I’ve been reading Emily Bazelon’s Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy on my Kindle. In her eminently readable book, Ms. Bazelon analyzes three case histories, how they happened, the fallout, and the implications in an empathetic, fact-based manner. The case studies, especially the one of Phoebe Prince, go far toward proving just how difficult it can be to sort out and respond to bullying incidents. Most of the time these incidents, horrific as some of them are, aren’t as black and white as the media would have us believe, and responding to them, as well as devising long term and effective preventive measures in our schools, can be a difficult and unrelenting challenge. Still not convinced? Read this for a taste of her ideas.

Need some ideas for classroom guidance or small group sessions that give bullied students hope for the future? How about trying some name dropping? Students may not see themselves in celebrities like Taylor Swift or Mark Zuckerberg, but maybe they’ll begin to understand that being unique or different isn’t always the tragedy it seems.

Since I live in North Carolina, I will, from time to time, mention legislation that’s especially relevant to North Carolina school counselors. The school safety bill that is currently working its way through the state legislature is such a case. For a brief rundown on the bill, see this. You can read the text of the bill itself here.