Bullying can affect ALL students — those who bully, those who are victimized, and those who are witnesses. Industrial ISD is committed to identifying and stopping bullying.
For students to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel safe and be safe — socially, emotionally, and physically. They need to feel as if they belong, and they need to feel valued. Many people, including teachers, parents, community members and others have a role to play in building positive, supportive environments for students, promoting acceptance and respect among all individuals, and ultimately, fostering development and learning. Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying usually includes:
attack or intimidation with the intention to cause fear, distress, or harm that is either:
- physical (e.g., hitting, punching),
- verbal (e.g., name-calling, teasing), or
- psychological/relational (e.g., rumors, social exclusion);
a real or perceived imbalance of power between the bully and victim; and
repeated attacks or intimidation between the same children over time (Farrington & Ttofi, 2010).
Bullying can occur in person or through technology, called "electronic aggression" or "cyberbullying."
Understanding bullying is complicated by the fact that a young person can be a bully, a victim, or both a bully and a victim (called "bully-victims")(Wang, Iannotti, & Nansel, 2009).
What Should I Do If I Think My Child is Being Bullied?
Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying. Ask him or her to describe who was involved and how and where each bullying episode happened. Learn as much as you can about the bullying tactics used, and when and where the bullying happened. Can your child name others who may have witnessed the bullying?
Encourage your child to report the bullying or report for them. Email or call your child's principal or counselor.
Never tell your child to ignore the bullying. What the child may "hear" is that you are going to ignore it. If the child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.
Don't blame the child who is being bullied. Don't assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying. Don't say, "What did you do to aggravate the other child?"
Empathize with your child. Tell him/her that bullying is wrong, not his/her fault, and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it. Ask your child what he or she thinks can be done to help. Assure him or her that you will think about what needs to be done and you will let him or her know what you are going to do.
Do not encourage physical retaliation ("Just hit them back") as a solution. Hitting another student is not likely to end the problem, and it could get your child suspended or expelled or escalate the situation.
Check your emotions. A parent's protective instincts stir strong emotions. Although it is difficult, parents are wise to step back and consider the next steps carefully
Contact your child's teacher, counselor or principal.
Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to the school, but bullying might not stop without the help of adults. Call or set up an appointment to talk with your child's teacher, the counselor or principal. Give factual information about your child's experience of being bullied including who, what, when, where, and how.
Ask the counselor or principal to talk with all adults who interact with your child at school (teachers, secretaries, librarians, bus driver, etc.) to see whether they have observed students bullying your child. Emphasize that you want to work with the staff at school to find a solution to stop the bullying, for the sake of your child as well as other students.
Unless you know them well, it is not usually helpful to contact the parents of the student(s) who bullied your child. This is usually a parent's first response, but sometimes contacting the bully's parents makes matters worse. School officials should contact the parents of the child or children who did the bullying.
Commit to making the bullying stop. Talk regularly with your child and with school staff to see whether the bullying has stopped. If the bullying persists, contact school administrators again.
Help your child become more resistant to bullying.
Help to develop talents or positive attributes of your child. Suggest and facilitate music, athletics, and art activities. Doing so may help your child be more confident among his or her peers.
Encourage your child to make new friends. Help your child meet new friends outside of the school environment. A new environment can provide a "fresh start" for a child who has been bullied repeatedly.
Teach your child safety strategies. Teach him or her how to seek help from an adult when feeling threatened by a bully. Talk about whom he or she should go to for help and role-play what he or she should say. Assure your child that reporting bullying is not the same as tattling.
Ask yourself if your child is being bullied because of a learning difficulty or a lack of social skills. If your child is hyperactive, impulsive, or overly talkative, the child who bullies may be reacting out of annoyance. This doesn't make the bullying right, but it may help to explain why your child is being bullied. If your child easily irritates people, seek help from a counselor so that your child can better learn the informal social rules of his or her peer group**.**
Make sure your child has a safe and loving home environment where he or she can take shelter, physically and emotionally. Always maintain open lines of communication with your child.
What Should I Do If My Child is Bullying Others?
To stop bullying, make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously and that you will not tolerate this behavior. However, this cannot be done in such a manner that could reinforce bullying patterns.
Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your child's behavior. Praise and reinforce your child for following rules and use non-physical, non-hostile consequences for rule violations.
Spend more time with your child and carefully supervise or monitor his or her activities. Find out who your child's friends are and how and where they spend free time.
Build on your child's talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in prosocial activities (such as clubs, music lessons, or non-violent sports).
Share your concerns with your child's teacher, counselor, or principal. Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must stop.
If you or your child needs additional help, talk with a school counselor or mental health professional
Tips for Parents to Stop Cyber Bullying:
Teach children never to respond to offensive or threatening e-mail.
Save messages and contact local law enforcement authorities, if appropriate.
Contact the service provider to report abusive online behavior.
Filter or block unwanted messages.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Tips for Students to Stop Cyber Bullies:
Refuse to forward cyber-bullying messages.
Block communication with cyber bullies.
Report cyber-bullying incidents to a trusted adult.
"Kids Against Bullying" was created for elementary school children. This Web site is an informative and creative resource to educate students about bullying prevention and provide methods to respond to bullying situations. The site features an animated cast of characters, information, celebrity videos, Webisodes, interactive games, animation, contests, and other activities. Parents and professionals will find helpful tips, intervention strategies, and resources for use at home or school.
PACER"s Teens Against Bullying Web site is a relevant, edgy, and unique educational resource for bullying prevention designed to engage, empower and educate all teens. Information is presented in an innovative, engaging and interactive style. There are solutions—creative resources that all teens—can use to educate other teens and young people and to raise awareness in their community or to help other teens in bullying situations.