Bullying is the first form of violence that many experience and it is not fun. The American Medical Association has determined that bullying is a public-health issue with short and long term consequences for everyone involved. A study reported by Time magazine (April 18, 05) states that 47% of sixth-graders said they were bullied at least once in the course of five school days.
Victims of bullying report being unhappy, often earn lower grades, and occasionally retaliate.
Warning signs that a student is being bullied may be subtle, so it is important for parents to keep a vigilant watch for any changes in behavior which may indicate bullying is taking place. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, report the incident to school personnel and talk with educators at your child’s school about bullying.
Overall, everyone is affected by a classroom climate that allows bullying, because such a climate is not conducive to learning. Teachers, parents, and children are encouraged to use bullying prevention activities, materials and computer/internet resources to create a school climate that eliminates bullying. Children learn best in environments where they feel safe, respected, and are encouraged to take risks.
Question 1: What is Polk County’s definitions of bullying and harassment?
Answer 1: The Polk County Schools definition of bullying closely follows the terms of the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, and defines bullying as:
Question 2: How do I tell the difference between rough play, fighting and bullying?
Answer 2: The first step in untangling the differences between bullying and other forms of aggression is to define what bullying is and how it differs from “normal” childhood conflicts. The following table illustrates the differences between rough play, fighting and bullying.
|Usually friends; often will do the same things again||Usually not friends; Typically not repeated||Not friends but will be repeated|
|Power not an immediate Issue||Power close to equal||Power is not equal|
|Not about hurting||Trying to hurt each other||Bully is trying to hurt, humiliate|
|Affect is friendly, mutual||Affect is negative, angry||Affect varies between the victim and bully|
Question 3: How do I tell the difference between bullying and harassment?
Answer 3: Bullying occurs when a student or group of students targets an individual repeatedly over time, using physical or psychological aggression to dominate the victim (Hoover & Oliver, 1996; Rigby, 1995; USDOE, 1998). The repeated incidents function to create and enforce an imbalance of power between bully and victim. Harassment involves any action that can be severe enough that it keeps a child from being successful in school. However, unlike bullying, which involves repeated incidents, harassment can be a one-time occurrence.
Question 4: What Causes People to Bully?
Answer 4: In general, bullies are using behavior that they have determined will gain them status and feelings of control, and they derive satisfaction from inflicting either physical or emotional pain on others. They usually seek victims they can successfully bully. Victims do not “ask for it,” but there is a group of victims who are not socially successful, and may annoy others, perhaps in an attempt to gain attention from their peers. Bullies use this annoying behavior to justify their own actions. To many bullies, their victims were “asking for it.”
Question 5: What are the signs and symptoms of bullying?
Question 6: How Can I Help My Child If He/She Is Bullied?
Question 7: What are ways for your child to address bullying in school?
Answer 7: There are several ways your child can protect his/herself:
Answer 8: There are several methods for reporting suspected bullying incidents:
Students: There are many methods for you to report; follow the link to the student page for more information. Click here to visit the Student Information Page
School Board Employees who wish to report employee bullying should follow the link on this website to staff information to report. Click here to visit the Staff Information Page
Question 9: What can I expect the school to do once I report bullying?
Answer 9: Once a bullying incident is reported, the following actions occur:
Question 10: What can the school do to support my child if he’s bullied?
Answer 10: Once school personnel have determined a bullying incident has occurred, an official plan will be developed to support the child who has been bullied. This plan will be implemented as written, with follow-up and modification if necessary. Plans will involve a variety of means of keeping a child safe and might include:
The resources below include definitions, statistics, and strategies to help with bullying and/or harassment.