What works in combating bullying

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, discusses what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to combating bullying
Bullying Advice for Parents | What works in combating bullying
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What works in combating bullying

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Since we started the foundation in 2007, we have been able to visit 32 different states and speak to over 200K students and parents and educators in live presentations. From that, I have this perspective to be able to hear what they're really saying, what they're going through, and this is educators too. We realize there is so much out there, so many programs, so many different options that it can become very overwhelming. And many times it doesn't have to be these huge programs. What we want schools to understand is if they take an all over school approach, take basic steps, realize that from the school board down to the superintendent to the principals to the counselor to every teacher, every single staff member, there are things they can to define what is bullying, what is cyberbullying, what do we do about it? How is our school going to handle it? How do we contact the parents? And what are we going to do? We really want schools to understand - do not have a zero tolerance. It does not work. Many times the children tat are the aggressors are usually going through many things in their personal life. Doesn't make it okay, the way they're making kids feel. But we need to be able to start working with them restoring what they're going through and making it better, doing more restorative justice. Because many times when these kids are thrown into in-school suspension or out-of-school, they're more aggravated. Nothing is being done to see what they can do. And so we really want schools to understand that. For parents, I think many times they panic .And again, it's taking the basic steps, contacting the schools, many online resources. They can go to - Pacer has a wonderful website. Our foundation, the Megan Meyer foundation has many resources to many different links. They can go to many different places such as StopBullying.gov has great resources for bullying and cyberbulling. So as parents, we want them again to be on top of these situations but not be so overly that they worry about every single day how they're going to check on every single app that the kid is on. It's not possible for us to be able to do that.

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, discusses what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to combating bullying

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Tina Meier

Executive Director

Tina Meier is an internationally recognized expert on bullying, cyberbullying, internet safety, conflict resolution, the roles of parents and educators, sexting, and suicide awareness and prevention.

On October 16, 2006, Tina Meier’s life took a devastating turn when her 13 year old daughter, Megan Taylor Meier, took her own life. All attempts were made to save Megan, but unfortunately Megan passed away on October 17, 2006, just weeks from her 14th birthday.

Approximately 5 weeks prior to her passing, a 16 year old boy by the name of Josh Evans, contacted Megan through her MySpace account and they began a friendship. Tina Meier, allowed Megan to have a MySpace account with many restrictions and under her watchful eye.  Unfortunately, on that fateful day of October 16, 2006, Josh Evans and Megan began to have an argument over MySpace.  A few others joined in and horrible and hurtful messages and bulletins went out publicly to hundreds of kids. The last words that were said to Megan from Josh were, “The world would be a better place without you” and “Have a shi**y rest of your life.”

Six weeks after Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier was informed that Josh Evans never existed. In fact, he was the fictitious creation of Lori Drew, an adult neighbor that lived down the street, her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, which was Megan’s former friend, and an 18-year-old employee that worked out of Lori Drew’s home.

In December of 2007, Tina Meier, founded the 501 (c)(3) non-profit Megan Meier Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to “create awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyberbullying in our children’s daily environment.” Tina’s hope is to make a difference through spreading Megan’s story, create awarness regarding internet safety, and educate others on the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. She hopes to help one child at a time cope with these negative social issues. Ultimately, her goal is to empower children to be the change and continue the Foundation’s mission.

At the time of this tragedy, the State of Missouri did not have laws in place to prosecute someone using electronic communications to cyberbully another person. Tina worked closely with Senator Scott Rupp and Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force for the State of Missouri to help pass Senate Bill 818, which went into law on August 28, 2008. This law amended the harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication.

Each year, Tina travels throughout the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issue of bullying and cyberbullying in today’s world to students, educators, administrators, parents, youth rallies, counselors, law enforcement, and other professionals. Through Tina’s inspirational and educational message, the audience is empowered to make a difference not only for themselves, but others also.

Tina has continued to spread the Foundation’s message and Megan’s story through national and international media appearances such as network television stations, radio, news shows, magazines and syndicated talk shows. She also accepted a Presidential invitation to attend the 2011 White House Anti-Bullying Conference, presented at the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools National Conference in Washington, DC, and served as a consultant during the production of the ABC Family movie, Cyberbully.

Tina Meier resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with her daughter Allison. 

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