Definition of Bullying
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
Bullying is different from teasing and conflict. Signs that point to teasing becoming bullying include, (a) the teasing becomes hostile instead of affectionate, (b) the student teasing means to hurt the student being teased, and (c) the student being teased gets hurt by the teasing. A central hallmark that differentiates conflict from bullying is that conflict occurs between two students and neither is exerting power or control over the other. Moreover, when conflict occurs between students, both are able to express their perspectives and opinions.
District 6 has strong expectations for reporting all bullying incidents.
- Teachers witnessing or who become aware of a bullying situation should address it right away, ensuring the child’s safety
- Referrals to the school counselor
- Referrals to the office
Training and Prevention Education
Our schools take a proactive approach to dealing with bullying by providing the following training and prevention education for our students and staff:
- Social Emotional Learning teaches explicit lessons as a regular part of the curriculum at our schools. Bully Prevention Units are taught in all elementary grade levels.
- In addition to the general all-staff training, teachers, counselors, and administrators are trained on how to coach and create safety and behavior plans and continue to follow up with students involved in bullying.
- Staff members are trained and given resources to help create a positive classroom climate to minimize the likelihood that bullying will occur.
What is cyberbullying?
Instead of happening face-to-face, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social media, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
We all have a role — how to prevent and/or respond to bullying
All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying — may experience negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use and suicide.
Parents, school staff and community members all play an important role in supporting our students when providing for their physical, social and emotional needs.
Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying.
- Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
- Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
Help Kids Understand Bullying
Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Kids need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.
- Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.
- Talk about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away
- Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.
- Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.
Respond to Bullying: Stop Bullying on the Spot
When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep kids safe.
- Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
- Separate the kids involved.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
- Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
- Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Do not ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
- Do not immediately try to sort out the facts.
- Do not force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
- Do not question the children involved in front of other kids.
- Do not talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
- Do not make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
- stopbullying.gov (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services): This site provides information from various government agencies on how children, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and community members can prevent or stop bullying.
- cyberbullying.org (Cyberbullying Research Center): The Cyberbullying Research Center offers resources for parents, such as Cyberbullying warning signs to watch for; tips for how to prevent cyberbullying; what to do when your child is cyberbullied; and what to do when your child cyberbullies others.
- Safe2Tell: provides a safe and easy way to anonymously report any threatening behaviors or activities endangering themselves or someone they know.
District Specific Programs/Curriculum
District 6 is using many different programs to address bullying, including:
- No Place for Hate
- Link Crew (High School)
- WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) (Middle School)
- Rude Vs. Mean Vs. Bullying
For more information about what your school is doing, please contact your school's administration.