book.
Praise

Praise

“Intelligent, rigorous . . . [Emily Bazelon] is a compassionate champion for justice in the domain of childhood’s essential unfairness.”—Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Bazelon] does not stint on the psychological literature, but the result never feels dense with studies; it’s immersive storytelling with a sturdy base of science underneath, and draws its authority and power from both.”New York
 
“A humane and closely reported exploration of the way that hurtful power relationships play out in the contemporary public-school setting . . . As a parent herself, [Bazelon] brings clear, kind analysis to complex and upsetting circumstances.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Bullying isn’t new. But our attempts to respond to it are, as Bazelon explains in her richly detailed, thought-provoking book. . . . Comprehensive in her reporting and balanced in her conclusions, Bazelon extracts from these stories useful lessons for young people, parents and principals alike.”—The Washington Post
 
“A serious, important book that reads like a page-turner . . . Emily Bazelon is a gifted writer, and this powerful work is sure to place childhood bullying at the heart of the national conversation—right where it belongs.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
 
“Bullying is misunderstood. Not all conflict between kids is bullying. It isn’t always clear who is the bully and who is the victim. Not all—or even most—kids are involved in bullying. And bullying isn’t the only factor in a child’s suicide, ever. Emily Bazelon, who wrote about the subject for Slate in 2010, here expands her reporting in an important, provocative book about what we can—and can’t—do about the problem.”The Boston Globe
 
“In Sticks and Stones . . . journalist and editor Emily Bazelon brings a sure hand and investigative heft to her exploration of bullying, which, in the era of social media, includes both digital and old-fashioned physical cruelty.”Los Angeles Times


From the Hardcover edition.
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



NOTE TO TEACHERS

Please click on the PDF link below to download the Teacher's Guide. 

ABOUT THIS GUIDE’S WRITER
 
MEREDITH GAVRIN is the Program Director of New Haven Academy, a public interdistrict magnet school that she co-founded with her husband, Greg Baldwin, in 2003. NHA is a founding member of the Facing History and Ourselves Innovative Schools Network. Meredith has also taught history and humanities at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a New York City public school, and Germantown Academy, a private school in the Philadelphia suburbs. She received her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and her M.Ed. at Harvard University.
 
 
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
 
Thanks to Facing History and Ourselves, an organization that encourages educators to teach civic responsibility, tolerance, and social action to young people as a way of fostering moral adulthood, for help in creating this guide, and for making materials available to be included in it. The structure of the guide follows the teaching methodology developed by Facing History.
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
1. GUIDE OVERVIEW
 
Suggestions for Classroom Use…..3
 
2. MONIQUE…..5
 
Identity…..6
 
Belonging…..9
 
Bystanders and Upstanders…..12
 
Media and Social Media…..17
 
The Law…..22
 
3. JACOB…..26
 
Identity…..27
 
Belonging…..30
 
Bystanders and Upstanders…..33
 
Media and Social Media…..38
 
The Law…..41
 
4. FLANNERY…..45          
 
Identity…..46
 
Belonging…..49
 
Bystanders and Upstanders…..53
 
Media and Social Media…..59
 
The Law…..63
 
 
STICKS AND STONES TEACHER’S GUIDE: SUGGESTIONS FOR CLASSROOM USE
 
INTRODUCTION
 
In Sticks and Stones, Emily Bazelon has created a text rich with possibilities for the classroom. The book is beautifully written and meticulously researched. Students can read and analyze it as journalistic nonfiction, in line with the expectations of the Common Core. The book’s nuanced exploration of the many issues of bullying also engages students in complex moral questions—about the actions of teens who bully, bystanders, and upstanders, and about the actions of parents and schools. These are issues with direct relevance to many students’ lives, so the book can spark far-ranging discussions that connect students’ experiences to deep questions about law, technology, individual responsibility, and community.
 
Sticks and Stones focuses on three individual stories, bringing the ideas in it to life for students. As Nicholas Kristof has written, “evidence is overwhelming that humans respond to the suffering of individuals rather than groups.” This teacher’s guide is structured to take advantage of those three narratives, but as a teacher, you also have choices about the way you use this guide and these lessons.
 
THE STRUCTURE OF THE GUIDE
 
The guide is organized by case study—Monique, Jacob, and Flannery. For each of the three case studies, the lessons follow the same thematic pattern.
 
Identity
Belonging
Upstanders and Bystanders
Media and Social Media
The Law
 
As you read through the guide, you’ll notice that the lessons on upstanders and bystanders, media and social media, and the law are entirely different for each of the three case studies, because each story raises very different issues. By contrast, the lessons on identity and belonging in each case study are nearly identical, with a few variations in the details of essential questions, writing prompts, and discussion questions. The repetition is intentional; these lessons give students a foundation for understanding the individuals involved and the group dynamics operating in their schools.
 
CHOICES
 
The guide is designed to provide you with a menu of options. For example, you could choose one lesson on identity and one on belonging from the six possibilities, or you could give students a choice about which character to focus on (Monique, Jacob, or Flannery). Or you could do all six lessons and work with the students on how their answers change. You could also choose to use the guide and the book more thematically—for example, to study media and social media across the three cases. In that case, the relevant lessons will take you to the critical parts of the text for each case study. In sum, you do not have to teach all of the lessons in the guide—it’s designed to be modular. Several of the lessons also include within them alternative steps or alternative writing prompts.
 
THE COMMON CORE
 
Sticks and Stones is an excellent vehicle for meeting the Common Core’s objectives. At the end of each lesson, in connection to the reading, writing, and critical thinking tasks involved in that lesson, the relevant strands of the Common Core are listed.
 
IDENTITY: MONIQUE
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: What makes us the individuals we are?
 
Writing prompt: Who do you think you are? (Answer in any way that makes sense to you.)
 
Discussion: What are some of the ways you responded to the prompt? (Students can share their writing aloud, or paraphrase from it). As different students read or share their responses, notice the different kinds of responses we wrote. What are some of the different ways we define who we are?
 
CONNECTED ACTIVITY: IDENTITY CHARTS
 
RATIONALE
 
Identity charts are graphic tools that help students consider the many factors that shape who we are as individuals and as communities. They can be used to deepen students’ understanding of themselves, groups, nations, and historical and literary figures. Sharing their own identity charts with peers can help students build relationships and break down stereotypes. In this way, identity charts can be utilized as an effective classroom community-building tool.
 
PROCEDURE
 
Preparation:
 
Before creating identity charts, use the responses to the writing prompt to have the class brainstorm categories we consider when thinking about the question, “Who am I?” such as our role in a family (e.g., daughter, sister, mother, etc.), our hobbies and interests (e.g., guitar player, football fan, etc.), our background (e.g., religion, race, nationality, hometown, or place of birth), and our physical characteristics. It is often helpful to show students a completed identity chart before they create one of their own.
 
(Alternatively, you could begin this activity by having students create identity charts for themselves. After sharing their charts, students can create a list of the categories they have used to describe themselves and then use this same list of categories as a guide when creating identity charts for other people or groups.)
 
(“Identity Charts,” Facing History and Ourselves www.facinghistory.org/resources/strategies/ identity-charts)
 
See page 7 of the guide for this graphic
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: CREATE AN IDENTITY CHART FOR MONIQUE
 
First, have students read two passages from Sticks and Stones: pp. 21–22 (from the start of chapter 1 through the end of the first paragraph on p. 22, “‘It felt special.’”), and the second full paragraph on p. 24 (from “Monique didn’t know what to do” to “the president’s inauguration”).
 
Next, ask students to write Monique’s name in the center of a piece of paper. Students should then refer to the excerpts they just read for evidence that helps them explain who Monique is. Students can quote briefly from the text (directly on their identity charts), or they can summarize important facts about Monique’s life.
 
Sharing the identity charts: Draw a big version of Monique’s identity chart (Monique’s name in a circle in the center; spokes from the circle for attaching elements of her identity) on the board. Have students contribute ideas from their own charts. What do we know about Monique? (Make sure they are sharing facts first—no interpretations—and that the text supports the ideas they share.)
 
[It’s important to use the activity to emphasize the range of Monique’s (and, by extension, anyone’s) identity—she is, of course, multifaceted, and her experiences in the rest of the chapter do not define who she is.]
 
EXTENDING FURTHER INTO THE TEXT: CREATE AN IDENTITY CHART FOR GIANNA
 
First, have students read Sticks and Stones p. 47 (last paragraph) and p. 49 (first full paragraph).
 
Next, have students (individually, with a partner, or as a whole class) construct an identity chart with Gianna’s name at the center. (Again, steer them to specific information and references from that particular excerpt.)
 
In what ways are Gianna’s and Monique’s identity charts similar? In what ways are they different?
 
Which of these differences might have a lasting impact on their experiences at school?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
 
BELONGING: MONIQUE
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: How does the desire to “belong” or “fit in” affect individuals’ behavior?
 
Writing prompt: Think about a time you felt left out. What was happening? Why did you feel like you were on the outside or not a part of the group? How did those feelings affect your actions?
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. Try to tease out some of the nuances: in retrospect, do they still think belonging was important? Why or why not? If they were to experience the situation all over again, would they act differently? Why or why not?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: The passage below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on lines that stand out to them. What does Eve Shalen, the writer, think about belonging?
 
From Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, Chapter 1
 
“The ‘In’ Group”
 
Eve Shalen, a high school student, reflected on her need to belong.
 
My eighth grade consisted of 28 students most of whom knew each other from the age of five or six. The class was close-knit and we knew each other so well that most of us could distinguish each other’s handwriting at a glance. Although we grew up together, we still had class outcasts. From second grade on, a small elite group spent a large portion of their time harassing two or three of the others. I was one of those two or three, though I don’t know why. In most cases when children get picked on, they aren’t good at sports or they read too much or they wear the wrong clothes or they are of a different race. But in my class, we all read too much and didn’t know how to play sports. We had also been brought up to carefully respect each other’s races. This is what was so strange about my situation. Usually, people are made outcasts because they are in some way different from the larger group. But in my class, large differences did not exist. It was as if the outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them. Differences between us did not cause hatred; hatred caused differences between us.
 
The harassment was subtle. It came in the form of muffled giggles when I talked, and rolled eyes when I turned around. If I was out in the playground and approached a group of people, they often fell silent. Sometimes someone would not see me coming and I would catch the tail end of a joke at my expense.
 
I also have a memory of a different kind. There was another girl in our class who was perhaps even more rejected than I. She also tried harder than I did for acceptance, providing the group with ample material for jokes. One day during lunch I was sitting outside watching a basketball game. One of the popular girls in the class came up to me to show me something she said I wouldn’t want to miss. We walked to a corner of the playground where a group of three or four sat. One of them read aloud from a small book, which I was told was the girl’s diary. I sat down and, laughing till my sides hurt, heard my voice finally blend with the others. Looking back, I wonder how I could have participated in mocking this girl when I knew perfectly well what it felt like to be mocked myself. I would like to say that if I were in that situation today I would react differently, but I can’t honestly be sure. Often being accepted by others is more satisfying than being accepted by oneself, even though the satisfaction does not last. Too often our actions are determined by the moment.
 
(Eve Shalen, “The In-Group.” Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior (Brookline: Facing History and Ourselves, 1994), 29–31.)
 
After the reading:
 
A few options for responding to the text:
 
Have students share the line they chose and explain why they chose it. What does Eve Shalen say about belonging?
 
