I hope you are staying safe this evening and are enjoying the snow.
I have some exciting news to share: Cheryl Morning was recently discharged from the hospital and has returned home to continue her recovery! For those of you who are new to our community, Ms. Morning is a long-time Janney partner teacher who was caught in a house fire last year. She spent about fifteen months in the hospital, including a long period in intensive care. Her birthday is this Friday, February 1st, and we are collecting cards, notes, and well wishes to deliver to her in celebration. If you have anything to share with Ms. Morning, please drop it off at the main office this week.
February is a busy month at Janney as we host the annual Used Book Sale next Saturday, and our 4thand 5th graders perform in James and the Giant Peach next Friday and Saturday. We will also host a Community Night on Wednesday, February 6 at 6pm. The event will be facilitated by Operation Understanding DC and we look forward to our continued partnership with this organization. OUDC has facilitated staff professional development this year as we continue our diversity and inclusion work. The event will focus on diversity of thought and promises to be an interactive and engaging evening.
This week’s newsletter includes a timely reminder about DCPS operational status communication during inclement weather, and the student support services column from Ms. Sara Solomon, our school social worker.
Please continue to scroll down for information on our upcoming March auction. This week’s THT includes a flyer about Janney week at Galley Foods.
Have a great week!
Reminder: Inclement Weather Policies With winter weather in our forecast, we wanted to remind families that they can check on the operating status of DCPS in three ways: Local Media: DCPS will submit inclement weather decisions to local media including TV, radio, and newspapers. Please check local outlets for information about closings and delays. Social Media: DCPS will post inclement weather decisions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The DCPS username for Twitter and Instagram is @dcpublicschools, and the Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/dcpublicschools/. DCPS Website: The DCPS website will contain information on the homepage about closings and delays. Please visit dcps.dc.gov in the event of inclement weather.
In the event of a 2-hour delay, please note that Janney+ will not operate morning care, and that students may begin reporting at 10:30am.
Student Support Services Column Greetings Janney Jaguars!
This week I’m going to discuss a piece of advice often offered as a way to deal with a bully. Picture this: Your child comes home from school, quiet, sullen, and upset. When you ask what happened, she tells you that a classmate made fun of her new glasses. Your heart sinks, and you try your best to give her good advice: “ignore the bully, and don’t let it get to you.”
A few weeks ago, this was me, in my office, with a student who came to see me after a recess conflict with a classmate. It was not their first run-in and it wouldn’t be their last. I listened carefully and gave just that advice: “You gotta just ignore it. Ignore it, walk away, and don’t let it get to you.” I was about to send him back to class, but he hesitated, unsatisfied. He felt blown off; that I was not taking his pain and frustration seriously. He felt like “ignoring it” was just doing nothing, and made him feel powerless.
The thing is, it’s just the opposite.
There are many reasons why a bully might bully, but all of them boil down to attention. Specifically, a kind of attention that makes him or her feel powerful. Making someone feel bad, eliciting an emotional reaction, or worse, leading a group against a targeted victim are all about manipulation and having power over one’s feelings and reactions. Each reaction they cause makes them feel stronger, like a cord feeding them power.
The solution is to pull the plug. Ignore the bully. Avoid giving them the power they seek by depriving them of the satisfaction of a reaction.
It sounds simple, but it’s not. It can be excruciating to resist a response to someone trying to harm you. The natural inclination is to react: to fight back, flee, show the bully how much their words hurt, tell a grown up to ‘get them in trouble’, or even plot a later revenge.
But these reactions just feed into the power structure controlled by the bully because they have power to control feelings. Although ignoring can feel like doing nothing, it’s actually a way to turn the power structure on its head. The bully craves the feeling he or she gets from having that control. Depriving them of that feeling, leaving that craving unsatisfied, can be as frustrating as not being able to scratch that itch in the one part of your back you can’t reach. Causing that feeling in the bully is a way exercising power and having control over their feelings. The bully is going to feel powerless and ineffective, and will eventually stop seeking out a source of power that no longer gives it to them.
This is the argument for ignoring the bully, the ‘why,’ if you will. The ‘how’ is harder and a topic for another time. We have come to the end of my month with you, but I’ll be back here in March, which is National Social Work Month, to pick up where we’ve left off.
Have a great week and Enjoy the snow! Sara Solomon, Janney School Social Worker