Children's Promise
photo: Human Touch

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Bully Prevention
Facilitated by Children’s Promise

Executive Summary
Tragic events can mobilize us to action. Just as the bridge collapse in Minnesota will spark a review of bridge standards, Eric Hainstock’s slaying of his school principal here in Wisconsin has set the community on edge.

The following is a quote from Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. “The Silence… the culture of cruelty imposes a code of silence on boys, requiring them to suffer without speaking of it and to be silent witnesses to acts of cruelty to others. The power of this code is so strong, and it is such a pervasive part of the masculine identity, that boys take it for granted. They keep quiet for a variety of reasons. They fear being victimized again. They don’t want to be responsible for disciplinary actions against other boys. They don’t want to be ostracized from the peer group. They have learned their lessons well…”

The Parent Information Center states that 5% of bullying incidents receive adult intervention, 11% receive peer intervention, and 84% receive no intervention.

The Columbine-like incident averted at Green Bay East High School last year has sent a myriad of events into action. Children’s Promise is responding to this historic window, with these action steps.

Building Partnerships with Educators

  • Children’s Promise met with the Brown County School Superintendents
  • Building a partnership with State Department of Instruction Bully Prevention Specialists
  • Partnering with Cesa 7, which executes teacher training for the State DPI
  • Partnering with Washington Middle School of the Green Bay Public Schools
  • Building a partnership with Pulaski Community Middle School
  • Partnering with the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and area donors

Building Partnerships with Academic Researchers

  • St. Norbert College Sociology Department
  • Dr. Ian Harris, recently retired from the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, the University of Illinois at Chicago

Mission and History
Children’s Promise, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, was established in 2001 when Director Mary Harrison was disturbed by the amount of bullying taking place in schools, on the playgrounds, and in parks. Children’s Promise has integrated the principles of Emotional Intelligence to teach conflict resolution skills to children and youth in the greater Green Bay area. Over 4000 students have experienced Children’s Promise training sessions at over 32 different locations, including 22 public and private schools, the Howe and Fort Howard Resource Centers, the Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, the YMCA and the YWCA. Children’s Promise is currently partnering with CESA 7 in using the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Bullying Prevention Curriculum.

The Opportunity
Brown County and Wisconsin are experiencing a historic window for dramatically moving forward on bully prevention. Since the incident averted at Green Bay East High School, as well as the tragedy where a principal was shot in a small community outside of Madison, we have a climate for working together on bully prevention. This project is designed to directly impact approximately 1000 students, and has the potential to indirectly impact approximately 20,000 students.

Objectives
Brown County educational administrators will be provided information on evidence-based bully prevention with the goal of encouraging best practices being adopted in area schools. Ultimately, teachers and students will be trained in how to better address bullying and how to increase social skills.

Why Children's Promise
Children’s Promise is a neutral third party, with the opportunity to partner across educational and community barriers. Children’s Promise acts as a “translator” between primary stake holders who share the common goal of safe schools. Acting together is a powerful investment in effective change. Children’s Promise is a member of the Partners in Education (PIE) Attendance Task Force. The PIE Task Force Executive Board consists of area school district superintendents, post-secondary institution administrators, and business leaders. The Executive Board requested the PIE Attendance Task Force to collect attendance and truancy data from the ten area school districts. The information learned at our partner middle schools will be shared with the Attendance Task Force. Children’s Promise Executive Director Mary Harrison spoke at a PIE press conference on attendance, with State Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Burmaster, GBAPS Superintendent Dr. Daniel Nerad, and Chamber of Commerce President Paul Jadin.

Research on Teaching Students to
Handle Conflict Nonviolently

  • Social and emotional skills create higher achievement (Ornstein, Lakoff)
  • Low levels of empathy are associated with poor school achievement (Nowicki and Duke, cited in Frey)
  • Emotional intelligence training increases focus, learning, collaboration, improves classroom relationships, and decreases both negative “put downs” and violence (Anabel Jensen)
  • University of California-Los Angeles research indicates that only 7% of leadership success is attributable to intellect; 93% of success comes from trust, integrity, authenticity, honesty, creativity, presence, and resilience (cited in Cooper and Sawaf)