Alumnus serves as anti-bullying advocate
Waxahachie, Texas — April 25, 2013 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Gerald Magin is an assistant principal at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School of the Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD). Magin helped develop Fort Worth ISD’s It’s Not Okay (INOK) program and is especially involved in attempts to stop bullying.
Magin says, “Educators need to be aware that bullying is happening and that it is a persistent action. When we encounter bullying, we need to say, ‘I want to be a role model, I want to be an advocate, and I’m not going to allow this to happen.’”
Fort Worth ISD initiated the It’s Not Okay (INOK) program on January 2012 in response to increasing concerns about bullying and other destructive behaviors. The program addresses behaviors such as bullying, teen dating violence, suicide, gangs and substance abuse.
INOK encourages students to make healthy decisions, ask for help, and help friends in need. The program has recently gone national, as school districts across the nation desire to model the INOK in their own schools.
During program development, Magin provided input about bullying from his personal experiences. Working with at-risk students at South Hills High School piqued Magin’s interest in bullying. He says, “I was surprised to find that a number of at-risk students didn’t want to come to school because of bullying.”
Magin emphasizes the importance of approach in bullying situations. He advises those intervening in bullying situations to be encouraging and reinforce that they will follow through. He explains, “Many are too afraid to advocate for themselves-- often because they have already been failed by others who have promised to help.”
Magin continues, “Don’t bully bullies to get them to stop. I suggest what I call the ‘tell your story’ approach. Ask bullies to explain what is happening from their perspective. Question them and have them put themselves in the shoes of the person(s) they are bullying.”
In Magin's experience, some students are not aware they are bullying. He elaborates, “Don’t rush judgments about bullies. Half of them are mistaken about what it acceptable or humorous, or are simply imitating someone else’s poor behavior.
"Unfortunately, half of them do know what they are doing is wrong and do it purposefully anyway. With these students, a more aggressive approach is necessary.”
Magin received a Bachelor of Science in health and physical education from Indiana University. He graduated from SAGU's Distance Education program with a Masters of Education in principalship.
He appreciates the real-world education he received from SAGU. He says, “I was pleased that SAGU’s education was relevant to my work in an urban educational setting. I would recommend SAGU’s education program to anybody.”
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927 and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.