Emily Bazelon, A Speaker on Bullying, Extolls the Virtues of Empathy
Her work is an important contribution to the conversation about how to deal with bullying in schools. As the New York Times says, Sticks and Stones is an "authoritative and important book [that] should not only be read by educators and parents alike, but should also be taught in law schools and journalism schools." Not only that, but her 2010 Slate coverage of the suicide of Massachusetts high school student Phoebe Prince earned her several prestigious awards. Articulate and honest, Bazelon has spoken about the topic of bullying to students, parents, and teachers, and at the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Texas Bar Association, and at TEDxWomen, as well.
Able to tailor her talks to a specific audience, Bazelon uses her first hand experience researching the way bullying takes place in high schools to pinpoint how to react to bullying—and how not to. She also draws on her time as a legal scholar to address the legal ramifications of bullying both in schools and after class is dismissed. It's important to define bullying in a limited way, says Bazelon. While it is good practice to follow the "if it's mean, intervene" mantra, she says you also have to take into account that bullying typically involves repetitive abuse. Understanding the different types of bullies that exist and the ways that bullying has changed (with the advent of cyber bullying and what she calls "Facebook thugs") is key to drafting a solution to the problem. Further, she says the development of character and empathy from a young age is a crucial component to developing tolerant and safe spaces for both kids and adults alike.