Friday, November 2, 2012

Friends Don't Bully

Middle school is a crucial time of transition and adjustment for girls. They are learning new ways to engage with the world and are developing social leadership skills. But this is also a peak time when girls are more apt to become involved in bullying behavior.

Bullying that takes place among teen girls is often seen as relational aggression. It is done subtly by manipulating a relationship that they are involved in. This can include gossiping, teasing, spreading rumors, excluding others and betraying trust. School-based anti-bullying programs do not always meet the needs of girls because they tend to focus on only physical forms of bullying and they do not offer the skill-building opportunities that girls need to gain the abilities and confidence to help combat bullying behaviors.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, 75% of middle school principals today say that bullying is a serious problem in their school. Girl Scouts are working to lower this statistic and be a community partner with the schools by offering opportunities, such as special workshops using the Girl Scout aMAZE Journey resource. These workshops help girls develop friendship skills, stand up for themselves and others, make the decision to avoid gossiping and learn how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner.

When a girl is bullied, 85% of the time, nobody steps in to help her. This rattling statistic is being combated by the Girl Scouts who are teaching girls that if they speak up, bullying often stops in seconds. When girls are well-informed about how to deal with bullying behavior and relational aggression, they improve their own relationships, and they have the ability to lead a larger cultural change in their schools and their communities.

On November 17, at Girl Scout Camp Skimino near Williamsburg, the Kappa Delta Sorority from the College of William and Mary will partner with the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast to host an event to address this issue - “Friends Don’t Bully.”   This experience will help girls build leadership and relationship skills, while enhancing their communication and character development skills. Look for other opportunities in the Council's GO! program catalog that can be found at