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Meet the Author, Israel C. Kalman, Nationally Certified School Psychologist

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Israel (Izzy) Kalman,

Israel (Izzy) Kalman,

I had been an expert in bullying for a couple of decades without realizing it because I had never thought of the behaviors I was dealing with as "bullying." Bullying had been an obscure field within psychology that few mental health professionals ever studied. The field came to prominence because of the Columbine shooting, which was committed by kids who presented themselves as victims of bullying. It was then that I learned that I had been treating victims of "bullying."

The psychological and educational communities then went to the academic literature to learn about bullying, and found a field that had been created by a Norwegian researcher named Dan Olweus, and all the subsequent work on bullying was based on his definitions, research, and recommendations. The United States and most of the modern world began intensively implementing anti-bullying programs and policies based on Olweus's teachings. However, when I examined his approach to bullying, I saw that it ignored everything that I had learned in science and psychology and was essentially the opposite of what is taught in counseling and psychotherapy. Rather than helping kids learn how to deal with being bullied, this new approach required professionals to act as law enforcement officers, protecting kids from each other, taking the side of victims against their bullies, and apprehending, interrogating and punishing/rehabilitating bullies. I knew that this approach couldn't possibly work, for when we do this at home with our own kids, it leads to constant fighting, makes them angry at us as well, and prevents them from learning how to deal with each other on their own. How could an approach that leads to intensive sibling rivalry at home possibly create harmony in school?
I therefore decided to create a website that would teach kids, parents and schools how to deal with bullying and aggression by applying psychological principles. Before long, I left my job as a school psychologist with the New York City Department of Education so that I could devote myself full time to teaching and creating materials for dealing with bullying.


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