Have students do a “lifted line poem.” After reading the text, ask each student to choose one word, one phrase, or one sentence that was especially meaningful to him/her. Go around in a circle in which each student reads that word/phrase/ sentence aloud—with no explanation and no hesitation to repeat something someone else has already chosen. The result sounds much like a “poem” and tends to emphasize key ideas of the text. When all have spoken, the group can respond to its own re-creation of the text. What ideas were repeated most often? Why?
 
What could Eve have done differently in the incident she describes? What do you think you would have done? What do you think you should have done (and if those two responses are different, what would stop you from doing the “right” thing)?
 
NOTE: If your students have already read “The ‘In’ Group” while studying another case study from Sticks and Stones, save it until after discussing the Monique chapter (below). Afterward, rereading “The ‘In’ Group” briefly, they can:
 
• Find phrases in “The ‘In’ Group” that connect specifically to the Monique chapter (pp. 21–56); or
 
• Write a “lifted line poem” on paper, using words, phrases, or sentences from “The ‘In’ Group” and words, phrases, or sentences from a passage in the Monique chapter.
 
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: MONIQUE AND WOODROW WILSON MIDDLE SCHOOL
 
Have students read Sticks and Stones, pp. 21–27 and 34–39.
 
After the reading:
 
First, have students write.
 
What is Monique’s experience at Woodrow Wilson Middle School? What do you notice about popularity, belonging, or social status in this chapter?
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Share what you wrote. Share specific evidence from the chapter to support your description of Monique’s experiences.
 
Later in the chapter, Gianna says, “‘You can tell who’s the in people and who’s not that at all. It’s the way we dress, the way we articulate ourselves, the way we put ourselves out there.’” What do you think of that statement? How do the kids in Monique’s experiences reinforce the idea of who’s “in” and who’s not?
 
Do you see the same kinds of divisions between students in your school? How so? If not, in what ways do you think the culture of your school is different than Woodrow Wilson?
 
In “The ‘In’ Group,” Eve Shalen writes, “In my class, large differences did not exist. It was as if the outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them.” How does that idea compare to Monique’s experience?
 
 [If your students have already read the Flannery case study] How do Monique’s experiences at Woodrow Wilson Middle School compare to Phoebe Prince’s experiences at South Hadley High School? What patterns, comparisons, or differences do you see?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
 
 
BYSTANDERS AND UPSTANDERS: MONIQUE
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential questions: What factors lead to bystander behavior? Upstander behavior? How can individuals’ choices and actions change a situation?
 
Writing prompt: Think about a time when you, or someone you know, spoke up about something you knew was wrong. What gave you (or that person) the courage to do so? What happened when you spoke up?
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. After sharing the positives, have them think and talk (briefly!) about the times they chose not to speak up. What stopped them from doing so? How did those situations differ from the positive ones?
 
UNDERSTANDING BYSTANDERS AND UPSTANDERS
 
NOTE: This activity requires that students read all of Chapter 1, pp. 21–56.
 
For this purpose, a bystander is defined as “a person or a group of people who see unacceptable behavior but do nothing to stop it.”(“How do you Stop a Bully?” Facing History and Ourselves, May 6, 2010, www.facinghistory.org/resources/ facingtoday/how-do-you-stop-a-bully) An upstander is “a phrase coined by Samantha Power to describe people who take a stand against hate and indifference.”(“Upstanders,” Samantha Power, “New England Students Create Toolkits for Prevention,” Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org/node/165)
 
Activity
 
Step 1: Ask students to define “bystander” and “upstander,” or offer them the definitions above.
 
Step 2: With those definitions in mind, have students, in pairs or individually, review the chapter. Ask them to look for, and mark (on the text itself or with sticky notes), the behaviors of important individuals in Monique’s story.
 
Step 3: With their partner (or in a small group), have students make a list of those behaviors. After their list is complete, have students identify those individuals they think fit the definition of “bystander,” those who fit the definition of “upstander,” and—if there are any in their estimation—individuals whose actions seem to change between “bystander” and “upstander” from moment to moment or over time.
 
Step 4: As a class, put ideas together. You can build a chart with these categories (bystander, upstander, or those whose actions change) on the board to look at together, or students can write names and descriptions of behavior on their own individual chart, labeled with each category. The goal is to create larger categories of similar behaviors and choices.
 
Step 5: Analyze patterns.
 
What do the “bystander” behaviors have in common? Who made those choices? Why do you think they made those choices?
 
What do the “upstander” behaviors have in common? Who made those choices? What factors do you think led them to make those choices?
 
What risks did the “upstanders” take?
 
What changes in the story, or in other people’s actions, might have made the events unfold differently?
 
What small steps might have made Monique feel less isolated, or more supported?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: Below are several short passages with examples of actions that might be considered “upstander” behavior. Have students read these texts—individually or together—and ask them to focus, as they read, on what specific kinds of choices and behaviors are described in these passages.
 
1. In “Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism, Facing History and Ourselves” profiles the story of an incident of bullying among middle school girls. In the case study, Elizabeth Englander, a professor of Psychology at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, explains the following:
 
“I like to look at studies that ask children what really helps in these circumstances, and what really helps is the connections that kids make. The more they have a connection with somebody that likes them and cares about them, the less these kinds of problems are significant. So, what kids told us—or, not me, what they told the researchers—was what helped the most was having somebody who came up to them and said, ‘Don’t listen to him, he talks like that to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with you. Why don’t you come and eat lunch at my table? Don’t worry about that.’ Those kinds of people, the kids who are willing to reach out and say, ‘Let’s label this as socially insignificant. Let’s not give this kid the power. Let’s not stand there and admire him while he abuses somebody, but let’s just say, you know, this is not a worthwhile thing. I’m not even going to give it the power of my attention, and I’m going to reassure somebody that’s targeted that it is insignificant.’”
 
(“Elizabeth Englander and the Importance of Peer Support,” Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism. Facing History and Ourselves, 2011, ostracism.facinghistory.org/content/elizabeth-englander- importance-peer-support)
 
2. In Chapter 9 of Sticks and Stones, Emily Bazelon describes “Delete Day,” an activity designed and executed by seniors at the Mary Louis Academy, a Catholic girls’ school in Queens, New York:
 
When I walked in, halfway through the morning, business was going strong. Two dozen tenth graders were tapping on keyboards while a smaller group of seniors roamed around with clipboards of deleting instructions, offering advice…
 
I leaned down to look at the screen of a fifteen-year-old who had her Facebook page open. ‘I have seven hundred and seventy friends,’ she said to the girl sitting next to her. ‘But I don’t talk to seven hundred and seventy people!’ She took several boys she didn’t know off her friends list. Opening up a photo album, she scrolled through rows of shots until she got to a picture of herself leaning on a guy. ‘He’s my friend,’ she said. ‘My real friend. But we’re too close together.’ She deleted the photo.
 
Other girls took down vampy photos of themselves on their pages and untagged themselves in photos posted elsewhere. They erased their phone numbers. They un-joined Facebook groups with names like ‘I’m a Woman of Dignity LOL jk,’ ‘Our Girls Are Hotter,’ and ‘Some Kids Want Drugs Some Kids Want Alcohol.’
 
…I sat down next to Camilla, a fifteen-year-old with blue mascara, and asked if I could watch her delete. She opened Formspring, the social networking site I’d heard so much about at Freedom Middle School, and scrolled through the questions and comments on her page:
 
do you hate me????
I hate u go kill yourself. U shld we all hopd u do
your so ugly I hate you you dumb fatassbitch
ur like 15 stop being a little slut nd maybe guys would want u
 
…Camilla didn’t know who was writing the cruel posts about her or who else could see them, and that made her feel worse. ‘If I could have blocked them, I didn’t know how.’
 
Camilla asked a girl named Jocelyn, one of the seniors walking around the room, to show her how to disable her Formspring account. While I looked over their shoulders, they tried to figure out how to shut it down permanently, but couldn’t. Instead, they changed the password and
hid the page from other users. ‘The consensus is sometimes good and sometimes mean, but that Formspring is all mean,’ [project manager Alison Trachtman] Hill said.
 
‘Also cowardly,’ Jocelyn added.
 
The students’ exit poll for Delete Day showed that about 250 girls participated, out of a school of 700 or so. Forty-four took themselves off Formspring and nine shut down their Facebook accounts.
 
3. In Chapter 4 of Sticks and Stones, Emily Bazelon reports the findings of studies that have shown the importance of other students’ actions in supporting the victim of bullying:
 
Some prevention efforts… try to ease up on kids by offering the option of supporting victims after the fact. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to take the risk of confronting someone who is acting like a bully to give comfort to a target. You can choose the lesser risk of standing by the victim in a more behind-the-scenes sort of way, and while you won’t get the hero award, you’ll still be helping. In one important survey, high school students who’d been bullied were asked to describe the best thing another student had done to help them, and victims consistently mentioned peers who’d called them at home or spent time with them after they’d been mocked. One thirteen-year- old wrote of a friend who didn’t desert her, ‘It made me feel more confident that I would be able to keep being myself and not let this ruin my life.’”
 
After the reading:
 
(Students can write first, or can begin with discussion.)
 
What are some of the “upstander” behaviors or actions described in these three short readings?
 
What are your observations about these behaviors or actions?
 
What do these behaviors or actions have in common with one another?
 
Why do you think they matter or make a difference?
 
When you think about the various actions described in these readings, how do your personal actions compare when you see bullying behaviors?
 
What do you tend to do? What could you do differently?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6 Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
 
 
MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA: MONIQUE
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: How do our interactions on social media affect our daily lives and relationships?
 
Writing prompt: Think about the experiences you’ve had, or heard about, on social media. How are interactions between people different online than in person? Give some specific details to support your answer.
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. Push them to be specific, but ask them to avoid telling any stories that would veer off into gossip. (You might want to suggest not using real names.)
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: MONIQUE AND MYSPACE
 
Have students read Sticks and Stones, pp. 36 (from “But over the Christmas vacation…”) to 39 (“…she pulled her daughter out of Woodrow Wilson.”)
 
After the reading:
 
First, have students write: How were Monique’s classmates using MySpace and Facebook? How would you describe or characterize their interactions online?
 
Discussion prompts:
Discuss their responses to the writing prompt.
 
On p. 41, Emily Bazelon writes that the Internet gives “bullies  an unfortunate measure of distance from the cruelty they’re inflicting. ‘The Internet depersonalizes everything,’ [a] Connecticut senior told me. ‘Sitting at their computer screen, people don’t think anyone can see them.’” What do you think of that idea? How are the online interactions in Monique’s experience different from—or similar to—the bullying she experienced in person?
 
What do you think of the school’s one-day suspension of Gianna? How responsible do you think a school is for its students’ interactions online? Would you have designed a different response or consequence for Gianna?
 
What do you think of Gianna’s mother’s response? How responsible do you think parents are for their children’s interactions online?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: The passage below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on sentences that connect to Monique’s experience (or, alternatively, to experiences they have had).
 
From “The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics” (Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick)
 
Even when bullying and drama take similar forms, teens often eschew bullying as a descriptive category for thinking about what they are experiencing.
 
Danah: How big of an issue is bullying at your school?
 
Chloe, 15, Atlanta: Not big, because we’re a Christian school, so our teachers always tell us to be nice to each other and stuff, and no one’s ever mean to anyone. Or unless says something to someone on accident. They’re, like, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” and you know.
 
