Newark Unified School District Governing Board is committed to providing equal opportunity for all individuals in education. District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or genetic information; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. (See BP 0410 Nondiscrimination In District Programs And Activities for complete list of nondiscrimination policies and regulations.)
Bullying affects many of us, kids and adults alike, and can leave anyone feeling hurt, angry, frightened, and even depressed or overwhelmed. Those who bully often experience their own psychological problems as well. Technology has made the problem of bullying even more widespread. Cyber-bullying can occur via email, texts, cell phones, and social media websites 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with potentially thousands of people involved.
Teachers and parents of both the bullied and the bullies can play a crucial role in preventing, identifying, and stopping bullying. Creating safe, stress-free environments at home and at school can help prevent the tension and anxiety that can lead to bullying.
Tip #1: Understand the truth about bullying and cyber-bullying
Despite how widespread the problem has become, many parents and teachers still have some misconceptions about bullying and cyberbullying.
|Myths about Bullying and Cyber-bullying|
|It’s only bullying if the child is physically hurt.Words can’t hurt.||Children have killed each other and committed suicide after being involved in verbal, relationship, or cyber-bullying. Words do hurt and they can have a devastating effect on the emotional wellbeing of a child or teen.|
|My child would never be a bully.||All kids make mistakes; it’s part of growing up. Parents who deny the possibility that their child is capable of being hurtful make it harder for bullies to get the help they need.|
|Bullies are simply bad people and should be expelled from school.||There are a lot of reasons why children bully. Some are bullied themselves, at home or elsewhere, others bully only when they feel stressed or overwhelmed.|
|Kids can be either bullies or victims, not both.||Kids can often change roles, going from victim to bully and back again. For example, a bully in fifth grade may be a victim when he moves to middle school, or a victim in the playground can take revenge and become the bully online.|
Tip #2: Spot the warning signs that a child or teen is being bullied
If a child is being bullied it may not be obvious to a parent or teacher. Most bullying occurs away from adults, when kids are alone in hallways or on the way home from school, for example. Bullies tend to be adept at hiding their behavior from adults and bullying victims will often cover up evidence because of a sense of shame at being victimized. Kids are also reluctant to tell their parents about being cyberbullied out of fear they’ll lose their computer or cell phone privileges.
Tip #3: Take steps to stop bullying and cyber-bullying
- Talk to kids about bullying and cyber-bullying. Just talking about the problem can be a huge stress reliever for someone who’s being bullied. Be supportive and listen to a child’s feelings without judgment, criticism, or blame.
- Monitor technology use in younger children. Set up filters on your child’s computer and keep it in a busy area of your house so you can easily monitor its use. Learn the common acronyms kids use online and in text messages. Document threats and report them to the police.
- Find help for a child who’s afraid. Make sure other teachers, coaches, and counselors know the child is being bullied. No child should have to handle bullying alone.
- Help the child avoid isolation. Kids with friends are better equipped to handle bullying. Find ways to increase their social circle, via youth or religious groups or clubs, for example.