The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Bullying: See It, Stop It

January 29, 2011

The problem with bullies

Involvement essential at all levels to put a stop to bullying

(Continued)

ENID — In the workplace

The playground is not the only place one comes across bullies these days, however, as violence in the workplace are words familiar in human resource department.

ATS Counseling-Focus Institute recently had three referrals in two days regarding violence in the workplace, said Catina Sundvall, an ATS counselor.

“That’s pretty significant when it’s gotten to that point,” said Sundvall, who is licensed as an MCP, LPC.

“It is a problem with the workforce ... when they’re sending them to us for six sessions for anger management,” added ATS director Rebecca Kroeker Livesay, MHR, LPC.

Dan King, manager of training and employee development for AdvancePierre Foods, was on the road — ironically leaving a session about violence in the workplace — when he addressed the topic of bullying and the proactive approach his company takes in attempting to prevent it on all levels.

Although it is not called “bullying” so much in the workplace — “hostile environment,” “violence in the workplace “are preferred terms — it all boils down to codes of conduct and how to treat people, said King, who also is part of Society for Human Resource Management, a group that meets in Enid on a regular basis that periodically deals with this topic.

Employees are encouraged to report any instances of abuse, King said, a statement mirrored by Erdner when it comes to workplace bullying at the schools.

“It’s important for employees to be safe and employees to be happy,” Erdner said.

That’s where the safe-school plan comes into play.

“It’s not a plan that sits on a shelf and collects dust,” she said.

Adult confrontations sometimes “cross a fine line,” she said, between harassment or just trying to motivate employees to do their jobs.

In the schools, another form of bullying that is addressed in policy is students threatening teachers.

It often goes unreported as well, as adult teachers may be embarrassed or unwilling to admit they cannot handle the situation.

“Teachers become fearful of these children, and that’s kind of bad to say, but it’s the truth in my opinion,” Sundvall said.

Once again, education becomes the main factor in dealing with bullying in the workplace, King said.

Training has been known to lower incidents of violence.

“Being proactive in the workplace makes it safer down the road,” he said.

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Bullying: See It, Stop It