Devereux Glenhlome School, boarding schools in Washington, Connecticut (CT) for special needs students, a learning tradition


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Addressing Aggression

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Bullying has no boundries. There are steps you can take to help keep your child safe.
Washington, CT - In recent weeks, a great deal of nation media attention has been devoted to bullying. Regrettably, it is a direct result of the devastating effects bullying has had on several young people. This has prompted us to look at what we do and compare our efforts to the suggestions of experts in the field. We are sharing what we have learned including what defines bullying, it’s components, the evolution of bullying such as cyber-bullying, and some steps that can be taken to ensure your child’s safety.

We use one of the most widely cited curriculum for bullying, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, developed by Dan Olweus. This program defines bullying as "A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself." According to this definition, bullying is a pattern of aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions which involves an imbalance of power. Teasing, that is meant to be humorous, where the recipient seems unaffected and laughs the teasing off does not fit this definition of bullying. However, our kids have more difficulty handling such teasing and are less equipped to handle these situations or defend themselves.

At Glenholme, we focus our efforts on the bullying behaviors such as “teasing,” “instigating,” and “aggression," rather than the pattern of “bullying.” By addressing the behaviors on an individual level with predictable and consistent program-wide consequences that students and staff are aware of, we are by definition addressing bullying prior to the pattern forming with more individualized interventions for the individual engaging in this behavior. We also provide “in-the-moment” skill instruction for both the individual receiving the negative actions and for the party exhibiting them. These are examples of several anti-bullying steps as recommending by Olweus.

There are 13 specific Olweus anti-bullying steps recommended for schools. When we compared our efforts with these recommendations, we found only two areas we can improve upon. These areas include in-service training for staff and providing information about bullying to parents.

When we focused our attention to the first area of opportunity, in-service trainings for all staff that interact with students, we found our past efforts achieved this in an indirect fashion. In recent weeks we have held more expanded and explicit trainings to ensure we are meeting this recommendation.

Our second opportunity for improvement is outlined by Olweus’ last anti-bullying step: provide information to parents about bullying and encourage their involvements in addressing bullying issues. You may have noticed a recent e-mail with information and a link on cyber-bullying. Cell phones and social media networks, while they provide wonderful opportunities to stay connected with others; they are where children most frequently engage in negative behaviors while they are at home and unsupervised.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of your child being cyber-bullied or cyber-bullying others. Please share this information with other parents so they can take a pro-active role in monitoring and interfering with this growing concern.

  • Familiarize yourself with the host website's policy and how to report inappropriate postings to Facebook, My Space, etc.
  • If you know the perpetrator - report it. Threats of violence, physical or cyber, should be reported to the police.
  • Keep the evidence.
  • Whenever possible, have your child block these individuals and their screen names.
  • Consider removing messaging from your child's cell phone account. The cell company can assist on setting up options on the child's phone.
  • Never give out proprietary information about yourself, family and friends.
  • Never respond to abusive messages.
  • Always remember, nothing on an internet social networking site is truly private or secure even though there are privacy options.
  • Anything posted online is public and you and your child are responsible for whatever you write.
  • Talk with your child about their interactions and monitor closely.

  • Bullying is without a doubt an area of great concern in our homes, schools, and communities. Together we can combat these behaviors to make these places safe for our children. For more information, here are several web sites which could help you with safety concerns on the internet, social networking websites, and YouTube.

    Internet Safety links

    Facebook Safety links

    YouTube Safety

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    The Glenholme School, a Devereux Center, is an exceptional boarding school for students with special needs, which offers an individually prescribed learning environment with a steadfast academic curriculum. Using our effective individualized services, we apply a positive behavior support model focused on development of social skills and lifelong strategies for success. The school’s milieu therapy addresses varying levels of academic, social and special needs development in boys and girls ages 10-18 and postgraduates. We prepare graduates for continued education in traditional day schools, boarding schools, colleges and universities. For more information about The Glenholme School and its program, visit
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    The Glenholme School is accredited as an independent boarding school for children with special needs by The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, with diploma granting privileges. Glenholme is a member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, licensed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and approved by the Connecticut Board of Education, New Jersey Department of Education, California Department of Education, and the New York State Education Department.The Glenholme School, 81 Sabbaday Lane, Washington, Connecticut 06793, phone: 860-868-7377, fax: 860-868-7894, email: