What would you think the chances would be of a child being successful if he had been violently assaulted both physically and sexually in his youth? What would you think the chances of a successful life would be of this same child who was also diagnosed as being dyslexic after suffering in the classroom?
If I told you this person has written 26 books and is the premier expert in school safety and anti-bullying techniques you’d probably be amazed.
That person is Michael Dorn, who addressed students at South Central and Oregon-Davis yesterday. You could have heard a pin drop when Dorn told his life story and asked the students to reach out to those who are being bullied, and if you have to, report incidents you see of bullying.
Dorn spoke to the 7th and 8th grade students and he explained the difference between those who bully and those who are bullied.
“Bullying involves victimization,” said Dorn. “It’s not conflict between people. It’s a person or group who feels they have more power than another person or group. It tends to be repeated behavior. It is an imbalance of power. I liken it to a woman who is raped. We don’t assume that to be a conflict with the aggressor. That’s an inequality of power and victimization. Bullying is very similar to that dynamic and it’s very difficult for the victim to talk about it, just like sexual assault.”
Dorn said he has great faith in students to overcome bullying in the future.
“The good news is our kids are getting good information and they’re very good about rising to the challenge if we tell them what we expect of them. When you know a student is in distress, whether it’s bullying or something else, we are preparing our students with the tools they need to make decisions and how to seek the appropriate amount of help. They want to know what to do about a situation that calls for some form of action. That’s a change in our society. A healthy change.”
Fred Baker is the Resource Official at Oregon-Davis, and works with students on managing their aggression, or resisting being bullied, or picked on. He is optimistic that bullying can be reduced.
“I try to see the good in every child, because there is good in every child,” stated Baker. “We just have to get it out of them. Mr. Dorn, being a victim himself and telling his story, I think will help more than we can do otherwise.”
The appearance of Michael Dorn was funded by a grant. He lives in Georgia 10 months a year, and his wife’s country of Vietnam for two months. He said that he was flying to Mexico today for another anti-bullying conference. For more on Mr. Dorn’s book, go to this website.