Danah: Is there ever issues with rumors spreading?
 
Chloe: Oh, yeah, all the time.
 
Danah: How does that play out?
Chloe: Well, someone starts a rumor and then someone else finds out and they’re like—and they, everyone just changes the story around. And once it gets around to the person that it’s about, they hate this person. It’s just...
 
Vicki, 15, Atlanta: Whoever started it.
 
Chloe: A bunch of gossip, yeah.
 
Vicki and Chloe continued describing different dramatic incidents involving them and others. They were quick to defend their school from bullying or aggressively “mean” behavior, but freely admitted that it was full of rumors and gossip. Drama is not recognized as relational aggression or bullying by teens, which allows teens to downplay its seriousness.
 
As we talked with teens, we were privy to a wide array of different examples of drama, but some struck us as serious relational aggression. For example, in North Carolina, we met Morgan, a 16-year-old who was the target of extensive relational aggression by a female classmate, Cathy. Cathy’s boyfriend had pursued Morgan and lied to Cathy about it. Jealous and angry, Cathy began tormenting Morgan, blaming her instead of her boyfriend.
 
I have these kids that I don’t really know and they come up to me and they’re like “Yeah, I heard about you.” And I’m like “I don’t even know you. How’d you hear about me?” I told her that I don’t want drama and I don’t want her to talk about me and I’m not going to talk about her. But she continues to say things about me. I’m trying to leave it alone but it’s kind of hard. She’ll text one of my friends and say “Morgan’s a skank,” and I’ll be like “What? What’d I do?” And then they’ll show me the text message and I’ll confront her back, and she’ll be like “No, I never said that.” And then she’ll stick stuff on Facebook.
 
Morgan told us that she was doing nothing to further the drama, but it kept escalating as Cathy sought support. Morgan was so disturbed by the events taking place that she contemplated leaving school. It was clear when Alice interviewed her that this incident was playing a serious psychological toll on Morgan. The ongoing text messages, Facebook updates, and rumors about Morgan would probably be defined by adults as “bullying,” but Morgan’s use of the term “drama” allowed her to save face by minimizing the conflict’s impact, rather than seeing herself as a victim, and framing Cathy as immature and desperate for attention.
 
Over and over again, teens talked about how bullying was a thing of the past or something that happens to others, while simultaneously recounting stories that struck us as relational aggression or, in serious cases like Morgan’s, as bullying.
 
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1926349
 
Discussion prompts:
 
How does the text connect to Monique’s MySpace and Facebook experiences?
 
The authors say that the teenagers they talked to refer to these kinds of interactions as “drama,” but they do not appear to be substantively different than “bullying.” What do you think? Why might teenagers refer to these experiences as “drama” when adults refer to them as “bullying”?
 
Why do you think events on social media—like the ones described by Morgan in this text, or in Monique’s experiences—tend to escalate? What can be done to stop them from escalating?
 
EXTENSION ACTIVITY: WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES?
 
Prompt before reading text from the book: The passage below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on sentences that connect to Monique’s experience (or, alternatively, to experiences they have had).
 
From Sticks and Stones Chapter 9, pp. 265—269.
 
“The people at Facebook who decide how to wield the site’s power every day are called reps, and they worked on the opposite side of the building  handling the never-ending stream of abuse reports...
 
To demonstrate how the harassment reps do their job, [Dave] Willner introduced me to an affable young guy named Nick Sullivan . We scrolled through a few of the reports in Sullivan’s queue. He stopped on a page called ‘I Hate Mariah.’ Three people had friended it. This was an easy call: next to the name of the person who’d created the page, Sullivan checked the box for ‘confirmed cyberbully.’ He checked another box to send an automated message: ‘We have removed the following content you posted because it violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. To keep your account from being blocked or deleted, please remove any content that includes attacks or threats to an individual or group. Please reread the Facebook Community Standards.’ The message included a link to these standards, which the user would have to click on before he or she could write a status or post any other new content.
 
I asked Sullivan whether he would ever spend, say, ten minutes on a particularly nuanced or vexing report, and Willner raised his eyebrows. ‘We optimize for half a second,’ he said. ‘Your average decision time is a second or two, so thirty seconds would be a really long time. We don’t ask anyone to do the same thing all day anymore, but we used to, and the reps could do ten thousand to twelve thousand photos in a day.’. . .
Next Sullivan showed me a photo of three girls, posted by a boy with the caption: ‘That’s right bitch I see u.’ ‘He’s clearly targeting one of them,’ Sullivan said, clicking on the button on his screen that would delete the post and send a warning to its author. He deleted a group page called ‘The People Who Are Scared of Robert and Are Gonna Get Fucked Up This Summer.’ I asked if this constituted bullying, and Sullivan said it didn’t matter, because the person who’d set up the page hadn’t used his real name.
 
This reminded me of ‘Let’s Start Drama,’ the Facebook page with the anonymous author that was riling up the students I’d met in Middletown. Justin Carbonella, director of the city’s Youth Services Bureau, told me he’d filed two abuse reports about ‘Let’s Start Drama’ the previous winter, and nothing had happened. He’d gotten no answer, and six months later the page was still up. I asked Willner and Sullivan why.
 
…Sullivan clicked on the history of the page…next to this history was a note made by the rep who’d previously reviewed ‘Let’s Start Drama’: ‘Auto ignore.’
 
We sat and stared at the screen.
 
Willner broke the silence. ‘Someone made a mistake,’ he said. ‘This profile should have been disabled. He leaned in and peered at the screen. ‘Actually, two different reps made the same mistake, two different times.’
 
Colaco asked what the ‘auto ignore’ message meant. ‘If our decision hasn’t changed after two reviews, we automatically ignore any other complaints that come in,’ Willner said. There was another long pause. Sullivan clicked on ‘Let’s Start Drama’ to delete it.
 
Discussion prompts:
 
What do you think of the ways Facebook handles “drama” on their site?
 
If Facebook had been asked to delete the “Let’s Start Drama” page and hadn’t done so, are they partly responsible for some of the drama that happened between students in Middletown? Why or why not?
 
If you were to meet with a Facebook representative or write a letter to the company, what would you say to them about teenagers’ use of the website? What actions or policies would you suggest to the company?
 
[Alternately, have students—individually, with a partner, or in groups—actually draft letters or policy suggestions to Facebook.]
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
 
THE LAW: MONIQUE
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: What does the law require schools to do in response to bullying?
 
Writing prompt: When you think about bullying happening in schools, what do you think the school is (and school leaders are) responsible for? How should they prevent and respond to bullying?
 
READING STICKS AND STONES: MONIQUE’S CASE
 
Before the reading: ask students to focus, as they read (and as they mark the text) on the ways school officials (school, district, and state) respond to what happens in Monique’s case.
 
Have students read pp. 115–120 and 132–135 (ending at the paragraph break at the top).
 
Discussion prompts:
 
As you read, what did you observe about the responses to Monique’s situation— by the school board, Superintendent Frechette, Mayor Giuliano, and the Department of Children and Families?
 
At various times, the suggested solutions include home schooling or trying to qualify Monique for special education. What do you think of these suggestions as possible solutions?
 
If you could have made a recommendation to school officials in Monique’s school or school district, what would you have asked them to do to help solve the problem? Be as specific as you can.
 
CONNECTED ACTIVITY/OUTSIDE TEXT: ANALYZING SCHOOLS’ RESPONSIBILITIES
 
Step 1: Read the outside text (either aloud together or individually). www.cga.ct.gov/coc/PDFs/bullying/2011_bullying_law.pdf
 
Monique McClain is from Middletown, Connecticut. In July 2011, Connecticut’s Governor Dannel Malloy signed a new law regarding bullying in schools:
 
Public Act 11-232, An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws, was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on July 13, 2011, after clearing the Connecticut General Assembly with unanimous approval.
 
The new law takes comprehensive steps to prevent bullying and ensure every child the right to learn in public school without fear of teasing, humiliation, or assault. At the Connecticut Commission on Children’s November 2010 forum on bullying in schools, more than 500 people heard Kevin Jennings of the U.S. Department of Education recommend that every school do the following: (1) adopt a clear policy against bullying behaviors; (2) train all school staff who interact with students on how to prevent bullying; (3) ensure that all school staff take immediate action whenever they observe bullying or receive a report; and (4) gather data to assess the extent of bullying in the school. The new law requires all of these steps.
 
The law responds to alarming evidence that bullying impedes Connecticut students’ ability to succeed in school. Fully 25 percent of Connecticut high school students—and 35 percent of the state’s 9th graders—report having been bullied or harassed on school property in the previous year. According to the Connecticut School Health Survey, Connecticut high school students who report being bullied are more likely to get less sleep, miss school because they feel unsafe, feel depressed, attempt suicide, have property stolen at school, carry a weapon to school, and experience dating violence. More than 900,000 U.S. high school students reported being cyberbullied in one year. Elementary and middle school children also experience bullying.
 
Public Act 11-232 takes the following steps to reduce the incidence of student bullying:
 
• All school employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria staff, must receive annual training on how to prevent and respond to student bullying and suicide. All teaching candidates and beginning teachers must also receive training.
 
• School employees must report acts of student bullying to school officials. They have one day to submit oral reports, three days to submit written ones.
 
• When schools receive reports of bullying, they must investigate them promptly. Parents of the children involved must be notified of the school’s response within 48 hours after the investigation’s completion. 18-20 Trinity St. Hartford, CT 06106 Phone: (860) 240-0290 Fax: (860) 240-0248 Website: cga.ct.gov/coc 2
 
• Each school district will appoint a safe school climate coordinator to help individual schools implement the district’s safe school climate plan.
 
• Schools must respond to bullying whether it occurs at school, online, on a school bus, at a bus stop, at a school-related activity, or elsewhere. (Schools will respond to bullying outside the school setting if it creates a hostile environment at school for the bullied student, infringes on the rights of the student at school, or substantially disrupts the student’s education or the orderly operation of a school.)
 
• Each school will designate a safe school climate committee to identify and address bullying patterns in the school, review bullying reports and school policies, advise the school district on its safe school climate plan, and educate the school community on issues related to bullying.
 
• The State Department of Education (SDE) will prepare a list of evidence- based models, which schools can use for implementing strategies to reduce bullying and establish safe school climates.
 
• All schools will complete biennial assessments of their school climates, with the assistance of SDE, and will report the assessment results to SDE.
 
• Schools continue to be required to establish and implement a written prevention and intervention strategy. School climate assessments will monitor progress in this area.
 
• The definition of “bullying” is amended to (1) add cyberbullying, (2) clarify what constitutes bullying, and (3) eliminate the “during the school year” phrase in the current definition that reportedly caused some school officials to “wipe the slate clean” and ignore bullying patterns that began before the current school year. The new bullying definition includes enumerated categories to clarify that bullying includes acts based on actual or perceived characteristics of students.
 
• A statewide safe school resource network will connect schools to information, training opportunities, and resource materials to improve school climate and diminish bullying.
 
• SDE will monitor districts’ prevention and intervention strategies and progress, and will report biennially to the state legislature on the effectiveness of school responses.
 
Step 2: Ask students to go back into the text. Have them reread all of the steps the State of Connecticut requires in response to bullying. Have students underline or highlight the steps that they think are most important in cases like Monique’s, and to either list them on separate paper or number each one they think is important.
 
Step 3: Have the group share their findings—make a master list of important steps on the board. (If a student feels that none of the steps are important, have him or her write an explanation of why s/he feels that way.)
 
Step 4: Individually or in pairs, ask students to rank those recommendations in order of importance.
 
Step 5: Discuss their analysis.
 
Which of the recommendations will be most helpful or most important? Why?
 
Which of these steps would have helped Monique most? Why?
 
Which step matters least? Why?
 
If you could ask this school (or the principal) to pay particular attention to just one of these recommendations, which one do you think would make this school better? Why do you choose that one?
 
Are there any recommendations you would make to schools or school districts that are not on this list? What are they?
 
Extension activity: Compare Connecticut’s anti-bullying law to your own state’s approach. What, if any, important differences are there, and how might they have affected Monique’s situation? Information about each state law can be found here: www.stopbullying.gov/laws.
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
 
 
IDENTITY: JACOB
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: What makes us the individuals we are?
 
Writing prompt: Who do you think you are? How do you perceive yourself ? (Answer in any way that makes sense to you.)
 
Discussion: What are some of the ways you responded to the prompt? (Students can share their writing aloud or paraphrase from it). As different students read or share their responses, notice the different kinds of responses we wrote. What are some of the different ways we define who we are?
 
CONNECTED ACTIVITY: IDENTITY CHARTS
 
RATIONALE:
 
Identity charts are a graphic tool that helps students consider the many factors that shape who we are as individuals and as communities. They can be used to deepen students’ understanding of themselves, groups, nations, and historical and literary figures. Sharing their own identity charts with peers can help students build relationships and breakdown stereotypes. In this way, identity charts can be utilized as an effective classroom community-building tool.
 
PROCEDURE:
 
Preparation:
 
Before creating identity charts, use the responses to the writing prompt to have the class brainstorm categories we consider when thinking about the question, “Who am I?” such as our role in a family (e.g., daughter, sister, mother, etc.), our hobbies and interests (e.g., guitar player, football fan, etc.), our background (e.g., religion, race, nationality, hometown, or place of birth), and our physical characteristics. It is often helpful to show students a completed identity chart before they create one of their own.
 
See page 28 of the guide for this graphic
 
 (Alternatively, you could begin this activity by having students create identity charts for themselves. After sharing their charts, students can create a list of the categories they have used to describe themselves and then use this same list of categories as a guide when creating identity charts for other people or groups.)
 
(“Identity Charts,” Facing History and Ourselves www.facinghistory.org/resources/strategies/identity-charts 28
Sticks and Stones)
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: CREATE AN IDENTITY CHART FOR JACOB
 
First, have students read Sticks and Stones pp. 57–59 (from the start of chapter 2 through the second paragraph on p. 59)
 
Next, ask students to write Jacob’s name in the center of a piece of paper. Then students should use the excerpt of the text they just read for evidence that helps them explain who Jacob is. Students can quote briefly from the text (directly on their identity charts), or they can summarize important facts about Jacob’s life.
 
Sharing the identity charts: Draw a big version of Jacob’s identity chart (Jacob’s name in a circle in the center; spokes from the circle for attaching elements of his identity) on the board. Have students contribute ideas from their own charts. What do we know about Jacob? (Make sure they are sharing facts first—no interpretations—and that the text supports the ideas they share.)
 
[It’s important to use the activity to emphasize the range of Jacob’s (and, by extension, anyone’s) identity—he is, of course, multifaceted, and sexual orientation is one element among many.]
 
EXTENDING FURTHER INTO THE TEXT: CREATE AN IDENTITY CHART FOR MARINA
 
First, have students read Sticks and Stones pp. 66 (last paragraph)–68.
 
Next, have students (individually, with a partner, or as a whole class) construct an identity chart with Marina’s name at the center. (Again, steer them to specific information and references from that excerpt of the text.)
 
In what ways are Marina’s and Jacob’s identity charts similar? In what ways are they different?
 
Which of these differences might have a lasting impact on their experiences at school?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
 
BELONGING: JACOB
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: How does belonging to a group affect a person’s identity?
 
Writing prompt: Think about all of the groups you “belong” to (groups of friends, teams, cultural groups . . .). Pick one that is most meaningful to you, and write about how belonging to that group affects you and your sense of who you are.
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. Given the nature of the question, most of their responses will likely be positive—what they gain by belonging to those groups. After sharing the positives, have them think and talk about possible negatives: Is there any harm in belonging to a group?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: The passage below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on lines that stand out to them. What does Eve Shalen, the writer, think about belonging?
 
From Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, Chapter 1
 
“The ‘In’ Group”
 
Eve Shalen, a high school student, reflected on her need to belong.
 
My eighth grade consisted of 28 students most of whom knew each other from the age of five or six. The class was close-knit and we knew each other so well that most of us could distinguish each other’s handwriting at a glance. Although we grew up together, we still had class outcasts. From second grade on, a small elite group spent a large portion of their time harassing two or three of the others. I was one of those two or three, though I don’t know why. In most cases when children get picked on, they aren’t good at sports or they read too much or they wear the wrong clothes or they are of a different race. But in my class, we all read too much and didn’t know how to play sports. We had also been brought up to carefully respect each other’s races. This is what was so strange about my situation. Usually, people are made outcasts because they are in some way different from the larger group. But in my class, large differences did not exist. It was as if the outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them. Differences between us did not cause hatred; hatred caused differences between us.
 
The harassment was subtle. It came in the form of muffled giggles when I talked, and rolled eyes when I turned around. If I was out in the playground and approached a group of people, they often fell silent. Sometimes someone would not see me coming and I would catch the tail end of a joke at my expense.
 
I also have a memory of a different kind. There was another girl in our class who was perhaps even more rejected than I. She also tried harder than I did for acceptance, providing the group with ample material for jokes. One day during lunch I was sitting outside watching a basketball game. One of the popular girls in the class came up to me to show me something she said I wouldn’t want to miss. We walked to a corner of the playground where a group of three or four sat. One of them read aloud from a small book, which I was told was the girl’s diary. I sat down and, laughing till my sides hurt, heard my voice finally blend with the others. Looking back, I wonder how I could have participated in mocking this girl when I knew perfectly well what it felt like to be mocked myself. I would like to say that if I were in that situation today I would react differently, but I can’t honestly be sure. Often being accepted by others is more satisfying than being accepted by oneself, even though the satisfaction does not last. Too often our actions are determined by the moment.
 
(Eve Shalen, “The In-Group.” Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior (Brookline: Facing History and Ourselves, 1994), 29–31.)
 
After the reading:
 
A few options for responding to the text:
 
Have students share the line they chose and explain why they chose it. What does Eve Shalen say about belonging?
 
Have students do a “lifted line poem.” After reading the text, ask each student to choose one word, one phrase, or one sentence that was especially meaningful to him/her. Go around in a circle in which each student reads that word/phrase/ sentence aloud—with no explanation and no hesitation to repeat something someone else has already chosen. The result sounds much like a “poem” and tends to emphasize key ideas of the text. When all have spoken, the group can respond to its own re-creation of the text. What ideas were repeated most often? Why?
 
What could Eve have done differently in the incident she describes? What do you think you would have done? What do you think you should have done (and if those two responses are different, what would stop you from doing the “right” thing)?
 
CONNECTING TO Sticks and Stones: ARIC, JACOB, AND THE GSA
Segue: Remind students that earlier, they listed some of the advantages of belonging to groups. In Eve Shalen’s case, the belonging had significant drawbacks; in Jacob and Aric’s stories, the idea of belonging meant something very different.
 
Have students read Sticks and Stones, pp. 76 (from “As I talked to teachers… ”) to 80 (“‘It’s kind of hard for me to imagine.’”)
 
After the reading:
 
First, have students write.
 
Why did Aric try to start a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)? How did he feel a GSA would change things at Mohawk?
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Share what you wrote about Aric and the GSA. Why would a GSA matter?
 
What evidence can you point to in the chapter that shows that belonging to the GSA helped Aric, helped the whole group of students, or helped Mohawk? (Encourage students to point to specific lines in the text.)
 
What message did the Mohawk school board send by rejecting Aric’s application to make the GSA official?
 
How might an official GSA have made a difference to Jacob’s life at Mohawk? Be specific in your responses.
 
How is the idea of “belonging” in Eve Shalen’s story different than the idea of belonging in Jacob and Aric’s experiences? How can we distinguish different kinds of belonging in our own lives?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
 
 
BYSTANDERS AND UPSTANDERS: JACOB
 
LESSON PLAN
 
For this purpose, a bystander is defined as “a person or a group of people who see unacceptable behavior but do nothing to stop it.”(“How do you Stop a Bully?” Facing History and Ourselves, May 6, 2010, www.facinghistory.org/resources/ facingtoday/how-do-you-stop-a-bully) An upstander is “a phrase coined by Samantha Power to describe people who take a stand against hate and indifference.”(“Upstanders,” Samantha Power, “New England Students Create Toolkits for Prevention,” Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org/node/165)
 
Essential questions: What factors lead to bystander behavior? Upstander behavior? How can individuals’ choices and actions change a situation?
 
Writing prompt: Think about a time when you, or someone you know, spoke up about something you knew was wrong. What gave you (or that person) the courage to do so? What happened when you spoke up?
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. After sharing the positives, have them think and talk (briefly!) about the times they chose not to speak up. What stopped them from doing so? How did those situations differ from the positive ones?
 
UNDERSTANDING BYSTANDERS AND UPSTANDERS
 
NOTE: This activity requires that students read all of Chapter 2, pp. 57-81.
 
Activity
 
Step 1: Ask students to define “bystander” and “upstander,” or offer them the definitions above.
 
Step 2: With those definitions in mind, have students, in pairs or individually, review the chapter. Ask them to look for, and mark (on the text itself or with sticky notes), the behaviors of important individuals in Monique’s story.
 
Step 3: With their partner (or in a small group), have students make a list of those behaviors. After their list is complete, have students identify those individuals they think fit the definition of “bystander,” those who fit the definition of “upstander,” and—if there are any in their estimation—individuals whose actions seem to change between “bystander” and “upstander” from moment to moment or over time.
 
Step 4: As a class, put ideas together. You can build a chart with these categories (bystander, upstander, or those whose actions change) on the board to look at together, or students can write names and descriptions of behavior on their own individual chart, labeled with each category. The goal is to create larger categories of similar behaviors and choices.
 
Step 5: Analyze patterns.
 
What do the “bystander” behaviors have in common? Who made those choices? Why do you think they made those choices?
 
What do the “upstander” behaviors have in common? Who made those choices? What factors do you think led them to make those choices?
 
What risks did the “upstanders” take?
 
What changes in the story, or in other people’s actions, might have made the events unfold differently?
 
What small steps might have made Monique feel less isolated, or more supported?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: Below are several short passages with examples of actions that might be considered “upstander” behavior. Have students read these texts—individually or together—and ask them to focus, as they read, on what specific kinds of choices and behaviors are described in these passages.
 
