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Bullying Prevention and Intervention in Schools Cross Timbers Middle School Counseling Department Defining Bullying Bullying is when a student or group of students engages in written or verbal expression, or physical conduct that: – Will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm. – Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the student. Bullying is: Aggressive Intentional Involves an imbalance of power Bullying may be: Repeated over time Acted out in many different forms. Bullying is NOT: A normal childhood activity A rite of passage The target’s fault Unpreventable Bullying can happen in 5 ways: Verbal: Ignoring, isolation, put downs, name calling, teasing, gossip, threats. Physical: Blocking, pushing, kicking, fighting, physical restraint. Sexual: Innuendos, touching, slapping, pictures, jokes, sexual harassment, assault. Property: hiding belongings, theft, extortion (blackmail), vandalism, destruction. Cyber: Direct or indirect attacks using cell phones, computers, email, social networking sites or other electronic means to accomplish any of the above types of bullying. For the target, bullying is a “loss” experience: LOSS of safety LOSS of self-esteem LOSS of belongings LOSS of control over their own life. Is it really bullying? Not every incident that students report will fit the definition of bullying. Adolescence is often a difficult time – Moving from elementary school to middle school – Changing friends, social groups, and status – Coping emotional and physical changes Often situations involving some “bullying” type behaviors, such as name calling or exclusion, is part of normal peer conflict, and can be worked out with mediation. Effects of Bullying on the Target: Physical Effects Emotional Effects – Stomach aches – Alienation – Weight loss/gain – Loneliness – Headaches – Low self-esteem – Drop in grades – Insecurity – Drug or alcohol use – FEAR – Sexual acting out – Depression – Suicidal – Withdrawal thoughts/statements – Aggression – Homicidal – Anger thoughts/statements – Thoughts/acts of revenge Results of Bullying Violence – The Secret Service did a study on school violence and found that bullying was a factor in over 40 school violence incidents including: – Barry Loukaitis, 14, Moses Lake, WA February 2, 1996 – Joseph “Colt” Todd, 14, Stamps, AR December 15, 1997 – Eric Harris, 17, and Dylan Klebold, 18, Littleton, CO April 20, 1999 – Charles “Andy” Williams, Santee CA March 6, 2001 – Elizabeth Catherine Bush, 14, Williamsport, PA March 7, 2001 Suicide – Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-25 year olds and sixth among 5-14 year olds. – 500,000 teens attempt suicide every year. – 5000 succeed. – Phoebe Prince, 15, Northampton, MA, January 2010 – Eric Mohat, 17, Mentor, OH, March 2007 – Jeremiah Lasater, 14, Acton, CA, October 2010 – Megan Meier, 13, St. Louis, MS, 2006 Warning Signs that a Child is being Bullied Frequently the target of teasing, intimidation, domination at school Has a derogatory nickname Regularly has bruises or injuries that can’t be explained Has belongings taken or damaged Few or no close friends at school Frequently socially isolated Chosen last for teams or other activities Less assertive or lacks the skills to respond to teasing Appears weak or easily dominated Tries to stay close to a teacher or other adult during passing periods, lunch or other free periods. Factors that contribute to bullying behavior: Family Factors: conflict in the home, lack of attention, lack of supervision, modeling of aggressive behavior. Individual Factors: active and impulsive personality, craves attention, insecure. School Factors: overall climate of the school is uncaring or indifferent, perception of students is that teachers know about bullying and don’t care, disrespectful interactions are ignored or tolerated. 3 Types of Bullies: The Confident Bully: – Physically strong, aggressive, high self-esteem, popular, but insecure. More likely to use violence, theft and destruction of property. The Anxious Bully: – Academically weak, less popular, low self-esteem, insecure and with a need to control, may be immature and envious. More likely to use teasing, name-calling and social isolation. The Bully / Victim – Bullies in some situations and victimized by bullies in other situations, poor social skills, generally unpopular, may taunt and provoke bullies. 85% of students are NEITHER bullies nor victims. These are the SILENT MAJORITY and they can build positive peer pressure against bullying. Why is someone targeted? Size: being a different size -- smaller or bigger – for your age. Differences: having a characteristic that makes you stand out like being African-American at a mostly white school, a girl in a shop class that's crowded with boys, or having a disability that makes you walk or talk differently. Reaction: getting anxious or upset very easily. Social factors: not having many friends, being alone a lot; or not having a lot of confidence and not standing up for yourself. – Some kids get bullied as a result of a single thing that happened, like an embarrassing moment that took place in front of other people. Opportunity: being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Reputation: Usually, once someone is singled