Ask the Principal
What Bullying Is … and Isn’t
The topic of bullying is very important to address in today’s world. The actual word ‘bullying’ is unfortunately used by students and adults in many situations, without an understanding that bullying, conflict, threats and social skill development are not the same thing.
If we’re going to prevent bullying, we have to know what it is, and what it isn’t. Here’s what bullying is according to the Provincial Government in the new Education Act:
“bullying” means repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour by an individual in the school community where the behaviour is intended to cause harm, fear or distress to one or more other individuals in the school
community, including psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation.”
The important words to note are ‘repeated’, ‘hostile’ and ‘intent to harm’. It is also important to note that the exact same occurrence can be bullying in one situation but not bullying in another depending on ‘repeated’, ‘hostile’ and ‘intent to harm’.
What bullying is not? It is not two friends who get along most of the time and get into an argument every so often and say mean words.
It is not budging in line once and bumping into another child. It is not two kids getting into a scuffle in the heat of an intense game with no prior history, or the young child who pokes every other kid in the class because they have not learned appropriate social behavior yet. It is not a one-time threat when made in the heat of the moment when things are not going their way. All of these examples are issues that need to be dealt with, but all of them depend on the context, background and intention to really know if it is bullying.
If there is a concern about bullying, what should you do? Proper protocol is…
If you’re a student:
Be part of the solution. If you’re watching a bullying incident, you’re part of the problem. You’re the audience the bully wants, and you—more than anyone else—have the power to help. Step in and say stop, or tell a teacher right away.
Tell someone you trust if you’re being bullied. And don’t stop telling until you get help. Adults can help, and you will find one that will listen and act. Every teacher is here to help and support you.
Your homeroom teacher is the first choice, and/or the teacher on supervision. If you feel your voice is not heard you can go to the Principal.
If you’re a parent:
Listen to children. If someone tells you bullying is happening at school, listen, find out details and if you are concerned take proper action.
Realize there are two sides to every story.
Even your own child misses/leaves out/forgets details at times.
Be willing to look into the matter and be understanding of all sides.
Contact. Always contact your child’s homeroom teacher if there are concerns. Sometimes the teacher may not be aware, or the issue was dealt with and not shared out to the class. If after visiting with the homeroom teacher you feel the issue is not resolved you can always approach the Principal, I have an open door policy for parents.
Confidentiality. Understand that if there is discipline required, we do not share what is done to one child with other parents.
Be Supportive. Every adult in the school is trying their best to care for every child. Some issues are not resolved over night, but by working together and being consistent, aware and watchful we can find ways to be successful.
Be a positive role model. Set a good example, reinforce positive behaviour and create constructive leadership situations at home. Many times children mimic what they see at home. Most inappropriate behavior is learned. Try monitoring what they watch on TV and play on video games as this is one of the most common places kids learn the words for threats and violence.