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Bullying advice lands UB professor on 'Sesame Street'

by jmaloni
Fri, Nov 11th 2011 07:40 pm

University at Buffalo Associate Professor of Psychology Jamie M. Ostrov's work on understanding the development of bullying behavior in pre-school children has won him some influential admirers and boosters.

He's a consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the U.S. Department of Education in their efforts to develop a uniform definition of bullying. He's assisted the federal StopBullying.gov initiative in adapting bullying prevention materials for young children.

And most recently in Ostrov's professional dossier: an October appearance opposite Big Bird and his furry friends, counseling the "Sesame Street" characters on what to do when confronted with bullying behavior. Ostrov is featured in a series of Web-based videos to accompany a recent episode of the new season of "Sesame Street." The series also is available on DVD.

"I wanted to join a club called the Good Birds Club," Big Bird tells Ostrov in the video. "They didn't want me because my beak was too long, and I was too big and too yellow."

When Ostrov suggests to Big Bird and friends that they find a grown-up and report what has happened, the blue Muppet named Rosita worries about being labeled a tattletale.

"Oh no, Rosita. That's not tattling," reassures Ostrov. "That's reporting. Reporting is important when our friends are hurt. It's important to find a grown-up to report it so our friends can stay safe."

Ostrov's appearance in the videos is on the "Sesame Street" website.

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