By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com April 22 2014 2:24 PM ET
Leaders of the Lincoln, Neb., school district have apologized to students and families after some students were sent home with fliers encouraging children to turn their "bullies into buddies."
A fifth-grade class at Zeman Elementary School received a flier that encouraged students not to "not tell on bullies," "learn to laugh" at oneself when being bullied, and advised students not to be afraid, verbally defend themselves, or be "a sore loser."
The school's principal, Donna Williams, apologized for the flier, and the district's communications director said the flier was inadvertently sent home with students along with student work and other information for parents, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
"Our educators at Zeman Elementary School work hard to provide accurate and appropriate lessons and education for our students in how to handle bullying situations," Williams said. "The flier was sent home with good intentions, unfortunately it contained advice that did not accurately reflect [Lincoln public schools] best practices regarding response to bullying incidents."
The flier is based on the teachings of Izzy Kalman, a psychologist who works with schools and students. Kalman said he has not been supportive of conventional antibullying tactics, but the flier is a version of his program that has been completely stripped of context.
"It's impossible to understand what I teach based on that flier," he told the Journal Star. "It's bare-bones, it's a skeleton. The intentions were good, but it's not the proper way to present what I teach."