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PACER Advocates Share Advice - Episode 10

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10:05 minPACER Advocates Share Advice - Episode 10

PACER Advocates Share Advice - Episode 10

We are excited to have some special PACER advocates with us this week on PACERTalks About Bullying. In this episode, a few of our PACER staff will answer questions about their experience with bullying growing up and what advice they would give now.

  • Author: NBPC
  • Duration: 10:05 minutes
  • Date Posted: 11/15/2017
  • Categories: What Should You Do

Series: PACERTalks About Bullying - Season 1

We are so excited to be launching our brand new series, PACERTalks About Bullying, where each week we will be talking about all things bullying. In our first episode, we’ll share more about PACER Center and what we do.


Hey there, welcome back to Pacer Talks about Bullying, I'm Baily, we're glad you're here.

This month we are talking all about the realities of bullying. We are so excited to have three very special guests, Jesus, Rose and Danna who are going to share a little bit about common myths around bullying that they heard growing up, as well as advice that they have for students and parents about how to address bullying. They have some amazing insight and I think you'll love all that they have to say, let's roll in to it.

Hi my name is Danna Mirviss and I work for Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center and I've been on staff at Pacer for five years.

Hi, I'm Jesus Villasenor, I am an advocate here at Pacer, I have been doing this for 20 years, and I am what I like to call Pacer in Espanol.

Hi, my name is Rose Quintero and I'm an advocate here at the Pacer Center and I've been working here for three and a half years.

What are some common things you've heard from the adults about bullying when you were growing up?

I think when I was growing up what I heard about bullying was -- well often I think it was recognized as something that was physical, so it was physical bullying not the social bullying we see. But if I commented to my parents about something, if I was being excluded or treated badly they might say to me that well that's just what kids do, that's kind of normal or natural, you know, you'll get over it, they'll grow out it, you'll grow out of it. So, kind of normalizing the behavior of bullying and I think nowadays recognizing the impact bullying has makes it so it's not a normalized -- we know it's not a normalized behavior and so now we recognize the effect it has on kids.

I think when I was young we talked about it as kids being mean and kids were teasing other kids and being mean to other kids. When I was in high school we would hear the term oh, a wall hugger, someone who was isolated and different would oftentimes just be alone. And we knew that they were probably struggling or unhappy or being teased and what we now would recognize as bullying. But then I think that it was more of a response of ignore it and it will go away, kids will be kids or this is, you know, normal for adolescents.

What advice do you wish you had been given about bullying growing up?

I think I would have liked to have received the advice that no one deserves to be bullied. That I think one of the myths around bullying is that somehow the person being bullied is bringing that on themselves. And I think even in thinking about my own childhood it would have been nice to know from an adult that anything that was being done to me was not my fault and that it wasn't acceptable behavior and it shouldn't be happening. And that's often advice we give as advocates to kids today is that no one deserves to be bullied, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

I wish I would have known more the impact that bullying causes on people. I went to a meeting with a parent on bullying his son was being targeted and in the middle of the meeting the Spanish interpreter he just started sobbing. And this is a burly 40ish year old man from Peru that suddenly went back to his childhood when he himself was being bullied. And that experience of seeing this man in that way was the most powerful show of the experience that causes on people and it was powerful, but it was terrible at the same time.

As an adult what advice would you now give about bullying?

I think that one important element of bullying and the nasty part of it is that it [inaudible] to silence. So, the more that it gets out the better. I think that information is power, so as parents if we are aware and purposely asking our children if they are being target of bullying and hopefully that we have the trust that they may have in us so that we get to know.

I am the parent of teenagers and I think that when I talk to them about issues of bullying that happened at school or at camp or with their sports I talk about them as a community of people. We talk about their behavior online and we talk about how when they are online with their friends that the things that they say and how they respond to texts, how they respond to Facebook posts or Instagram is really important and that they can be leaders. And that they can be the kids that are nice and kind. And I talk to them about their relationships at school. And I think one of the important messages that I've given them is that when there's a lot going on at school and there is some sort of drama, I talk to them about how it's their responsibility to be nice, it's their responsibility to be supportive, and it's their choice to step into the drama or to step out of it. And that by being kind, being supportive of the person that is maybe having some issues or being the target of bullying and then stepping out of the drama that they can create a really healthy atmosphere and a space where that student or that friend can come and talk to them and feels that they can be trusted.

I just wanted to build on what Jesus said about talking to your kids. I think it's really important to check in with your kids, especially if you're noticing any changes in their behavior or anything that's different. This is something they often don't want to talk about because they're ashamed of it or they know the other person that is bullying them and they're either afraid to tell or they don't want that person to get in trouble. That was situation.

If you knew then what you know now what would you do differently?

Well I think it's really important for us to remember how important the effects are on kids. And what we know now is that there are a lot of adults that are coming forward and talking about how impactful a bullying situation was for them when they were a child and how that lasted, how it stayed with them for their whole lives. And how it affected them into adulthood. And so, I think if we are able to share with students and other adults who truly believe that bullying is just a part of growing up, that it's just kids being kids, and try to help them to understand that what we really do know now and what we understand now is that bullying affects kids well into adulthood and it impacts their relationships and it impacts their feelings of self-confidence. And if we can share that and help people to understand that I think maybe students would be kinder to each other.

I think that, you know, in years past like my colleagues have said, we'd often ignore the bullying and just hope that it went way. And the effect that that had was that it empowered the person who was doing the bullying and made the person who was the target, you know, lose his or her dignity and feel not empowered. And so, I think that nowadays if I could go back to those times I'd want to look at those situations differently and either intervene or have someone intervene. And I don't mean jumping into the middle of a fight, but even you know befriending the person who's being bullied, talking to them. Even if I saw something and couldn't intervene in the moment I think I would have liked to be able to, you know, and in later moments say to that person you know I saw what happened and that was not nice what that person did to you and you don't deserve that. And to make them feel like someone was on their side. And I think if more people can do that, adults and kids, I think then that takes away the power that the person who's doing the bullying has and helps to elevate the person who is being bullied and help them. So that's what I would do truly.

And thanks so much again to Jesus, Rose and Dana for sharing their amazing insight all around bullying. If you want more information you can visit our website Make sure to join us right back here next week as we continue to explore the realities of bullying. And remember, when we stand together no one stands alone. See you.