Giving Teens a Voice

San Ramon Valley - 2002

Teen Think Tank on

Teasing and Bullying


Saturday, February 23, 2002




This was the third Teen Think Tank conducted for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in Contra Costa County, California.  Unlike previous sessions that dealt with broader issues, this session focused specifically on Teasing and Bullying.  This session was coordinated with the  'Parenting 2002 and Beyond' Conference on Teasing and Bullying conducted at Charlotte Wood Middle School in Danville, CA on Saturday February 23, 2002


The objective of this Teen Think Tank session was to provide a forum for teen and pre-teens (6th- 8th graders) to anonymously identify, discuss, and rank issues surrounding the cause and affect of teasing, bullying, and violence in their lives.  The participants were then provided the opportunity to propose solutions for these issues.


The results from this session and previous sessions are reviewed and acted on by the San Ramon Valley Youth Safety Committee including local legislators, community and school district officials as well as concerned citizens.




The following summarizes participant activites and their recommendations to solve the key causes of teasing and bullying. The entire report is available for review on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District web site at  


Participants were led through several facilitated processes where they brainstormed responses to specific statements:


§         Describe teasing and bullying

§         Describe the causes of teasing and bullying

§         Recommend solutions to the causes of teasing and bullying


The participants generated 59 descriptions of teasing and bullying which were combined and prioritized to produce their top nine descriptions:


1.       Bullies are people who need control

2.       Verbally or physically hurting someone else

3.       Teasing and bullying is when a person picks on someone to make the bully feel better

4.       You can tease or bully someone in many different ways

5.       Putting down another person because of their differences

6.       Doing something to another person to get attention or popularity

7.       Cutting down another person's self esteem and self worth

8.       We all are bully's sometimes

9.       Bullying is when someone doesn't accept diversity and makes fun of you for that :)


They then generated 249 causes for the nine types of teasing and bullying.  These 249 causes were combined and narrowed down to 32.  From these 32, six key-causes were identified:


1.       Lack of Attention

2.       Popularity

3.       Establishing Power

4.       Home Life Issues

5.       Self-esteem

6.       Previous Experiences.


The participants then generated solutions for these six causes.  These solutions are in the participants own words.



·         Maybe the parent should be more opened eyed

·         Parents get more involved in their child's ideas

·         You can find a friend for the bully so they will not feel the need to pick on others

·         Peers of the bullies should try to make friends with them

·         They are not doing well in school and they don't care, so they don't pay attention

·         The parents can help the bully by spending time with him/her

·         Parents and kids talk together maybe through a councilor or on a scheduled time

·         All they get is negative attention- they need to get positive attention from anybody who sees something good in them

·         I think where ever the child is not getting attention that needs to be resolved. The child needs to be spoken to and they need to resolve why the child feels excluded.

·         Try to have parents go to more guest speakers about attention at home. Make sure that every child gets the attention that he or she needs. Teachers also at school should ask the kids, if they are willing to talk about it, about their home life.

·         Have an on-school councilor, possibly an older teenager, to talk with kids and give them positive advice

·         Kids should surround themselves by people who give them the attention they crave/need instead of people who ignore them and lower their self-esteem.  It doesn't matter how many friends they have, just how many friends will be there for them to care about them

·         Lots of people have problems with maintaining attention

·         They have no one wanting to hang with them and their parents are probably ignoring them, so they result to beating people up to hide their insecurities.

·         A good way to get attention is to get good grades and for most trouble makers it is hard because of there social skills so I think that their parents should help them out with grades and never give up on them.

·         People do not pay attention so they bully people around

·         The family of the bully could give the bully more attention at home or sign the bully up for after school activities.  This way the bully won't have to pick on kids at school for attention.

·         There should be less kids in each class so that teachers can give them more attention and teachers should make sure that kids are getting the attention they need, both at home and at school

·         Find the bullies talent, and let him excel, and strive for attention, with that talent

·         Personally I don't think that you have to be mean to be popular and if they think that you're not cool because you won't do something then they aren't your friends.

·         Lots of Bullies want attention. Since they are mean and disrespectful of others, all the kids try to stay away from them. We need to give them the attention and love them like we love are best friends. Then maybe they will learn to be a friend to other instead of picking on kids.

·         I know it's hard to pay attention to anything especially other peoples feelings but that doesn't mean they still shouldn't try

·         People should pay attention to peoples feelings

·         Bullies totally lack attention in school from other kids

·         pArEnTs: At home parents should get involved in their kids life, and usually when they have other children, a job, and much to do around the house, it is make time for one child...but parents should try to make time each month just to spend time with each kid separately...when kids...are..young...or adolescents. This will make the child they have been given a type of special attention.

·         SChOoLs: Schools...already have many programs that give each student individual attention. I think teachers...should insist more often on shy, or unsociable students to join in the conversation in class, or share their...opinions, and answers.

·         STuDenTs: Students in general...should learn to be more kind and more excepting! .....Though..we are young....and not as responsible for our actions as our parents are, we should always be amiable to others!



·         Want to fight to be popular.

·         Maybe the popular people can be more nice to people

·         Want to fight when other people are looky looky.

·         They pick on other people so that they can be popular.

·         Explain and teach a lesson that says that popularity is not all that matters in a course of the lifetime. You should not have to care about the outside of people, but what they re like on the inside and what their personality is

·         People should be more like themselves and nice to there surroundings

·         Be open to everyone, everyone is special in the own way!!!  :)

·         I think peers shouldn't recognize bullies

·         School sets up a system that allows students to meet other kids. Maybe become friends and get along

·         Teach kids that popularity will soon end and then they will not know what to do

·         We need to make being popular a more positive thing- not let being popular be the same as being the one with the most power from bullying

·         People could talk to the bully and say tell him/her that if you want to be popular you should be nice.