out by a bully, other people will know that person is a target and start bullying her or him, too. What can parents do? Talk to your child about bullying. Be aware of bullying warning signs. Contact the teacher, counselor or administrator as soon as possible. Help your child develop and practice bully resistance skills. Make a plan with your child about how the bullying situation will be handled. What should parents NOT do? Confront the bully or the bully’s parents. This probably won’t help and might make things worse. Tell your child to “get in there and fight.” Bullies are usually stronger and more powerful than their victims. Your child could get hurt. Blame your child. Bullying is NEVER the victim’s fault! Promise to keep the bullying secret. This gives the bully permission to keep bullying. WHAT CAN MY CHILD DO? If he or she is being bullied: – Keep Calm: bullies love it when you react with tears or anger. Don’t give them the reaction they are looking for. – Report it: Bullies will harass you as long as they think they will get away with it. By reporting it and continuing to report it, you send them a message that you are not going to take it. – Use the buddy system: Most bullies look for easy targets. If you are alone, you are much less likely to have someone stand up for you. WHAT CAN MY CHILD DO? If he or she is being bullied: – Make a joke: This approach throws the bully off guard and lets them know that they are not going to get the reaction they are looking for…. However, don’t make the joke at the bully’s expense—that would just make YOU the bully. – Be assertive: Look the bully in the eye, and stand up for yourself in a positive way. – Walk away: Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Get help from a teacher or other adult. WHAT CAN MY CHILD DO? If he or she sees someone bullying others: – Choose to get involved. – Tell the bully to stop. – Tell them that bullying is not okay in our school. – Distract the bully. – Get help. – Support the victim. – Ask the victim to join your group. – Offer a positive or encouraging comment. – Do not Laugh, participate, or stand around watching it happen. – Report it. WHAT CAN MY CHILD DO? If he or she is bullying others: – Ask yourself when, why and how you bully others. – Learn to treat everyone with respect. – Pay more attention to other’s feelings. – Think about the potential consequences of your actions. – Apologize to your former victim(s). – Talk to someone about the problem. – Take positive steps to help yourself. Some adults who were bullies as children often end up with all sorts of problems - failed relationships, few friends, frequent job changes, even prison records. – Save yourself future grief by stopping bullying now. What procedures are in place to respond to bullying? Every incident of potential bullying is investigated by the teacher or an administrator within 10 days. If the incident is determined to meet the criteria of bullying, the staff person will have the student fill out an incident report form to document the incident. An intervention will then be implemented. The type of intervention will depend on the results of the investigation. Bullying Documentation to be filled out by the student: Name Grade Date of Incident Who was involved in the incident When and where did it happen? What happened? (Be specific) To whom did you report the incident? Bullying Documentation to be filled out by a teacher/counselor/administrator Findings Summary Results of Findings by Campus Personnel This incident meets the definition of bullying as defined by FFI (LOCAL) Yes ___ No ___ (If yes, please mark below the appropriate type of bullying displayed.) FFI (LOCAL) Definition of Bullying: Bullying occurs when a student or group of students engages in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that: _____ Physically harmed a student/s _____ Damaged a student/s’ property _____ Placed a student/s in reasonable fear of harm to themselves or their property _____ Sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student/s. Action taken for incident/s Potential Bullying Interventions Interventions will be applied based on the severity and circumstances of the incident. Potential interventions include: Student conference with a teacher, counselor, social worker, administrator, etc. Supportive follow up counseling as needed Notification of parent of bullying behavior Notification of teachers to actively monitor students involved Referral to AP for disciplinary action Other interventions to be considered on a case by case basis. What is happening at Cross Timbers? We have implemented clear policies and procedures to address bullying district-wide. We trained all staff on bullying. We trained all students on bullying issues and have follow up activities planned throughout the year. We have increased supervision in the hallways, making it mandatory that all teachers supervise the hallway every passing period. We created an anonymous reporting form that students could access through our website. We investigate every incident of potential bullying, through the counseling office, and offer supportive services for both the bully and the target. We created a centralized log of all bullying incidents and the interventions.
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