Bully Solutions and Peace Smarts with Merrie Lynn Ross

We recently did an interview with Merrie Lynn Ross on behalf of child advocacy and solutions for bullying. Here is a brief transcript of our segment.


Peace Smarts

Debbie: What an important topic, in light of many events that have come to surface within the last ten plus years. And when we look at bullying, especially in schools and different types of institutions and structures, what inspired you to bring this together for this to be a passion for you to work with?

Merrie: Well back in the day; and I say that because we did start this in 1995. As we know, bullying is not anything new. But the level of violence that we’re seeing is something new. And as a film producer, I say new, and I mean tragically new. I’d like to emphasize that because somehow as we progress, we notice that certain norms get broken and once they’re broken, that’s when we start seeing these copy-cat events that are taking place where these become options. And when I was starting to say back in the day, it was something very simple in a sense that triggered me. It wasn’t a whole huge plethora of situations that were going on. I was visiting my sons third grade classroom and I noticed a little girl who was lying on the grass in a little area that they could be in because it was still fenced in. And I walked up to her, and she was chewing on the bark of a tree. I couldn’t believe it. I knew the little girl so I picked her up and I took her to the office. She was quite listless in my arms and I asked the secretary there, I said, My Gosh, what’s happened to this little girl? We need to do something! And in a very non-clused way she said, she must have missed her meds. It happens all the time. My mind went into a freeze frame. What meds was she talking about? What was going on? And it led me on a journey to start realizing that some of the children that were going into a public school system could not enter unless they went to a doctor and were medicated because they felt they were trouble makers, or they had too much energy, and they were labeling the ADD, ADHD; this is a beginning. You know, we can look at problems and we can say, isolate them, like what is bullying? What is the victim? What is the onlooker? Those are the three major characteristics of the bullying situation. Then we start looking, who’s on meds, who isn’t. Who’s eating breakfast, who isn’t? Who’s been abused at home, who hasn’t? It becomes a whole societal overview. So, with that, I just think we can continue on with more questions because this is not a simple situation. This is not. We have solutions. Yes, our bully solutions which we call Peace Smarts, and there’s a whole way of becoming a peacemaker, and how we constructed that. And that’s our answer, our solution. And yet, we can do all kinds of things in the classroom. We’ve had over two million kids going through our programs. But we need to get the parents involved.

Debbie: What a great thing to say, it’s true. Because I think a lot of parents feel that their hands are tied, they’re overwhelmed, the amount of time and attention, plus patience to put forth into something like that. I think people feel at a loss, so what do we do? It’s interesting that you mentioned the story with this little girl and just being medicated because of what she’s going through. Let’s start there. What signs do we look for? Let’s say we have little ones; four, five, six, seven years old that are  going through this, what do we look for if they’re not fully communicative on the bullying they are experiencing?

Merrie: Children sometimes start acting out. We notice either they do one of two things. They will express it in being antagonistic themselves, or they will withdrawal, and they are symptoms that a child is feeling unsafe because basically, healthy homeostasis is when we do feel safe. We feel safe within ourselves and we feel safe in our environment. One of the bigger questions also is where, if a child is not school age, and you see certain symptoms, you have to start looking within your own home. What are you modeling? Because a child, we found out, not only through psychology, but through the plasticity of the brain now where we know children absorb at a very early age. They hold onto things as we all do. We grow up. We can change. We can do things. But what’s being imprinted in the home is very critical.   

To hear our full interview in the archives, please click play on the media player.

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4 Responses to “Bully Solutions and Peace Smarts with Merrie Lynn Ross”

  1. Bully Solutions and Peace Smarts with Merrie Lynn Ross | metavisionaries.com…

  2. Good post, I always like them.

  3. Excellent post. Thanks.

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