By Paula McCoach, School Counselor
Bullies in the Bully Zapper Mentor Program at our school are happy to be zapped by the end of the first quarter. They have not received any office referrals and they have passing grades - maybe for the first time in their school career. Many of their victims are happy too that they have had a quiet quarter where they could focus on their schoolwork and be a kid instead of defending themselves against the bullies.
Two eighth grade girls are just a few of our super success stories. Both have excellent mentors. One of the girls has had the same mentor for 2 years and the other, actually the bigger bully, has only been in the program for 9 weeks! "Susie" came from a family of bullies and was headed in the same direction with numerous office referrals, failing grades and a definite reputation as a school bully. "Janie" was feared by many students and got very close to several physical fights. She left our school for a quarter in 7th grade and then returned. Believe me, everyone knew she was back!
Susie began working with a mentor in 7th grade and gradually she began to change her goals. I realized that this year as a school counselor I stopped hearing their names every day. And as middle school students are so famous for, some of the current bullies tried to engage them in fights by spreading rumors about them. They would not engage with them. When they got wind of these rumors, they told their mentors or the counselors, and listened to the advice of their mentors.
You know how hard rumors are for middle school students to resist. But after much talking to them by their mentors, the pull for the positive became stronger. They were able to ignore the rumors and as rumors are, if they are not fed they die. And these did.
We are continuing to reinforce the positive with these 2 by giving them leadership roles. They lead our class meetings in grades 6, 7, and 8. And, they are being featured in a bulletin board for students who are now making good choices.
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