The recent tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince has once again catapulted the topic of bullying to the front and center of our attention. It’s not only parents, schools and counselors who need to be aware of the devastating behavior of kids to one another. We all need to be informed of the seriousness of bullying behavior because kids cannot tackle this problem on their own.
I’m so fortunate to have a dear friend and colleague who is an expert in the field of bullying. SuEllen Fried has co-authored three books on bullying, beginning in 1996 with Bullies & Victims, three years before Columbine. Her second book, also co-authored with her daughter, Paula Fried, PhD, Bullies, Targets & Witnesses, was published in 2003. Banishing Bullying Behavior, co-authored with Blanche Sosland, Phd was released at the end of 2009.
In 2002 SuEllen founded BullySafeUSA, a program she has delivered to over 85,000 students in 36 states, as well as to thousands of educators and parents. She is passionate about empowering children to recognize that the pain they are causing for each other is not just bullying; it is a form of peer to peer abuse. She has appeared on the TODAY Show, MSNBC, and was featured on A & E, Bill Kurtis Reports, Bullied to Death.
I’m delighted to share with you a recent conversation I had with SuEllen Fried.
Joanne: How could the tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince happen?
SuEllen: It can happen when school personnel are not on high alert and vigilant about intervening before the bullying becomes physical. It is essential to take a report from a parent very seriously and never to assume that a target will be able to handle peer abuse without adult intervention.