Sadly, there are times when people say or do mean things. Sometimes people don’t even realize that their words or actions were hurtful. Sometimes they are mean on purpose. Sometimes, this crosses the line and becomes bullying. So how do I know the difference, and what can I do about it?
The following information was provided by www.stopbullying.gov.
How can I tell if it is Bullying?
Bullying is a widespread phenomenon that can happen anywhere and cause serious harm. It involves:
- Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm, and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves. Sometimes the imbalance is physical, sometimes it is status/authority, sometimes it is emotional or a perceived imbalance of power over another.
- Intent to Cause Harm: Actions done by accident are not bullying. The person bullying has a goal to cause harm·
- Repetition: Incidents of bullying happen to the same person over and over by the same person or group.
StopBullying.gov is an official U.S. Government Web site managed by the Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Justice. This is a valuable resource to gain further information!
Types of Bullying
According to www.stopbullying.gov, bullying can take many forms. Examples include:
- Verbal: name calling, teasing
- Social: spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose (exclusion)
- Physical: hitting, punching, shoving
- Cyber bullying: using the internet, cell phones, or other digital technology to harm others
How can I report Bullying?
A survey of Wright City Middle School students, conducted several years ago, revealed that students often do not report incidents of bullying for a variety of reasons. Responses included:
- Fear the bully would find out and bully the victim even more
- Fear that others would think of them as “snitches” or “tattle-tales”
- Fear the bully would start picking on them (if the reporter is a witness)
- Fear the bully would get in trouble because the bully is a friend (if reporter is witness)
Based on these responses, the WCMS staff wanted to create a safe and private method for reporting bully behavior. After all, if we don't know about the situation, we don’t know how to help!
Aside from telling a teacher/adult in person, there are multiple ways to report bullying:
- The Black Box and Bully Box – students can write down the information on a piece of paper and slip it into the Black Box located outside the Counselor’s Office or into the Bully Box located inside the Nurse’s Office.
- Staff E-mail – students can report and incident via e-mail to the principal, assistant principal, the counselor, and/or a teacher they trust.
- Tell a Friend – friends of victims being bullied are encouraged to tell WCMS adults.
- Parent Referral – yes, even parents can report a bullying incident! Kids may feel more comfortable talking to their own families and we encourage families to communicate these concerns with WCMS staff.
- Electronic Bully Report Form- use this link to fill out an Electronic Bully Report Form. This form will go directly to the school counselor. Electronic Bully Report Form
What Else Can I Do?
Don’t be a bystander, be an UPSTANDER! Stand up for others when you see bullying. It only takes one person to step up and say “I don’t think that’s right” to give others the encouragement to get involved and help someone.
There are some great resources in the Counselor’s Office to help students understand and work through life’s challenges, including: how to deal with difficult people, resolving conflicts, and handling bully situations (for both the bully and the victim).
www.defeatthelabel.com strives to encourage students to step up for change, by empowering them with skills to address bully behavior.
Check out this link to StopBullying.gov for more ideas!