Special Education PTA
Anti-Bullying SupportWhat is Bullying:Behind every story about bullying there is a story of pain and fear. Bullying can affect students emotionally and often also physically. We have heard many stories of how cruel students can be.Dr. Dan Olweus of Norway, a pioneer in the field of bullying prevention, has come up with a definition of bullying: Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself. Bullying can take many forms including:
- Verbal bullying such as calling names and verbal harassment
- Leaving another person out of a group
- Physical bullying such as pushing, hitting, or kicking
- Telling lies and spreading false rumors
- Taking away money or other things or damaging personal property
- Threatening or forcing another person to do things they don’t want to do
- Racial bullying
- Sexual bullying
- Cyber-bullying (via cell phone or the Internet)
What is the difference between bullying and playful teasing?You may wonder if a situation your child is experiencing is bullying or if it is just playful teasing. How can you tell? Teasing usually involves two or more friends who act together in a way that seems fun to all the people involved. Often times the teasing goes both ways. Teasing does not involve physically hurting others. Bullying, on the other hand, usually involves two or more children who aren’t friends. There is often an imbalance of power. This could be because one child is physically larger or more popular, or because several children are ganging up on a child. Bullying also usually happens more than once. (But don’t wait until there have been multiple episodes to stop bullying.) If your child feels that another child’s actions are not fun or playful, it is most likely bullying. Teasing can turn into bullying if it is taken too far.How much bullying is there in today’s schools?In a U.S. study of more than 15,000 students in grades 6–10, 17 percent reported having been bullied “sometimes” or more often during the school term, and 8 percent had been bullied at least once a week. Nineteen percent of the students surveyed had bullied others “sometimes” or more often during the term, and 9 percent had bullied other students at least once a week (Nansel, 2001). Bullying by physical means is more common among boys. Girls often use more subtle forms of bullying, such as leaving people out of groups, spreading rumors, and harming friendships. Nonetheless, nonphysical bullying—by words, in particular—is usually the most common form of bullying among both boys and girls.Bullying Prevention Toolkit for ParentsAs a resource for parents, the Bullying PreventionToolkit for Parents provides information on how to address bullying if your child is being bullied, is bullying others, or has witnessed bullying. It is also designed to give you the resources you will need to advocate for a bullying prevention program in your child's school. All of these resources can be downloaded and/or reproduced for individual use. Read the "Read Me First" document first using Adobe Reader. If you don't have Adobe Reader on your computer, you can download it from http://www.adobe.com/. Be sure to share this information with other parents as well.
Resources to help your child
· How to Talk with Educators at Your Child's School about Bullying: Tips for Parents of Bullied StudentsResources to help you advocate for a bullying prevention program in your child's schoolEvery child deserves to be free of bullying at school and in the community. If your child is being bullied, you have a legal right to address the issue. Over the last few years, at least thirty states have adopted laws against bullying.
Additional Bullying Prevention Resources Available through Hazelden
Protecting Your Special Education Student from Bullies--Stopping Bully Behavior
- Stop Bullying Now Campaign
This federal website has resources on what bullying is and how families can address the issue.
- PACER Center
Sponsors of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, the PACER Center has many resources to help parents/guardians address bullying issues with their children's school, particularly focusing on parents of students with special needs, but general information as well.