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Sticks and Stones
Cover of Sticks and Stones
Sticks and Stones
Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy
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NATIONAL BESTSELLERBeing a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as...
NATIONAL BESTSELLERBeing a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as...
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  • NATIONAL BESTSELLER

    Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well.
    No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook, the website where so much teenage life, good and bad, now unfolds.
    Along the way, Bazelon defines what bullying is and, just as important, what it is not. She explores when intervention is essential and when kids should be given the freedom to fend for themselves. She also dispels persistent myths: that girls bully more than boys, that online and in-person bullying are entirely distinct, that bullying is a common cause of suicide, and that harsh criminal penalties are an effective deterrent. Above all, she believes that to deal with the problem, we must first understand it.
    Blending keen journalistic and narrative skills, Bazelon explores different facets of bullying through the stories of three young people who found themselves caught in the thick of it. Thirteen-year-old Monique endured months of harassment and exclusion before her mother finally pulled her out of school. Jacob was threatened and physically attacked over his sexuality in eighth grade—and then sued to protect himself and change the culture of his school. Flannery was one of six teens who faced criminal charges after a fellow student's suicide was blamed on bullying and made international headlines. With grace and authority, Bazelon chronicles how these kids' predicaments escalated, to no one's benefit, into community-wide wars. Cutting through the noise, misinformation, and sensationalism, she takes us into schools that have succeeded in reducing bullying and examines their successful strategies. The result is a groundbreaking book that will help parents, educators, and teens themselves better understand what kids are going through today and what can be done to help them through it.
    Contains a new discussion guide for classroom use and book groups.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 1

    Monique

    Monique McClain wanted a new hairstyle for the first week of seventh grade.

    She got the idea from her mother, Alycia, who had her long dark hair done up in a sweep over the summer, so that it lay braided smooth on one side of her head and fell in a cascade of curls down the other. Monique, who was thirteen, had her mother's long dark hair and wanted the sweep for her first week at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown, Connecticut. She thought it would look grown-up.

    A friend of Alycia's who does hair came over and went to work on Monique. When she was finished and Monique's hair was sleek and shiny, her mother snapped a photo of her daughter in profile, a stud earring in the shape of an M gleaming below the braids and a shy half smile on her face. She looked like a more glamorous version of her old jeans-and-ponytail self. Monique didn't usually like to strut, but that morning she let her curls swing on the way to the bus stop. "I was excited to go to school," she said. "I liked how my hair looked. It felt special."

    But Monique's head was down when Alycia looked out of her fourth-floor apartment window that afternoon and saw her daughter walking home from the bus stop. Alycia called from the window to ask if the hairstyle had been a hit, and Monique said nothing, just shook her head. At the door she followed her mother's rules by stopping to take off her sneakers, then came inside to tell what had happened: two eighth-grade girls on her bus, Destiny and Cheyenne, had mocked her for being a "biter"--a copycat. It turned out that Destiny's cousin had gotten the same hairstyle the week before. Monique hadn't known that. Still, in Destiny's and Cheyenne's eyes, she was a biter, and biters were fair game.

    The older girls, who were known for being tough, kept at it the next day. They trailed Monique when she got off the bus, walking a few steps behind her and taunting her all the way down the street and onto the grounds of her apartment complex. Monique didn't know why they cared so much about a hairstyle. She just wanted it to stop. She went to her room and called her friend Sonia. "The eighth graders are in my face on the bus and I can't take it," she said. Sonia didn't ride Monique's bus; none of her friends did. She had no one to sit with, no one who could be a buffer against Destiny and Cheyenne.

    Listening, Alycia felt bad for Monique, but she figured it would blow over. It was just girls being rude; it was just a hairstyle. They'd forget the whole thing by morning. Wouldn't they?

    But the next afternoon, Monique's head was hanging again: Destiny and Cheyenne had taunted her for being a biter on the way to school and on the way home. Alycia walked Monique to the bus stop in the morning, stayed to make sure Destiny and Cheyenne didn't bother her, and at noon headed to Woodrow Wilson to report that her daughter was being bullied. Alycia met with a Middletown police detective who was stationed at the middle school. He called in Monique and assistant principal Diane Niles. Niles told Monique that if the girls made fun of her again on the way home, the school would take action. Principal Charles Marqua came in for a few minutes and also assured Alycia the school would not stand for this kind of behavior. "They said they would handle it," she told me later. "That they would not tolerate those girls going after Monique like that."