1. In “Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism, Facing History and Ourselves” profiles the story of an incident of bullying among middle school girls. In the case study, Elizabeth Englander, a professor of Psychology at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, explains the following:
 
“I like to look at studies that ask children what really helps in these circumstances, and what really helps is the connections that kids make. The more they have a connection with somebody that likes them and cares about them, the less these kinds of problems are significant. So, what kids told us—or, not me, what they told the researchers—was what helped the most was having somebody who came up to them and said, ‘Don’t listen to him, he talks like that to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with you. Why don’t you come and eat lunch at my table? Don’t worry about that.’ Those kinds of people, the kids who are willing to reach out and say, ‘Let’s label this as socially insignificant. Let’s not give this kid the power. Let’s not stand there and admire him while he abuses somebody, but let’s just say, you know, this is not a worthwhile thing. I’m not even going to give it the power of my attention, and I’m going to reassure somebody that’s targeted that it is insignificant.’”
 
(“Elizabeth Englander and the Importance of Peer Support,” Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism. Facing History and Ourselves, 2011, ostracism.facinghistory.org/content/elizabeth-englander- importance-peer-support)
 
2. In “Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children,” Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, interviewed several families about their reactions when their children told them they were gay or lesbian. Two families’ actions are described below:
 
“We always went to family events. But after Terry came out, I was worried about what the other family members might say to her or how they might treat her. So I told them, ‘Our family events are very important to us. We have always come. We want our daughter to be comfortable. And we want her to come with us. So I want you to know that we won’t be able to come anymore—as a family—if you can’t treat her with respect.’”
 
—CHARLENE, MOTHER OF A 15-YEAR-OLD LESBIAN DAUGHTER
 
“We live in a conservative community. Religion has always been very important in our lives and we wanted to raise our children in the church. But after we learned that our son was gay, we knew we had to find a congregation that would welcome our son. A friend told us to look on the computer, so we looked for a church that supported gay people. We found an open and affirming church and we started a group for LGBT youth with the youth minister at our new church. There were no services for gay youth until we started the group. We meet at the church and every time we meet, 50 gay youth come, and have a place to get support, to make new friends, and to learn about their lives.”
 
—MARTA AND LUIS, PARENTS OF A 17-YEAR-OLD GAY SON
 
nccc.georgetown.edu/documents/LGBT_Brief.pdf
 
3. The 2011 National School Climate Survey, conducted by GLSEN, explains the importance of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to students:
 
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and similar student clubs can provide safe, affirming spaces and critical support for LGBT students. GSAs also contribute to creating a more welcoming school environment.
 
• Students with a GSA in their school heard fewer homophobic remarks, such as “faggot” or “dyke,” and fewer expressions where “gay” was used in a negative way than students in schools without a GSA.
 
• Students with a GSA experienced less victimization related to their sexual orientation and gender expression. For example, 23.0% of students with a GSA experienced higher levels of victimization based on their sexual orientation compared to 38.5% of those without a GSA.
 
• Students with a GSA were more likely to report that school personnel intervened when hearing homophobic remarks compared to students without a GSA—19.8% vs. 12.0% said that staff intervened “most of the time” or “always.”
 
• Students with a GSA were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation than those without a GSA (54.9% vs. 70.6%).
 
• Students with a GSA had a greater sense of connectedness to their school community than students without a GSA.
 
http://glsen.org/nscs
 
After the reading:
 
(Students can write first, or can begin with discussion.)
 
What are some of the “upstander” behaviors or actions described in these three short readings?
 
What are your observations about these behaviors or actions?
 
What do these behaviors or actions have in common with one another?
 
Why do you think they matter or make a difference?
 
When you think about the various actions described in these readings, how do your own actions compare when you see bullying behaviors?
What do you tend to do? What could you do differently?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6 Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
 
 
MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA: JACOB
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: What choices do we make when we represent ourselves on social media?
 
Writing prompt: Think about the experiences you’ve had, or heard about, on social media. How are interactions between people different online than in person? Give some specific details to support your answer.
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. Push them to be specific, but ask them to avoid telling any stories that would veer off into gossip. (You might want to suggest not using real names.)
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: JACOB AND MYSPACE
 
Have students read Sticks and Stones, pp. 61 (from “By late fall…”) to 64 (“‘Oh ha ha ha, you suck.’”)
 
After the reading:
 
First, have students write: What choices did Jacob make on his MySpace page? According to what he wrote, why did he make those choices?
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Discuss their responses to the writing prompt.
 
Emily Bazelon describes Jacob’s message as “frank, unapologetic, and ... dangerous.” What was your reaction when you read the posting?
 
Choose a line or lines from Jacob’s post that stand out to you. Why did that line (or those lines) catch your attention?
 
Why do you think Jacob put up the post? What were his motivating factors?
 
What happens when we post information about parts of our identities— particularly those parts that people might not know about—online? How is sharing information online different than sharing it in person? What are the possible pitfalls of sharing information online? Are there any potentially encouraging outcomes?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: The passage below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on sentences that connect to Jacob’s experience (or, alternatively, to experiences they have had).
 
From “Social Privacy in Networked Publics: Teens’ Attitudes, Practices, and Strategies” (Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick)
 
“Rather than choosing what to include or what to publicize, most teens think about what to exclude. They accept the public nature of information, which might not have been historically shared (perhaps because it was too mundane), but they carefully analyze what shouldn’t be shared. Disclosure is the default because participation—and, indeed, presence—is predicated on it. Technology may not be radically altering teens’ desires, but it does complicate how they navigate privacy. Consider how 17-year-old Alicia from North Carolina understands privacy with respect to Facebook:
 
‘I just think that [technology is] just redefining what’s acceptable for people to put out about themselves. I’ve grown up with technology so I don’t know how it was before this boom of social networking. But it just seems like instead of spending all of our time talking to other individual people and sharing things that would seem private, we just spend all of our time putting it in one module of communication where people can go and access it if they want to. So it’s just more convenient. I think that the adults never think that about privacy because when they see pictures being put up or things they never had that ability. So when they see [our photo albums] or when they see conversations on Facebook wall to wall, they think that it’s this huge breach of privacy and your personal ideas or whatever . Like I said earlier, there are things you shouldn’t put up or you shouldn’t say. But I think privacy is more just you choosing what you want to keep to yourself . And so I don’t think that Facebook is violating privacy. I think it’s letting people choose how they want to define privacy.’”
 
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1925128
 
Discussion prompts:
 
What do the authors mean when they say, “disclosure is the default” (p. 11)? Do you agree? Why or why not?
 
How does the text connect to Jacob’s MySpace experience?
 
What do you think kids should share on social media? What should they keep private? Finally, why does it matter?
 
EXTENSION ACTIVITY: LOOKING AT DATA
 
This activity can be done either in a computer lab, using the link below, or in a “museum activity” in your classroom, in which you print the graphs and statistics from the Pew Research Center’s 2012 Survey on teen internet use and post the information on chart paper around the room.
 
In either case, have students do the following:
 
1. Take time to look at each of the graphs and sets of statistics. Create a graphic organizer for students, or have them construct a t-chart in their notebooks. In your notes, write down observations (what you notice about the data) and questions or reactions to what you see.
 
2. Once you have looked at all of the information, choose three things:
 
a. A connection to Jacob’s story;
 
b. The piece of information you find most surprising; and
 
c. The piece of information you think is most important.
 
Make note of your three choices, and explain in your notes why you chose each of them (what the connection is, and what makes the information surprising or important).
 
Have students discuss their findings. Alternatively, if you’re doing the “museum” version of the activity, they can post their comments (which pieces of information they choose, and their written explanations) on sticky notes and attach them to the exhibits. Students can then go back to the various exhibits of data, read one another’s comments, and continue a dialogue either in writing (again, on the exhibits themselves) or as a class discussion.
 
www.pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/April/Pew-Internet-Teens.aspx
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
 
 
THE LAW: JACOB
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: How does the law respond to bullying? How should it respond?
 
Writing prompt: When you think about bullying happening in schools, what do you think the school is (and school leaders are) responsible for? How should they prevent and respond to bullying?
 
READING STICKS AND STONES: JAMIE NABOZNY’S CASE
 
Before the reading: ask students to focus, as they read (and as they mark the text), on the ways the school responds to what happens in Jamie’s case.
 
Have students read pp. 145–152 (ending at the paragraph break at the bottom).
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Page 146 explains that in many cases, “students have to argue that the mistreatment they’ve suffered in school is a form of discrimination.” Let’s analyze that. What is discrimination? In what ways can bullying be a form of discrimination?
 
What do you think of requiring the victim of bullying to prove discrimination? Can you think of some other standards that can be used to prove bullying? Discuss alternatives to this model.
 
As you read, what did you observe about the school’s response to Jamie’s situation?
 
What is your reaction or response to the principal’s comment to the Naboznys on p. 147: “‘I can’t make the entire school different for your son. He has to expect trouble if he insists on acting this way’”?
 
What do you think about the actions of Mary Grande, the mother of one of the boys who bullied Jamie Nabozny?
 
For this question, have students write responses first. As a result of the lawsuit, Jamie Nabozny’s school district had to pay his family $900,000 in damages and $62,000 in medical expenses. If the jury or judge could have required the school to handle bullying differently in the future in specific ways, what would you want the school to change or to do? Do you think compensation was fair? Why or why not?
 
CONNECTED ACTIVITY/OUTSIDE TEXT: ANALYZING SCHOOLS’ RESPONSIBILITIES
 
Letter to schools from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.pdf)
 
Step 1: Read the outside text (either aloud together or individually).
 
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” letter, sent to school districts, that included the following text:
 
A school is responsible for addressing harassment incidents about which it knows or reasonably should have known. In some situations, harassment may be in plain sight, widespread, or well-known to students and staff, such as harassment occurring in hallways, during academic or physical education classes, during extracurricular activities, at recess, on a school bus, or through graffiti in public areas. In these cases, the obvious signs of the harassment are sufficient to put the school on notice. In other situations, the school may become aware of misconduct, triggering an investigation that could lead to the discovery of additional incidents that, taken together, may constitute a hostile environment. In all cases, schools should have well-publicized policies prohibiting harassment and procedures for reporting and resolving complaints that will alert the school to incidents of harassment.
 
When responding to harassment, a school must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. The specific steps in a school’s investigation will vary depending upon the nature of the allegations, the source of the complaint, the age of the student or students involved, the size and administrative structure of the school, and other factors. In all cases, however, the inquiry should be prompt, thorough, and impartial.
 
If an investigation reveals that discriminatory harassment has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps, reasonably calculated, to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring. These duties are a school’s responsibility even if the misconduct also is covered by an anti-bullying policy, and regardless of whether a student has complained, asked the school to take action, or identified the harassment as a form of discrimination.
 
Appropriate steps to end harassment may include separating the accused harasser and the target, providing counseling for the target and/or harasser, or taking disciplinary action against the harasser. These steps should not penalize the student who was harassed. For example, any separation of the target from an alleged harasser should be designed to minimize the burden on the target’s educational program (e.g., not requiring the target to change his or her class schedule).
 
In addition, depending on the extent of the harassment, the school may need to provide training or other interventions not only for the perpetrators, but also for the larger school community, to ensure that all students, their families, and school staff can recognize harassment if it recurs and know how to respond. A school also may be required to provide additional services to the student who was harassed in order to address the effects of the harassment, particularly if the school initially delays in responding or responds inappropriately or inadequately to information about harassment. An effective response also may need to include the issuance of new policies against harassment and new procedures by which students, parents, and employees may report allegations of harassment (or wide dissemination of existing policies and procedures), as well as wide distribution of the contact information for the district’s Title IX and Section 504/Title II coordinators.
 
