Ed School Seeks Solutions To Bullying

The announcement of the upcoming launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation has brought national attention to Harvard’s anti-bullying campaign in recent weeks, but anti-bullying has long been on the minds of those at the Graduate School of Education.

Michael G. Rodman, the Ed School’s director of communications, said he thought Lady Gaga chose to partner with the Ed School for her upcoming event because of its dedication to anti-bullying efforts.

The Education School was the first school at Harvard to release an iteration of the “It Gets Better” video, publishing its own version last July. The “It Gets Better” campaign uses candid testimonials from adults in the LGBTQ community to assure and encourage LGBTQ youth who may face bullying or harassment.

The “It Gets Better” video is just one of many anti-bullying projects currently underway at the Ed School.

A research team, whose members include Ed School assistant professor Stephanie M. Jones and professors from the University of Michigan, has developed a project to enhance students’ social, emotional, and cognitive skills to prevent bullying.

The initiative, known as SECURe, has launched pilot programs in kindergarten through third grade classrooms in Phoenix.

Trisha L. Ross, who works with Jones on the project, said SECURe lessons aim to give students the ability to regulate their own behavior and to increase positive classroom climate.

The issue of bullying has also found its way into the Ed School’s curriculum. Gretchen A. Brion-Meisels ’99, a fifth year doctoral student at the Ed School, is teaching a course this semester on bullying called “Establishing Safe Spaces for Adolescent Learning: Preventing Bullying and Victimization.” She said she hopes the course will synthesize current research on bullying and explore how to build positive school communities that would prevent bullying.

Those involved in this movement said that Lady Gaga’s foundation would bring positive attention to the subject.

Lee Hirsch, who screened his film “Bully” at the Ed School in February, said he thought Lady Gaga’s influence would be beneficial for the anti-bullying movement.

“It’s just pure awesome,” he said of the launch of the Born This Way Foundation.

—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at eauritt@college.harvard.edu.

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