Information for Teachers & Staff

How does The Zorgos Project parent reading group fit in to school social/emotional programs?

The Bullying Antidote is a guide to positive parenting, wrapped in the latest anti-bullying research from around the world. Positive parenting is a parenting style based on Positive Psychology, which focuses on building strengths and positive feelings. The book explores how the dynamics of fear and dominance perpetuate bullying, and provides parents with a deep understanding of power-balanced alternatives and proven techniques.

The book begins with a look at how bullying is nurtured by mainstream cultural beliefs and common parenting practices, and how it is passed through generations. It explores the effects of bullying, adverse childhood experiences, what bullying is and is not, and provides a guide to bully-prevention systems in schools. The final two-thirds of the book are a guide to positive parenting (based on Positive Psychology), with chapters on social-emotional concepts such as self-care, connection, communication, family power structures, and brain science. There is a chapter on handling technology in the family (including a teacher’s plea to keep kids off social media until age 13), and the book ends with a human rights focus.

Written by Dr. Louise Hart, author of The Winning Family (1988, the first book to focus on nurturing self-esteem in the family), and her daughter Kristen Caven (a veteran parent leader in the Oakland Schools), The Bullying Antidote is informed by the worst and best of Oakland. Examples of parents modeling violence and examples of parents teaching peace are woven together, and programs and practices used over the years by OUSD are explained in context of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention tactics.

Teachers say they can tell which students are being raised with positive parenting. They are the kids who arrive in class ready to learn. They are able to work with other children and solve problems, and they don’t have authority issues. The Zorgos Project, which provides free copies of The Bullying Antidote for parents to read in groups, hope to expand the practice of positive parenting in Oakland. The Zorgos Project supports the work teachers are already doing to create calm and positive school cultures. When parents read and discuss this book together, they are able to support one another in strengthening positive parenting practices.

Zorgos Project discussion groups can be self-led by parents, community members, or school staff using our discussion guides.  Oakland Parents Together and the authors can provide additional support. Contact info at for more information.

How to use The Bullying Antidote in your classroom

Teachers can acquire a case of books (24ct) for their classroom, parent center, or school library. These books can be helpful in creating parent conversation, learning, and support. Look through the discussion guide and select a chapter with questions pertinent to the problem you want to address. Send home a book with each child with a note such as this bookmarking that chapter:

Dear  Parent,

We are having some challenges with our class dynamics and would like to bring parents into the conversation. Please read  Chapter _ and RSVP to [Lead Parent’s Name] at [Contact Info] if you can attend  a  short discussion session on [Date, Time] at [Location]. Refreshments will be provided.

Thank you for being an important member of our community,

[Teacher’s Name]