Finally, a school should take steps to stop further harassment and prevent any retaliation against the person who made the complaint (or was the subject of the harassment) or against those who provided information as witnesses. At a minimum, the school’s responsibilities include making sure that the harassed students and their families know how to report any subsequent problems, conducting follow-up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or any instances of retaliation, and responding promptly and appropriately to address continuing or new problems.
 
Step 2: Ask students to go back into the text of the letter. Have them look for all of the recommendations that the Office of Civil Rights makes to school districts. Have students underline or highlight those recommendations, and either list them on separate paper or give each one a letter of the alphabet (in order that they appear—A, B, C . . .).
 
Step 3: Have the group share their findings—make a master list of recommendations on the board.
 
Step 4: Individually or in pairs, ask students to rank those recommendations in order of importance.
 
Step 5: Discuss their analysis.
 
• Which of the recommendations will be most helpful or most important? Why?
 
• If you could ask this school (or the principal) to pay particular attention to just one of these recommendations, which one do you think would make this school better? Why are you choosing that one?
 
• Are there any recommendations you would make to schools that are not on this list? What are they?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to supportanalysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
 
 
IDENTITY: FLANNERY
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: What makes us the individuals we are?
 
Writing prompt: Who do you think you are? (Answer in any way that makes sense to you.)
 
[Note: If students have already completed this prompt while studying other sections of the book, you can use this alternate: What do you think are some of the differences between how you see yourself and how others see you?]
 
Discussion: What are some of the ways you responded to the prompt? (Students can share their writing aloud, or paraphrase from it). As different students read or share their responses, notice the different kinds of responses we wrote. What are some of the different ways we define who we are?
 
CONNECTED ACTIVITY: IDENTITY CHARTS
 
RATIONALE
 
Identity charts are graphic tools that help students consider the many factors that shape who we are as individuals and as communities. They can be used to deepen students’ understanding of themselves, groups, nations, and historical and literary figures. Sharing their own identity charts with peers can help students build relationships and break down stereotypes. In this way, identity charts can be utilized as an effective classroom community-building tool.
 
PROCEDURE
 
Preparation:
 
Before creating identity charts, use the responses to the writing prompt to have the class brainstorm categories we consider when thinking about the question, “Who am I?” such as our role in a family (e.g., daughter, sister, mother, etc.), our hobbies and interests (e.g., guitar player, football fan, etc.), our background (e.g., religion, race, nationality, hometown, or place of birth), and our physical characteristics. It is often helpful to show students a completed identity chart before they create one of their own.
 
(Alternatively, you could begin this activity by having students create identity charts for themselves. After sharing their charts, students can create a list of the categories they have used to describe themselves and then use this same list of categories as a guide when creating identity charts for other people or groups.)
 
(“Identity Charts,” Facing History and Ourselves www.facinghistory.org/resources/strategies/ identity-charts)
 
See page 47 of the guide for this graphic
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: CREATE AN IDENTITY CHART FOR PHOEBE
 
First, have students read Sticks and Stones pp. 82–86 (from the start of chapter 3 through the third paragraph on p. 86).
 
Next, ask students to write Phoebe’s name in the center of a piece of paper. Then students should use the excerpt of the text they just read for evidence that helps them explain who Phoebe is. Students can quote briefly from the text (directly on their identity charts), or they can summarize important facts about Phoebe’s life.
 
Sharing the identity charts: Draw a big version of Phoebe’s identity chart (Phoebe’s name in a circle in the center; spokes from the circle for attaching elements of her identity) on the board. Have students contribute ideas from their own charts. What do we know about Phoebe? (Make sure they are sharing facts first—no interpretations—and that the text supports the ideas they share.)
 
It’s important to use the activity to emphasize the range of Phoebe’s (and, by extension, anyone’s) identity—she is, of course, multifaceted, and there are many elements of her life that those around her in South Hadley may or may not have been aware of.
 
EXTENDING FURTHER INTO THE TEXT: CREATE AN IDENTITY CHART FOR ONE OF THE OTHER STUDENTS
 
First, have students read all of Chapter 3, or assign particular sections to groups of students:
 
Sean: pp. 85–89
Austin: pp. 92–94
Flannery: pp. 93–94
Ashley: pp. 98–99
 
Note, with students, that the other individuals’ histories are covered in less detail than Phoebe’s.
 
Next, have students (individually, with a partner, or as a whole class) construct an identity chart with another student’s name at the center. (Again, steer them to specific information and references from that excerpt of the text.)
 
In what ways are the individual identity charts similar? In what ways are they different?
 
Which of these differences might have a lasting impact on their experiences at school? On the interactions among them?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
BELONGING: FLANNERY
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: How does the desire to “belong” or “fit in” affect individuals’ behavior?
 
Writing prompt: Think about a time you felt left out. What was happening? Why did you feel like you were on the outside or not a part of the group? How did those feelings affect your actions?
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. Try to tease out some of the nuances: in retrospect, do they still think belonging was important? Why or why not? If they were to experience the situation all over again, would they act differently? Why or why not?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: The passage below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on lines that stand out to them. What does Eve Shalen, the writer, think about belonging?
 
From Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, Chapter 1
 
“The ‘In’ Group”
 
Eve Shalen, a high school student, reflected on her need to belong.
 
My eighth grade consisted of 28 students most of whom knew each other from the age of five or six. The class was close-knit and we knew each other so well that most of us could distinguish each other’s handwriting at a glance. Although we grew up together, we still had class outcasts. From second grade on, a small elite group spent a large portion of their time harassing two or three of the others. I was one of those two or three, though I don’t know why. In most cases when children get picked on, they aren’t good at sports or they read too much or they wear the wrong clothes or they are of a different race. But in my class, we all read too much and didn’t know how to play sports. We had also been brought up to carefully respect each other’s races. This is what was so strange about my situation. Usually, people are made outcasts because they are in some way different from the larger group. But in my class, large differences did not exist. It was as if the outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them. Differences between us did not cause hatred; hatred caused differences between us.
 
The harassment was subtle. It came in the form of muffled giggles when I talked, and rolled eyes when I turned around. If I was out in the playground and approached a group of people, they often fell silent. Sometimes someone would not see me coming and I would catch the tail end of a joke at my expense.
 
I also have a memory of a different kind. There was another girl in our class who was perhaps even more rejected than I. She also tried harder than I did for acceptance, providing the group with ample material for jokes. One day during lunch I was sitting outside watching a basketball game. One of the popular girls in the class came up to me to show me something she said I wouldn’t want to miss. We walked to a corner of the playground where a group of three or four sat. One of them read aloud from a small book, which I was told was the girl’s diary. I sat down and, laughing till my sides hurt, heard my voice finally blend with the others. Looking back, I wonder how I could have participated in mocking this girl when I knew perfectly well what it felt like to be mocked myself. I would like to say that if I were in that situation today I would react differently, but I can’t honestly be sure. Often being accepted by others is more satisfying than being accepted by oneself, even though the satisfaction does not last. Too often our actions are determined by the moment.
 
(Eve Shalen, “The In-Group.” Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior (Brookline: Facing History and Ourselves, 1994), 29–31.)
 
After the reading:
 
A few options for responding to the text:
 
Have students share the line they chose and explain why they chose it. What does Eve Shalen say about belonging?
 
Have students do a “lifted line poem.” After reading the text, ask each student to choose one word, one phrase, or one sentence that was especially meaningful to him/her. Go around in a circle in which each student reads that word/phrase/ sentence aloud—with no explanation and no hesitation to repeat something someone else has already chosen. The result sounds much like a “poem” and tends to emphasize key ideas of the text. When all have spoken, the group can respond to its own re-creation of the text. What ideas were repeated most often? Why?
 
What could Eve have done differently in the incident she describes? What do you think you would have done? What do you think you should have done (and if those two responses are different, what would stop you from doing the “right” thing)?
 
NOTE: If your students have already read “The ‘In’ Group” while studying another case study from Sticks and Stones, save it until after discussing the Monique chapter (below). Afterward, rereading “The ‘In’ Group” briefly, they can:
 
• Find phrases in “The ‘In’ Group” that connect specifically to the Monique chapter (pp. 21–56); or
 
• Write a “lifted line poem” on paper, using words, phrases, or sentences from “The ‘In’ Group” and words, phrases, or sentences from a passage in the Monique chapter.
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: “BELONGING” AT SOUTH HADLEY HIGH SCHOOL
 
Have students read Sticks and Stones, pp. 82–100
 
After the reading:
 
First, have students write.
 
How does the desire to belong, or to fit in, feature in this chapter? As you write, think about at least 2–3 different students from South Hadley High.
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Share what you wrote. Where in the chapter do you see students’ desire to fit in? What evidence can you point to? (Encourage students to point to specific lines in the text.)
 
If some of the students in the South Hadley story were your classmates or friends, what advice might you have given them? (Be specific when you refer to a student). What questions would you like to ask them?
 
Eve Shalen writes, “Usually, people are made outcasts because they are in some way different from the larger group. But in my class, large differences did not exist. It was as if the outcasts were invented by the group out of a need for them.” How do you think that passage connects to the events in South Hadley?
 
[If your students have read and discussed Jacob’s story] How does “belonging” in South Hadley compare to “belonging” to something like an organized GSA in Jacob’s experience? How can we distinguish different kinds of belonging in our own lives?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
 
 
BYSTANDERS AND UPSTANDERS: FLANNERY
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential questions: What factors lead to bystander behavior? Upstander behavior? How can individuals’ choices and actions change a situation?
 
Writing prompt: Think about a time when you, or someone you know, spoke up about something you knew was wrong. What gave you (or that person) the courage to do so? What happened when you spoke up?
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. After sharing the positives, have them think and talk (briefly!) about the times they chose not to speak up. What stopped them from doing so? How did those situations differ from the positive ones?
 
UNDERSTANDING BYSTANDERS AND UPSTANDERS
 
NOTE: This activity requires that students read all of Chapter 3, pp. 82-112.
 
For this purpose, a bystander is defined as “a person or a group of people who see unacceptable behavior but do nothing to stop it.”(“How do you Stop a Bully?” Facing History and Ourselves, May 6, 2010, www.facinghistory.org/resources/ facingtoday/how-do-you-stop-a-bully) An upstander is “a phrase coined by Samantha Power to describe people who take a stand against hate and indifference.”(“Upstanders,” Samantha Power, “New England Students Create Toolkits for Prevention,” Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org/node/165)
 
Activity
 
Step 1: Ask students to define “bystander” and “upstander,” or offer them the definitions above.
 
Step 2: With those definitions in mind, have students, in pairs or individually, review the chapter. Ask them to look for, and mark (on the text itself or with sticky notes), the behaviors of important individuals in Monique’s story.
 
Step 3: With their partner (or in a small group), have students make a list of those behaviors. After their list is complete, have students identify those individuals they think fit the definition of “bystander,” those who fit the definition of “upstander,” and—if there are any in their estimation—individuals whose actions seem to change between “bystander” and “upstander” from moment to moment or over time.
 
Step 4: As a class, put ideas together. You can build a chart with these categories (bystander, upstander, or those whose actions change) on the board to look at together, or students can write names and descriptions of behavior on their own individual chart, labeled with each category. The goal is to create larger categories of similar behaviors and choices.
 
Step 5: Analyze patterns.
 
What do the “bystander” behaviors have in common? Who made those choices? Why do you think they made those choices?
 
What do the “upstander” behaviors have in common? Who made those choices? What factors do you think led them to make those choices?
 
What risks did the “upstanders” take?
 