    And so when Alycia met Monique at the bus stop later that afternoon, she expected to hear that the ride had gone smoothly. But Monique was blank-faced and silent. When the other kids streamed away down the street, she mumbled to her mother in a low voice that the eighth graders were now...

About the Author-

  • Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. Before joining Slate, she worked as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, and lives in New Haven with her husband and two sons. This is her first book.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books charlenel20 - Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon. This is a great book that helped the readers understand more about cyberbullying. After reading this book, I can understand why we should stop cyber bullying and concern about it. Cyberbullying is a serious problem that everyone should take a small action in order to affect the whole world. Help the victims, stand up for them, please. In this book, there are many different stories about cyberbullying and also gives solutions about how to protect yourselves. I recommend the readers who would want to understand more about cyberbullying to read this book. It gives you statistics, stories, opinions, and solutions.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 14, 2013
    Law journalist, senior editor at Slate (where much of this book’s content appeared), and New York Times contributor Emily Bazelon is a voice of authority on bullying. An antidote to the media frenzy surrounding this now heated issue, Bazelon’s even-handed, thorough, and affecting narrative provides insights and information about the kids, parents, educators, and courts dealing with the actions and aftermath of psychological and physical bullying in schools, as well as insidious cyberbullying. No longer just the province of mean girls and bad boys, bullying, and its attendant “drama,” is an epidemic affecting every community and is rife with a pervasive deniability on the part of instigators, accusers, and adults who are called upon to referee. Bazelon guides readers through three different scenarios, each focusing on a victim or perpetrator of bullying. These include Monique, a middle-school girl, who is targeted by her peers and finds support and friendship outside of school, thanks to family and community sports programs; Jacob, whose “in-your face” gay identity makes him a repeat target and whose parents instigate a lawsuit against the school district for violation of his civil rights; and Flannery, who, with her classmates, bullies fragile, depressive Phoebe, possibly contributing to her suicide and resulting in a wrongful death investigation and trial that draws international attention. Bazelon’s investigative abilities take her into the center of each case—and further: she visits Facebook headquarters to report on its antibullying protocol; she goes to schools where students combat bullying and principals create and adhere to successful, reward-based, zero-tolerance bullying prevention programs; and she calls for blame-free cooperation between parents and schools. While less prescriptive than other books on the topic, very useful FAQs are included, as are resource lists for readers. Masterfully written, Bazelon’s book will increase understanding, awareness, and action. Agent: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary Associates.

  • Los Angeles Times

    "Intelligent, rigorous . . . [Emily Bazelon] is a compassionate champion for justice in the domain of childhood's essential unfairness."--Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review "[Bazelon] does not stint on the psychological literature, but the result never feels dense with studies; it's immersive storytelling with a sturdy base of science underneath, and draws its authority and power from both."--New York "A humane and closely reported exploration of the way that hurtful power relationships play out in the contemporary public-school setting . . . As a parent herself, [Bazelon] brings clear, kind analysis to complex and upsetting circumstances."--The Wall Street Journal "Bullying isn't new. But our attempts to respond to it are, as Bazelon explains in her richly detailed, thought-provoking book. . . . Comprehensive in her reporting and balanced in her conclusions, Bazelon extracts from these stories useful lessons for young people, parents and principals alike."--The Washington Post "A serious, important book that reads like a page-turner . . . Emily Bazelon is a gifted writer, and this powerful work is sure to place childhood bullying at the heart of the national conversation--right where it belongs."--Susan Cain, author of Quiet "Bullying is misunderstood. Not all conflict between kids is bullying. It isn't always clear who is the bully and who is the victim. Not all--or even most--kids are involved in bullying. And bullying isn't the only factor in a child's suicide, ever. Emily Bazelon, who wrote about the subject for Slate in 2010, here expands her reporting in an important, provocative book about what we can--and can't--do about the problem."--The Boston Globe "In Sticks and Stones . . . journalist and editor Emily Bazelon brings a sure hand and investigative heft to her exploration of bullying, which, in the era of social media, includes both digital and old-fashioned physical cruelty."

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Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy
Emily Bazelon
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Emily Bazelon
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