Dealing with Bullying

 

Occasionally, an article appears in the press that catches our attention.  Here are some that might be of interest to you:

 

The Playground Gets Even Tougher, NYT, 10/8/10

Fighting Bullying with Babies, NYT, 11/8/10

As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch Up, NYT, 12/4/10

 

Cyberbullying Video Clip

PowerPoint presentation -presented by WHS Principal Anthony Parker on 10/21/10 in a PTO forum on the administration's practices to minimize bullying at Weston High School.

Bullying Prevention Law of 2010-this PowerPoint is used for anti-bullying training for all staff and faculty.

 

Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) brochures:

-Why Is It Confidential

-When your child is being bullied-A Guide for Parents

-Facebook Security Settings

 

The Attorney General's brochure about Bullying can be downloaded or read below.

 _________________________________________

 

There is much discussion about bullying in the news these days, and for good reason. The news from other school districts in Massachusetts of students committing suicide because of bullying by their peers is difficult to fathom. While these may be isolated and extreme cases, acts of bullying are all too commonplace in the lives of many of our students. Bullying was one of the main topics Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester wanted to discuss with students when he visited Weston High School March 19, 2010.

 

The High School takes the following steps to prevent and respond to acts of bullying.

1. Implementing Core Values in daily practices: Engagement, Integrity, Resilience, and Responsibility. The assistant principal and I meet with each class at the beginning of the year and engage the students in dialogue about real life examples about how to treat each other. Class officers as well as members of Student Council are also trained in anti-bullying behavior at a leadership conference led by the director of student activities.

2. Caught Doing Good certificates. Certificates are given put to students who have been recommended to me by their peers and teachers for reaching out and helping others. We celebrate these kind acts publicly.

3. Peer Mediation. Students helping students resolve their differences and to live peaceably with each other. This is a program run by the Guidance Department.

4. Youth Counselors. The Guidance Department, the assistant principal, and I, recommend students to seek counseling with the two high school youth counselors beyond what is offered by their regular guidance counselor.

5. Affinity Groups for METCO students. Monthly meetings led by the METCO Director may include dealing with issues of bullying and how to resolve them without further escalation. Students take the lead in handling these issues as they arise.

6. Disciplinary procedures. The high school seeks to respond to issues of bullying promptly by not only counseling students, but also imposing consequences for this type of behavior. The penalties range from Saturday School to out of school suspension (along with parental contact and support). Furthermore, when secondhand accounts of bullying become known to administration, the assistant principal has a conversation with all parties alleged to be involved, detailing the consequences of bullying as well as the consequences for retaliation against an alleged victim. Further details of our school policy can be found in our Student/Parent Handbook.

7. Ninth Grade Forum. This is a meeting conducted in the fall detailing how incoming students can protect themselves from bullying and who they can go to for support to stop instances of bullying should they occur.

8. Social Norms Forum. A coalition of parents, teachers, and students working together to live out good behavioral practices at school and at home.

 

Principal Anthony Parker

March 29, 2010

 

Click here to download the brochure with this information
Bullying
A Guide for Parents
The Massachusetts
Attorney General’s Office
 
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2200
www.mass.gov/ago/bullying
 
What is Bullying?
Bullying is defined as repeated and deliberate acts which result in physical and/or emotional harm and in which the target has difficulty stopping the behavior directed towards him/her.
 
Verbal: teasing, calling names, or through written or oral communication
Social: spreading rumors, excluding others, breaking up friendships
Physical: inflicting intentional physical harm to another student; hitting, punching, shoving, etc.
Cyber: using technology to harm others, i.e. the Internet, texting, email, and/or creating a blog/website
 
Six out of 10 American teenagers report that they witness bullying in school once a day.
(National Education Association. 2013).
 
 
Know the Law
School districts in Massachusetts are required to have a bullying prevention policy and plan in place including:
• Procedures for students, staff, parents, guardians and others to report bullying or retaliation.
• Procedures for promptly responding to and investigating reports of bullying or retaliation.
• Procedures (consistent with state and federal law) for promptly notifying the parents or guardians of a target and an aggressor, including actions taken to prevent any further acts of bullying or retaliation.
It is also important to understand that school administration is not allowed to discuss any disciplinary action taken against another student.
 
 
How to Help Your Child
• Be supportive. Tell your child that you believe him/her and that he/she did not deserve to be bullied and you are glad that he/she told you.
• Gather information. Read the school bullying prevention plan (often posted on school website or in the student handbook) to understand the procedures and steps to take.
• Don’t confront. Confronting the child or parents/guardians of the child(ren) who is bullying is not advisable and will often makes things worse.
• Talk to your school. Ask for help! Let your child know that you are going to talk to someone you trust (such as a teacher, counselor or administrator) so the adults can create a plan to stop the bullying.
 
 
Cyberbullying
Technology has made connecting and sharing information easier than ever. Unfortunately, social networking sites, smartphones, and the Internet are also used to send cruel messages that can be degrading or threatening.
 
“95% of all young people ages 12-17 are now online” -iKeepSafe
 
 
Cyberbullying Tips
Look for warning signs. If your child’s Internet use becomes obsessive or if they become withdrawn from regular activities, they may be a victim of cyberbullying.
 
Tell your child not to respond. It is better to ignore distressing e-mails, messages, and comments.
 
Tell your child to “block” bullies. If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM, and/or chat rooms, delete or suspend your child’s current account and create a new one or block the bullies.
 
Save the evidence. Preserve/print/take screenshots or photos of comments and images sent via e-mail, websites or text messages. Note the date and time when the cyberbullying occurred.
 
Remove hurtful websites. Review your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider’s policy and follow the procedure to have any webpage created to hurt your child removed.
 
Get your child’s school involved. Learn the school’s policy on cyberbullying and ask for guidance on how to handle repeated incidents.
 
Become familiar with social media sites. Don’t be afraid to monitor your child’s use
 
 
If Your Child is Being Bullied
• Be prepared to work with your school. Understand your school’s policy and work with them.
• Don’t call the other parent. Trying to resolve the situation yourself almost never works.
• Don’t encourage your child to fight back. This may put your child in further danger.
• Don’t blame your child for the bullying. The bullying isn't his/her fault. Don’t add to your child’s feeling of helplessness. Be a Support.
 
If Your Child Sees Bullying
• If safe, stand up. He/she can say, “Stop, don’t bother him/her,” or can remove the target of the bullying by saying, “C’mon let’s get out of here.”
• Report the bullying - to you or to an adult at school or anonymously.
• Be a friend. Include the child being bullied in social activities; reach out in friendship.
 
If Your Child is Bullying
• Talk with your child. Teach him/her that bullying is wrong.
• Set limits on your child’s behavior. Make your expectations clear.
• Provide clear consequences. For any acts of aggression/bullying you see or become aware of. Enforce those consequences.
• Seek help. If the bullying doesn't stop, talk to your child’s school counselor/administrator for additional help.
 
 
For More Information
Attorney General’s Office
Bullying and Cyberbullying
www.mass.gov/ago/bullying
 
Massachusetts Department of Secondary & Elementary Education:
Bullying Prevention and Intervention Resources
www.doe.mass.edu/bullying/
 
Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center
At Bridgewater State University
http://marccenter.webs.com/
 
Massachusetts Bullying &
Cyberbullying Prevention
www.stopbullyingma.org/
 
iKeepSafe
www.ikeepsafe.org/
 
Stopbullying.gov
www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/
 
National Bullying Prevention Center
www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/
 
Cyberbullying Research Center
www.cyberbullying.us
 
Click here to download the brochure with this information

 

 

 
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