Questionable school flier: 'Do not tell on bullies'

A flier with dubious advice for dealing with bullies was distributed to fifth graders in Lincoln, NE, this week, which left parents in an uproar and the school with egg on their faces.

The flier, distributed at Zeman Elementary School in Lincoln, gave nine "rules" for dealing with bullies:

Rule #1: Refuse to get mad

Rule #2: Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you

Rule #3: Do not be afraid

Rule #4: Do not verbally defend yourself

Rule #5: Do not attack

Rule #6: If someone physically hurts you, just show you are hurt; do not get angry

Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies

Rule #8: Don't be a sore loser

Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get 'hooked' by put-downs

In the description for the "rules," other questionable advise was handed out. For example, "Rule #6: Do not tell on bullies – The number one reason bullies hate their victims is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate."

The "rule" goes on to say, "Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?"

After parents and others took the school district to task, school officials apologized for the flier. School principal Donna Williams apologized directly to the families Wednesday for wording of the flier, and school system officials posted the apology directly on the system's Facebook page.

"The flier was sent home with the best of intentions," Williams said. "Unfortunately, ti contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents."

The school district's student service director Russ Uhing said the school system's philosophy on bullying is to "Ask the bully to stop. Walk away. If the bullying continues, tell a parent or teacher."

District spokesperson Mary Kay Roth said the flier was not approved for distribution and was mistakenly included in folders of student work sent home with students on Tuesday.

"It's a staff issue, so we're taking care of the staffing error," Roth said. "It wasn't supposed to be sent home."


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