Required Reading: Bullying Awareness and Prevention Month

Bullying isn’t relegated to school playgrounds; it can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone. “My knowledge of bullying is experiential, and happened at work,” explained Dr. Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD, and owner of Safe Harbor Counseling. “As a target of bullying, I experienced stress, confusion, and tension. I was always waiting for the next unsubstantiated accusation. My attempts to follow procedure, get clarification, and make amends were all denied.”

Dr. Plachetka’s knowledge of bullying is also well researched. “The topic of my doctoral dissertation, “A Systems Approach to Workplace Bullying in the K-12 Public Education Setting” was defended in March 2014, published in June 2014, and is available online,” she said. “I’ve attended numerous conferences with national experts and I belong to the International Association of Workplace Bullying and Harassment.”

There are several things Dr. Plachetka wants people to know. First, the system is always the problem. When accommodations and deals are made that don’t follow policy and procedure, everyone suffers. “Bullies bully because they can,” she said. “No one wants to experience bullying, so the situation is corrected by correcting the target. A bully can be one person or a small group.”

Dr. Plachetka says that bullies rarely do their work well, while projecting an attitude of supremacy. “Bullies groom administrators and peers to ensure their positions are secure and opinions are heard,” she added. “The targets do their work, help others, and know their own flaws. Co-workers and friends see the bullying, but can’t or won’t speak up for fear of retaliation.”

Targets of bullying may experience a wide range of outcomes, including divorce, loss of income, loss of status, job termination, and significant physical and mental health conditions.

“Most significantly, research shows that targets of bullying find that they absolutely must escape the situation,” said Dr. Plachetka. “Some choose to quit their job. Some choose to end their life. Save a life - speak up against bullying.”

For more information, please contact:

Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD

Safe Harbor Counseling

76 S. Main Street, Suite A

Sugar Grove, IL 60554

Phone: 630-466-8657

A Systems Approach (