Mini Mean Girls: Foundation School

Making a Difference
Many schools are taking action to stem the rising tide of bullying. Foundations School Community in Van Nuys, California is no exception. They started a program called "With Compassion and Safety for All: A Humanistic Approach to Bully Prevention."
 
Watch their group discussion with fifth- and sixth-grade girls.
 
Dr. Phil turns to Annika, one of the participants in the group discussion. "You just don't feel welcome, right?" he asks.
 
"No," she answers. "They don't say it. It's kind of like an unwritten rule almost. When I sit with them, they're all just, like, talking. They don't include me really, even though I'm sitting there. It's like I don't exist."
 
"How do you feel about yourself when that happens?" Dr. Phil inquires.
 
"I feel not good, like I'm not good enough."
 
[AD]Sonja, another tween, shares her experiences. "We don't pick on each other. Sometimes, there's just a little feeling [of being excluded]. There's this whole popular crowd."
 
"But you don't know why there has to be two groups," Dr. Phil prompts.
 
"Exactly," Sonja answers.
 
Blair, another student says she feels caught in the middle. "I feel welcome [by one group], but to my friends, it's hard to see them feel upset. Then I like to talk to them about it, but I don't know what to do. I like to hang out with them, but it feels like I can't," she tells Dr. Phil.
"I completely understand that feeling " that feeling of not having any self-worth, or not feeling good enough." Maiara tells the girls. "You do have a voice, and you need to learn to use your voice, or else people are going to continue doing things to you, because they might not know that it hurts your feelings or that you don't like it. It takes time and a lot of work on yourself to believe that your voice does matter, because it does."
 

TEEN TALK FORUM

  • Are you the victim of bullying? Speak up!
  • "There are ways to stand up for yourself that aren't fighting fire with fire, not going back and bullying them," Meaghan adds. "I think that's a mistake a lot of people make."
     
    Dr. Phil turns to a student named Nora. "Do you think you hurt people's feelings sometimes?" he asks.
     
    "I don't mean to, but if I do, like I said, I'm not aware of it," she replies. "Usually, we have chats like that, and they will tell us if it hurts their feelings, and we will try to work on it."
     
    "If you walked up to a group, and they were all laughing and talking and excluded you, didn't make you feel a part of it, would that hurt your feelings?" Dr. Phil probes.
     
    [AD]"A little bit. I would try to tell them that. I would try to say, ‘I feel excluded, and I would like to hang out with you.'"
     
    "Nina, what do you think about all of this?" Dr. Phil asks another tween. "Do you think you're in a certain group?"
     
    "We all hang out most of the time. At lunch, sometimes we part ways and sit in other groups. Sometimes, when me, Rachel and Nora get out there, they're already sitting in their group. Sometimes, I don't want to interrupt."