·         Work acceptance into the curriculum and teach kids to respect and treat others nicely

·         I think that the child needs to stop being mean and start being friendly. From personal experience if you are nice to people you were previously mean to then you will increase in popularity. Also confront the new kids who come to your schools. Talk to them, coming to a new school is very tough and you will gain a new friend if maybe you come up to him and let him or her hang out with you.

·         They are being excluded and want to be part of the fun so, to express their feelings they begin to pick on and insult other kids.

·         You shouldn't be living on ways to make yourself more popular because it isn't everything in life, and it isn't going to matter when you get older. What does matter is your own self esteem and what other people see you as, hopefully a positive nice person!

·         People should just pay attention to people's feelings.

·         The bully can just be him/herself and find some friends that they can enjoy the company of. They could stop picking on people because more people would like them because they would be nicer and more people would want to hang around them. If they just were just themselves and not worry about being popular they would gain more popularity.

·         People need to become more tolerant, so people don't become bullies

·         Everybody wants to be popular. All we need to do is be a friend to those who have none (bullies), it would make the world to them.

·         Forget about popularity. You only live once and about 15 years down the road you wont even remember half of the people you went to school with so its not worth it!  Focus on your education or other things that make you happy like hanging out with your friends. AS HARD AS IT MAY BE REALLY TRY HARD TO FOCUS ON YOUR SCHOOLWORK, YOU HAVE TOO! Focusing on your school work will get you somewhere in life! Just remember that!



·         People should all be nice to each other

·         They try to be the "strongest" in the school

·         Put the problems behind you and move on

·         Get power from other sources besides being a bully. Other ways are in sports, girl/boy scouts, and school activities

·         Create a program where students are equally given out things to run, teaching kids that they only can have power over certain things in their life

·         We need to have positive power- good leadership, etc

·         People think that power is all that matters. They think that if they have power by being mean to people then they will be at the top and they will be the "coolest". That should not matter. Being at the top of the class or school would be good if you did not abuse that power.

·         We should tell bullies that they are mean

·         Do not put so much public emphasis on academics

·         I think that the kid needs to realize that the only person that he can have power over is themselves. And if the kid is still feeling a loss of power then get him a puppy or something maybe he can control the dog and won't be so messed up and stop being such a jerk to every one.

·         There are other ways to establish power and adults should make sure that teenagers feel superior in other ways and know that they are worth a lot

·         People should get together and out-number the bully so he can't gain power

·         Bullies need to have control and that sense of superiority over other kids.  Once they pick on kids they will feel important and powerful.

·         People should just pay attention to people's feelings

·         Power is overrated, teachers should teach their students that.

·         The only thing you need power over is yourself, and then you can do anything

·         They could get more power by getting good grades and making more friends

·         Power is a great thing. Bullies want to exceed there. We need to give them responsibilities of there own.  That would give them a little power

·         People should come together so the bully can't establish power



·         The parents and siblings should be more kind to each other

·         They see a lot of fighting at home, so they copy their parents

·         The parents and siblings should be more kind to each other

·         People should set good examples for their children at all times!!!!!!

·         They see a lot of fighting at home, so they copy their parents

·         People should just pay attention of what is happening that is bad to the children and fix it

·         The parents should be more nice to each other

·         Talk to bullies and set up counseling with the child and parents. Also involve and inform parents with more things that their child is doing

·         Some adults just don't know how to parent and so there should be organizations that make sure that a family home is being lead properly and an organization that helps families out

·         Have more educational opportunities for parents to learn about talking to their kids about bullying

·         We're already taking a positive approach to this issue- this conference!

·         The parent needs to talk to the child and resolve any issues that the child is having about being excluded from the home life. The parents or guardians also need to talk to the child's brothers and sisters if they have any and say that the child is going through a tough time in there life and to take it easy on them

·         Try to get the bully to go to the counselor

·         A way to establish not bullying from home life issues is to make the home a better place and to have the parents or people at home be nicer to the bully and keep them from hurting others

·         Have events where parents and kids can attend together to reach solutions to problems like bullying and teasing

·         You could go to counseling with your family and try to solve your problems. And you could spend more time with your family.

·         Have teachers talk to the parents and send the parents to counseling. They might need it more than their child!

·         Most bullies have witnessed their parents fighting at home and use them as role models, or have been ignored by their parents and take their anger out on kids at school.



·         You should feel more better about themselves

·         They try to raise their self-esteem by hurting others

·         Succeed in sports and academics so that you have a higher self esteem so you dont abuse the power of being better or stronger in beating people up!!!!!!

·         Everyone should be nice to everyone else

·         Teach all kids about bullying, and give them positive advice about their life, perhaps  to make them feel better

·         Try to give self-esteem by congratulating them for doing good things. It would add self esteem and help them get through tough times

·         You could go and see a councilor and you could just spend more time working with yourself

·         Go around giving compliments to everybody, it can't hurt!

·         Give the bully something to do, something to excel in, and his self-esteem will grow

·         School set up activities and programs that include everyone's likes so that the kids can take activities they enjoy

·         Bullies have low self esteem and want to feel control so they beat up on kids to raise their se

·         Love yourself and others



·         Put behind the past and move to the future

·         They've been picked on in the past, and they want to get back at the person

·         They have been abused

·         Don't do anything to others that you wouldn't want other people to do to you

·         People are meanies!!

·         Because the past is the past and here comes the future

·         Try to get the kid a councilor

·         The future is here deal with it

·         Take counseling to help them forget, get over their past

·         Bullies should not copy what other people do.