Before responding to bullying we need a foundation of understanding what bullying is. We use Signe Whitson, Author of The 8 Keys to End Bullying, as a resource for helping us understand and respond to bullying behaviors.
At St. George, we arm students from a young age (education in the classroom beginning in 2nd grade) with the knowledge of what bullying is. Beginning in 2nd grade students are taught about inner strengths, friendship, healthy coping skills and how to treat others with respect. In 3rd grade, students begin to learn the difference between being rude, being mean, and bullying developed from Signe Whitson’s guidelines and curriculum. In 4th grade students continue to learn the difference between rude, mean, and bullying, the different types of bullying, and how to stand up to a bully. In 5th grade students learn about the different types of bullying and how important it is for them to be on the lookout and say or do something if they see someone being bullied.
What is Bullying?
Bullying behavior is purposeful with the intent to cause harm through means of physical, verbal, relational, social, emotional, and/or electronic communication. This behavior is patterned and pervasive, averaging two or more incidents per week over the course of two or more weeks. There is a power imbalance which may be either physical or social in nature.
- 10 signs a child is being bullied
- Click here for a tool to help you determine if your child is being bullied
To report bullying behavior:
If you need to report a bullying incident or have questions please contact the Guidance Counselor. After a concern is reported we use the screening tool developed by Signe Whitson to determine next steps. The Counselor works closely with Administration to ensure situations are handled with care and consideration for all students involved.
What to do if you think your child is being bullied:
- Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you and continue to talk with you about all bullying incidents. Do not ignore your child’s report.
- Validate your child's feelings by letting him/her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc.
- Let your child know that she/he has made the right choice by reporting the incident(s) to you and assure your child that she/he is not to blame.
- Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents: who, what, where, when. (Look for patterns or evidence of repeated bullying behaviors.)
- Ask your child how he or she has tried to stop the bullying. Coach your child in possible alternatives. Avoidance is often the best strategy. Play in a different place, play a different game, or stay near a supervising adult when bullying is likely to occur.
- Look for ways to find new friends. Support your child by encouraging him/her to extend invitations for friends to play at your home or to attend activities. Involve your child in social activities outside of school.
- Treat the school as your ally. Share your child's concerns and specific information about bullying incidents with school personnel, such as your child’s teacher or the guidance counselor. Work with school staff to protect your child from possible retaliation. Establish a plan with the school and your child for dealing with future bullying incidents. If you feel the teacher has not heard your concerns you should speak with the guidance counselor or principal. Work with your child’s school to identify someone he/she can feel safe reporting bullying incidents to such as the adult in charge of a specific activity or area (such as the playground, lunchroom, field trips, bus lines, gym, classroom)
- Do not advise your child to physically fight back. (Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back. Physical injuries often result.)
- Do not confront the child who bullies
- Do not confront the family of the child who bullies.