What changes in the story, or in other people’s actions, might have made the events unfold differently?
 
What small steps might have made Monique feel less isolated, or more supported?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: Below are several short passages with examples of actions that might be considered “upstander” behavior. Have students read these texts—individually or together—and ask them to focus, as they read, on what specific kinds of choices and behaviors are described in these passages.
 
1. In “Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism, Facing History and Ourselves” profiles the story of an incident of bullying among middle school girls. In the case study, Elizabeth Englander, a professor of Psychology at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, explains the following:
 
“I like to look at studies that ask children what really helps in these circumstances, and what really helps is the connections that kids make. The more they have a connection with somebody that likes them and cares about them, the less these kinds of problems are significant. So, what kids told us—or, not me, what they told the researchers—was what helped the most was having somebody who came up to them and said, ‘Don’t listen to him, he talks like that to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with you. Why don’t you come and eat lunch at my table? Don’t worry about that.’ Those kinds of people, the kids who are willing to reach out and say, ‘Let’s label this as socially insignificant. Let’s not give this kid the power. Let’s not stand there and admire him while he abuses somebody, but let’s just say, you know, this is not a worthwhile thing. I’m not even going to give it the power of my attention, and I’m going to reassure somebody that’s targeted that it is insignificant.’”
 
(“Elizabeth Englander and the Importance of Peer Support,” Bullying: A Case Study in Ostracism. Facing History and Ourselves, 2011, ostracism.facinghistory.org/content/elizabeth-englander- importance-peer-support)
 
2. In a “Town Hall” conversation among New York City teenagers, as part of the Radio Rookies program, students discussed ways they do—and could—respond to the issue of sexual cyberbullying
or “slut shaming.”
 
According to a group of New York City teenagers, sexually explicit content involving their classmates is a regular occurrence in their social media lives and mostly, they said, they ignored it and kept on scrolling. But they acknowledged that they could do more to limit the bullying and “slut shaming” they see.
 
“It isn’t a topic that someone talks about until someone unfortunately commits suicide or something awful happens,” said 16-year-old Fagbenle to a room of more than 50 teenagers.
 
The students spilled anecdote after anecdote of logging onto social media sites like Facebook and being bombarded with naked pictures of their peers, or sexually explicit videos that were taped without a girl’s knowledge.
 
“That happened to my friend recently,” said 10th grader Ajia Stone. “A guy put up a picture of her and everyone saw it. She didn’t come to school for the next few days.”
 
Like in the case of Stone’s friend, girls are often put down in those instances, while guys are praised for posting the pictures and giving “free porn,” as one student put it. “They do it to look cool among their friends, but I don’t think it’s cool at all,” said David McCall.
 
Many of the teenagers said they typically kept scrolling when they came across a “slut-shaming” video or photo. Others said they reported them to the site. At least one student admitted he took part in the spreading of the explicit material. Fagbenle and her co-host Amon “AJ” Frazier, a Rookies graduate, encouraged the crowd to consider other ways to respond as bystanders... One group suggested writing to social media sites, reaching out to the victims or “using the media against itself” as strategies against sexual cyberbullying.
 
“I think if we have time to share the pictures, then we also have time to speak and write out about it,” said 10th-grader Esmeralda Baez, who also suggested ‘shaming’ the original posters by publicly calling them out. Bree Person, a 12th grader, said her typical responses were either to ignore the pictures or to comment on them as a challenge to the person who posted. “Some guys think it’s only a girl’s fault,” she said. “It can also be society and men. I don’t think boys understand that it can really hurt a woman’s situation.”
 
Fagbenle and Frazier presented a Facebook page they recently created, entitled That Could Be Your Sister. “Just think about it that way before you comment or like the picture,” Fagbenle said.
 
WNYC.org, Radio Rookies—Teens Tackle Sexual Cyberbullying at Town Hall www.wnyc.org/story/259398-sexual-cyberbullying-modern-day-letter/
 
3. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) explains the importance of peer support in suicide prevention to students:
 
If you think that any of your friends or classmates may be thinking of killing themselves—or have serious problems that they have not told anyone about—tell a responsible adult. Find someone who is concerned with and understands young people and can help. This may be a teacher, guidance counselor, or other member of the school staff. It might also be your parents, the parents or sibling of a friend, a member of the clergy, or someone who works at the local youth center. If this adult doesn’t take you or your friend’s problem seriously, or doesn’t know what to do, talk with someone else. If you need assistance in finding someone who can help, call (800) 273-TALK (8255).
 
Don’t be afraid of being wrong. It is often hard to tell if someone is really thinking about killing or hurting himself or herself. Some of the warning signs for suicide could also be signs of drug or alcohol use, serious family problems, or depression or another mental illness. People with these problems still need help, and you can help.
 
Just talking to them can make a big difference. Teens will often share secrets and feelings with other teens that they will not share with adults. However, you may need to be persistent before they are willing to talk. Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. Talking about suicide or suicidal thoughts will not push someone to kill himself or herself. It is also not true that people who talk about killing themselves will not actually try it. If a friend says that he or she is thinking about killing him- or herself, take your friend seriously.
 
You should be especially concerned if people tell you that they have made a detailed suicide plan or obtained a means of hurting themselves. If they announce that they are thinking of taking an overdose of prescription medication or jumping from a particular bridge, stay with them until they are willing to go with you and talk with a responsible adult, or until a responsible adult can be found who will come to you.
 
Don’t pretend you have all the answers. Be honest. The most important thing you can do may be to help them find help. Never promise to keep someone’s intention to kill or hurt himself or herself a secret. Let the person know that you would never tell this secret to just anyone, but you will tell a responsible adult if you think the person needs help.
 
www.sprc.org/sites/sprc.org/files/Teens.pdf
 
After the reading:
 
(Students can write first, or can begin with discussion.)
 
What are some of the “upstander” behaviors or actions described in these three short readings?
 
What are your observations about these behaviors or actions?
 
What do these behaviors or actions have in common with one another?
 
Why do you think they matter or make a difference?
 
When you think about the various actions described in these readings, what do you think about your own actions when you see bullying behaviors? What do you tend to do? What could you do differently?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6 Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
 
 
MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA: FLANNERY
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: How does media coverage affect our understanding of bullying?
 
Discussion: Allow kids to share their responses to the writing prompts. Push them to be specific, but ask them to avoid telling any stories that would veer off into gossip. (You might want to suggest not using real names.)
 
CONNECTING TO STICKS AND STONES: MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE PHOEBE PRINCE CASE
 
Have students read Sticks and Stones, pp. 100 (“Almost every detail here… ”) to 104 (“Wouldn’t we all agree that you have failed?”).
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Choose a line or lines from the media coverage that stand out to you. Why did that line (or those lines) catch your attention?
 
Emily Bazelon describes the “appealing family photo” of Phoebe that appeared in the newspaper. What effect do you think photographs of victims (or perpetrators) have when the media covers a story?
 
On p. 103, Bazelon describes the responses of anonymous commenters online. Do you think the comments would have been different if the commenters had to write in to a newspaper instead of posting online? Or if the comments weren’t anonymous? Why or why not?
 
How do you think media coverage might affect a school’s responses to bullying events?
 
Prompt before reading outside text: The article below can be read aloud to the students, by the students, or read silently. Ask students to focus, as they read, on the choices the reporter makes in his writing (words, phrases, images).
 
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/24/the_ untouchable_mean_girls/
 
THE UNTOUCHABLE MEAN GIRLS
 
By Kevin Cullen (Globe Columnist / January 24, 2010)
 
Like a lot of kids her age, Phoebe Prince was a swan, always beautiful and sometimes awkward.
 
Last fall, she moved from Ireland into western Massachusetts, a new town, a new high school, a new country, a new culture. She was 15, when all that matters is being liked and wearing the right clothes and just fitting in.
 
She was a freshman and she had a brief fling with a senior, a football player, and for this she became the target of the Mean Girls, who decided then and there that Phoebe didn’t know her place and that Phoebe would pay.
 
Kids can be mean, but the Mean Girls took it to another level, according to students and parents. They followed Phoebe around, calling her a slut.
When they wanted to be more specific, they called her an Irish slut.
 
The name-calling, the stalking, the intimidation was relentless.
 
Ten days ago, Phoebe was walking home from school when one of the Mean Girls drove by in a car. An insult and an energy drink can came flying out the car window in Phoebe’s direction.
 
Phoebe kept walking, past the abuse, past the can, past the white picket fence, into her house. Then she walked into a closet and hanged herself. Her 12-year-old sister found her.
 
You would think this would give the bullies who hounded Phoebe some pause. Instead, they went on Facebook and mocked her in death.
 
They told State Police detectives they did nothing wrong, had nothing to do with Phoebe killing herself.
 
And then they went right back to school and started badmouthing Phoebe.
 
They had a dance, a cotillion, at the Log Cabin in Holyoke two days after Phoebe’s sister found her in the closet, and some who were there say one of the Mean Girls bragged about how she played dumb with the detectives who questioned her.
 
Last week, one of the Springfield TV stations sent a crew to South Hadley High to talk to the kids.
 
One girl was interviewed on camera, and she said what was common knowledge: that bullies were stalking the corridors of South Hadley High.
 
As soon as the TV crew was out of sight, one of the Mean Girls came up and slammed the girl who had been interviewed against a locker and punched her in the head.
 
The Mean Girls are pretty, and popular, and play sports. So far, they appear to be untouchable, too.
 
South Hadley is a nice, comfortable middle-class suburb that hugs the Connecticut River nearby and a certain attitude.
 
“Things like this aren’t supposed to happen in South Hadley,’’ said Darby O’Brien, a high school parent, wondering why the bullies who tormented Phoebe are still in school. “And so instead of confronting the evil among us, the reality that there are bullies roaming the corridors at South Hadley High, people are blaming the victim, looking for excuses why a 15-year-old girl would do this. People are in denial.’’
 
School officials say there are three investigations going on. They say these things take time.
 
That doesn’t explain why the Mean Girls who tortured Phoebe remain in school, defiant, unscathed.
 
“What kind of message does this send to the good kids?’’ O’Brien asked. “How many kids haven’t come forward to tell what they know because they see the bullies walking around untouched?’’
 
They were supposed to hold a big meeting on Tuesday to talk about all this, but now that’s off for a couple of weeks.
 
O’Brien is thinking about going to that meeting and suggesting that they have the kids who bullied Phoebe look at the autopsy photos.
 
“Let them see what a kid who hung herself looks like,’’ he said.
 
Last week, Phoebe was supposed to visit Ireland, where she grew up, and she was excited because she was going to see her father for the first time in months.
 
She did end up going back to Ireland after all, and when her father saw her she was in a casket.
 
Phoebe’s family decided to bury her in County Clare. They wanted an ocean between her and the people who hounded her to the grave.
 
Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cullen@globe.com.
 
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
 
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/ 2010/01/24/the_untouchable_mean_girls/
 
Writing analysis/close reading:
 
By way of introduction, remind students that stories can be told many ways—the words we choose, as they well know, give tone and meaning to the story beyond just the facts that we report. In this activity, the group will analyze the word choices the reporter made and the impact they have on the reader’s understanding of what happened to Phoebe Prince.
 
Step 1: Have students, alone or with a partner (but not in groups larger than two), go back into the text of the Globe article with pen or highlighter in hand. First, ask them to find and mark any words or phrases that seem significant. Particular attention can be paid to verbs (e.g., “tormented”), descriptive phrases, and images.
 
