Real Talks on Bullying

Last month, October, contained two national campaigns: the National Bully Prevention Month and Red Ribbon Week (substance abuse awareness/prevention). To ensure both topics receive ample guidance time, our counselors continued the celebration of Red Ribbon Week on our campuses in October and will focus on bully prevention (K-12) in the month of November. As a parent, you may already be aware that bullying occurs through many facets: written, verbal, physical, emotional, and even electronic means. 

Bullying involves (or may involve) physically harming another student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm. Bullying can also be described as behavior that is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student. The behavior exploits an imbalance of power between the victim and perpetrator. Other actions further described as bullying may include hazing, threats, teasing, confinement, assault, name calling, and rumor spreading.

To understand and prevent bullying, exploring the idea of why students bully is helpful. Some “reasons” kids bully are due to:

  • The feeling of power over others (gain social status)

  • Misunderstanding differences

  • Craving attention

  • Family learned behavior

  • Their own low self-esteem

  • Copying behavior seen in TV shows/movies/video games

How do schools, parents, and the community teach kids to appropriately interact with others in daily life and through the use of their electronic devices? All can be a part of educating our children and youth in understanding acceptable behaviors, differences in others, solving conflicts, and managing emotions.  Beginning in elementary school, students are taught how words can be hurtful and how negative actions make other people feel. As children grow, they must continue to learn self-control in their words, emotions, and actions.   

 

Children initially learn to see others through their own “lenses.” Through these lenses, others are judged based on their own frame of reference or opinions and perspectives. In the beginning, a child’s frame of reference is formed by family values, culture, background, and life experiences. As children attend school and venture other places, they begin to see how others may differ in many aspects including: race, ethnicity, religion, appearances, physical abilities, gender, disabilities, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and traditions. Because others are different does not make it OK to harass or bully them. Our kids must be taught by all that bullying others because of their differences or for any other reason is unacceptable! We must teach our kids empathy, tolerance, and awareness. 

 

To combat bullying in our schools and community, our kids must recognize the signs of true bullying and what to do when bullying occurs. When bullying occurs at school, at a school-sponsored activity, or on a school vehicle (i.e. a school bus), students should report incidences in a timely manner to teachers, counselors, principals, and/or other District personnel. This information, in turn, is shared with campus administration. The report can be made directly to the professional or can be submitted online via an NISD Tip Line. The eAlert icon can be found on the homepage of any campus’ website.

 

 

Our kids must be taught to not be a bystander but to report bullying when it is witnessed. Being silent is not the solution to resolving bullying as it takes everyone coming together to protect others. Unfortunately, negative messages often travel more quickly, and our kids must learn to not perpetuate this negativity through written, verbal, and/or electronic means. Our kids need to identify true bullying and know how to get help for themselves or someone else who is experiencing intentional harm or repeated intimidation from others.

Parents, our schools, and the community must come together to teach our kids about:

  • Kindness, compassion, and respect

  • How one’s actions make other people feel

  • Controlling one’s aggression

  • Why bullying is hurtful

  • Sensitivity and understanding

  • And again, empathy, tolerance, and awareness

Each individual has a voice, and we must join together to say no to bullying and harassing others!

References include: www.nobullying.com, www.tolerance.org, and www.schoolcounselor.org.

The online resources below and the content within the sites are not endorsed by Northwest ISD. These links are provided as resources for further information.

http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-you-can-do/parents/

http://www.ncpc.org/topics/bullying/what-parents-can-do