Step 2: Have students share the words and phrases they think are most important to the article; they can post them on the board, or you can. If you have a document projector, you can mark the words and phrases on a projected image of the article for the class to examine together on screen.
 
Step 3: Ask students to choose one of these examples—one significant word or phrase—and imagine what other words or phrases the reporter could have used without changing the facts of the story. Have them share the alternative choices. How does the tone of the story change with other word choices? Why did the reporter choose the words he used?
 
Step 4: Let’s return to a question we discussed before we read the Globe article. How does media coverage of a story affect a school’s, or a town’s, response to events? What might have been different in the South Hadley students’ experience if the reporter’s coverage of Phoebe Prince’s story had been different?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
 
 
THE LAW: FLANNERY
 
LESSON PLAN
 
Essential question: What role should the law play in holding students responsible for bullying and preventing further bullying?
 
Writing prompt: In general, what do you think is the best way to hold people who bully responsible for their actions and prevent further bullying?
 
READING STICKS AND STONES: IN THE AFTERMATH OF PHOEBE PRINCE’S SUICIDE
 
First, have students read pp. 110 (from “And then the prosecutors stepped in”) to 112.
 
Writing prompt: What are your initial reactions to the charges that are filed against the six students from South Hadley? What questions do these pages raise for you?
 
Discussion prompts:
 
Ask students to share their responses to the writing prompt.
 
On p. 110, Elizabeth Scheibel, the district attorney, says that the students’ actions “far exceeded the limits of normal teenage relationship-related quarrels.” On p. 112, Flannery refers to her actions as “normal high school stuff.” Based on your reading of the Flannery chapter and your own experience, what do you think? Was the students’ treatment of Flannery “normal,” or did it go further?
 
Is that an important standard—whether behavior “exceeds normal teenage relationships”? Why or why not?
 
Next, have students read pp. 171–177.
 
Before the reading: ask students to focus, as they read (and as they mark the text), on the sequence of actions—Phoebe’s and the other students’.
 
Discussion prompts:
 
As you read, what passages did you mark? What stood out to you, and why?
 
Emily Bazelon, in her response to D.A. Scheibel, wrote: “I do think the six kids charged should be held accountable for their behavior—but through school discipline, not through the criminal justice system.” How do you feel about that statement?
 
Bazelon also writes, “If we want to really understand what happened to [Phoebe], and to really unpack bullying more generally, we need to make room for a more complex set of dynamics.” What do you think she means? In your view, what is sometimes “complex” about bullying?
 
In the last passage you read, Bazelon describes “restorative justice.” Let’s reread that description. Based on this brief description, what do you think of a restorative justice approach? Would that have made sense in the South Hadley case? Why or why not?
 
CONNECTED ACTIVITY/OUTSIDE TEXT: ANALYZING THE ROLE OF THE LAW IN BULLYING
 
In the New York Times in October of 2010, after the widely publicized case of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University, John Schwartz wrote about issues of responsibility and bullying: (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/weekinreview/03schwartz.html)
 
Step 1: Read the outside text (either aloud together or individually).
 
BULLYING, SUICIDE, PUNISHMENT
 
By JOHN SCHWARTZ, October 2, 2010
 
TYLER CLEMENTI may have died from exposure in cyberspace. His roommate and another student, according to police, viewed Mr. Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man on a Webcam and streamed it onto the Internet. Mr. Clementi, an 18-year-old violinist in his freshman year at Rutgers University, jumped off of the George Washington Bridge, and now the two face serious criminal charges, including invasion of privacy.
 
The prosecutor in the case has also said that he will investigate bringing bias charges, based on Mr. Clementi’s sexual orientation, which could raise the punishment to 10 years in prison from 5.
 
But the case has stirred passionate anger, and many have called for tougher charges, like manslaughter—just as outrage led to similar calls against the six students accused of bullying Phoebe Prince, a student in South Hadley, Mass., who also committed suicide earlier this year.
 
What should the punishment be for acts like cyberbullying and online humiliation?
 
That question is as difficult to answer as how to integrate our values with all the things in our lives made of bits, balancing a right to privacy with the urge to text, tweet, stream and post.
 
And the outcry over proper punishment is also part of the continuing debate about how to handle personal responsibility and freedom. Just how culpable is an online bully in someone’s decision to end a life?
 
It is not the first time cruel acts and online distribution have combined tragically. In 2008, Jessica Logan, 18, hanged herself after an ex-boyfriend circulated the nude cellphone snapshots she had “sexted” to him.
 
Public humiliation and sexual orientation can be an especially deadly blend. In recent weeks, several students have committed suicide after instances that have been described as cyberbullying over sexual orientation, including Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old in Tehachapi, Calif., who hanged himself from a tree in his backyard last month and died after more than a week on life support.
 
A survey of more than 5,000 college students, faculty members and staff members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender published last month by the advocacy group Campus Pride found that nearly one in four reported harassment, almost all related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
 
Warren J. Blumenfeld, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Iowa State University and an author of the Campus Pride study, also conducted a smaller survey of 350 non-heterosexual students between the ages of 11 and 22 and found that about half of the respondents reported being cyberbullied in the 30 days before the survey, and that more than a quarter had suicidal thoughts.
 
“Those students who are face-to-face bullied, and/or cyberbullied, face increased risk for depression, PTSD, and suicidal attempts and ideation,” Professor Blumenfeld said.
 
But punishment for people who do such a thing is still up for debate. In the Rutgers case, New Jersey prosecutors initially charged the two students, Dharum Ravi and Molly W. Wei, with two counts each of invasion of privacy for using the camera on Sept. 19. Mr. Ravi faces two additional counts for a second, unsuccessful attempt to view and transmit another image of Mr. Clementi two days later.
 
If Mr. Ravi’s actions constituted a bias crime, that could raise the charges from third-degree invasion of privacy to second degree, and double the possible punishment to 10 years.
 
Still, for all the talk of cyberbullying, the state statute regarding that particular crime seems ill suited to Mr. Clementi’s suicide.
 
Like most states with a cyberbullying statute, New Jersey’s focuses on primary and high school education, found in the part of the legal code devoted to education, not criminal acts. The privacy law in this case is used more often in high-tech peeping Tom cases involving hidden cameras in dressing rooms and bathrooms. State Senator Barbara Buono sponsored both pieces of legislation, and said the law had to adapt to new technologies. “No law is perfect,” she said. “No law can deter every and any instance of this kind of behavior. We’re going to try to do a better job.”
 
Still, the punishment must fit the crime, not the sense of outrage over it. While some have called for manslaughter charges in the Rutgers case, those are difficult to make stick. Reaching a guilty verdict would require that the suicide be viewed by a jury as foreseeable—a high hurdle in an age when most children report some degree of bullying.
 
Besides, finding the toughest possible charges isn’t the way the law is supposed to work, said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University who specializes in cybercrime. “There’s an understandable wish by prosecutors to respond to the moral outrage of society,” he said, “but the important thing is for the prosecution to follow the law.”
 
The fact that a case of bullying ends in suicide should not bend the judgment of prosecutors, he said. Society should be concerned, he said, when it appears that the government is “prosecuting people not for what they did, but for what the victim did in response.”
 
Finding the right level of prosecution, then, can be a challenge. On the one hand, he said, “it’s college—everybody is playing pranks on everybody else.” On the other, “invading somebody’s privacy can inflict such great distress that invasions of privacy should be punished, and punished significantly.”
 
There is also the question of society’s role. Students are encouraged by Facebook and Twitter to put their every thought and moment online, and as they sacrifice their own privacy to the altar of connectedness, they worry less about the privacy of others.
 
Teenagers “think that because they can do it, that makes it right,” said Nancy E. Willard, a lawyer and founder of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use.
 
Impulsiveness, immaturity and immense publishing power can be a dangerous mix, she said. “With increased power to do things comes increased responsibility to make sure that what you’re doing is O.K.,” she said.
 
That is why Daniel J. Solove, author of “The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor and Privacy on the Internet,” said society needed to work on education.
 
“We teach people a lot of the consequences” of things like unsafe driving, he said, “but not that what we do online could have serious consequences.”
 
That sounds good, of course, but adults still drive recklessly after all that time in driver’s ed. And it is easy and cheap to say that “kids can be so cruel at that age,” but failures of judgment can be found almost anywhere you look.
 
After all, what are we to make of Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general in Michigan who devoted his off hours to a blog denouncing the openly gay student body president at his alma mater, the University of Michigan? His posts include accusations that the student, Chris Armstrong, is a “radical homosexual activist” and a photo of Mr. Armstrong doctored with a rainbow flag and swastika. He told Anderson Cooper that he is “a Christian American exercising my First Amendment rights.”
 
On Friday, the attorney general’s office announced that Mr. Shirvell was taking personal leave pending a disciplinary hearing.
 
Step 2: Ask students to go back into the text of the article. Have them look for, and mark, all of the points they think support strict punishment for bullying, and all of the points they think argue against it.
 
Step 3: Have the group share their findings—make two lists on the board: points in support of strict punishments, and points against them.
 
Step 4: Look together at those lists.
 
• Do students place the same points in the same places, or are there facts and ideas that could serve both sides of the debate?
 
• Does the group lean toward using the law to punish bullying and cyberbullying strictly, or lean away from strict punishments? Why?
 
• Of all of the points made or referred to in the New York Times article, which was most persuasive? Why?
 
Step 5: Discuss their analysis.
 
• If you were the district attorney in Phoebe Prince’s case, or one of the other cases mentioned in the article, how do you think you would wish to use the law to help most?
 
• If you were a school (or university) official in one of these cases, what would you want to do in response to the bullying and cyberbullying? Be specific—what consequences would you imagine for the perpetrators (bullies)? What kinds of supports for victims? What programs for the rest of the students in your school?
 
• Are there any recommendations you would make to the leaders of (y)our school? What are they?
 
CONNECTIONS TO THE COMMON CORE:
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
 
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well.
 
No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook, the website where so much teenage life, good and bad, now unfolds.
 
Along the way, Bazelon defines what bullying is and, just as important, what it is not. She explores when intervention is essential and when kids should be given the freedom to fend for themselves. She also dispels persistent myths: that girls bully more than boys, that online and in-person bullying are entirely distinct, that bullying is a common cause of suicide, and that harsh criminal penalties are an effective deterrent. Above all, she believes that to deal with the problem, we must first understand it.
 
Blending keen journalistic and narrative skills, Bazelon explores different facets of bullying through the stories of three young people who found themselves caught in the thick of it. Thirteen-year-old Monique endured months of harassment and exclusion before her mother finally pulled her out of school. Jacob was threatened and physically attacked over his sexuality in eighth grade—and then sued to protect himself and change the culture of his school. Flannery was one of six teens who faced criminal charges after a fellow student’s suicide was blamed on bullying and made international headlines. With grace and authority, Bazelon chronicles how these kids’ predicaments escalated, to no one’s benefit, into community-wide wars. Cutting through the noise, misinformation, and sensationalism, she takes us into schools that have succeeded in reducing bullying and examines their successful strategies. The result is a groundbreaking book that will help parents, educators, and teens themselves better understand what kids are going through today and what can be done to help them through it.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
EMILY BAZELON is a senior editor at Slate, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. Before joining Slate, she worked as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, and lives in New Haven with her husband and two sons. This is her first book.
 
 

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