Middle: Bullying
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de-constucting bullying
February 2022

The tween years can be particularly difficult for youth who experience bullying. They can feel isolated, powerless and afraid of the repercussions if they speak out or seek help. Bullying affects adolescents to a concerning extent and can happen to anyone. 

- 1 in 3 Canadian teens say they’ve been bullied recently
- 47% of Canadian parents say their child has been bullied
- Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) are discriminated against three times more than heterosexual youth

Parents play a vital role in recognizing signs of bullying, supporting courage, and helping to create a safer environment for their child.
3 indicators of bullying behaviour
Bullying is defined as a persistent pattern of unwelcome or aggressive behaviour that hurts others physically and/or emotionally. For a situation to be considered a bullying incident, three indicators are usually present:
1. Power – children who bully acquire their power through physical size and strength, by status within the peer group, and by recruiting support of the group

2. Intent to harm – children who bully generally do so with the intent to either physically or emotionally harm the other child
3. Frequency – bullying is not a random act. It is this factor that brings about the anticipatory terror in the mind of the child being bullied that can be so detrimental and have the most debilitating long-term effects

A person who shows bullying behaviour says or does something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse – even when it’s obvious that they’ve hurt a person or when they’re asked to stop.
types of bullying behaviour
Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching, pushing and damaging property
Verbal bullying
includes name-calling, insulting others, teasing, intimidating others, making homophobic or racist comments and verbal abuse

Social and emotional bullying entails doing things to harm someone else’s reputation or make them feel embarrassed or humiliated
This can include lying, spreading rumours, making mean facial gestures, playing mean jokes or mimicking others in a mean way. Excluding someone is one of the most harmful as it leaves victims feeling rejected or depressed – with no way out. It’s also difficult to recognize this type of bullying because it can be done behind someone’s back.
Cyber bulling includes teasing or humiliating a person online using cruel websites (e.g. posting photos of others on rating websites), video games, chat rooms, instant message or texting.

Cyberbullying is constantly evolving and changing with new technology and social media sites. It can happen at any time of day or night and can reach a person even in the privacy of their own home.
 bullying vs mean behaviour
It’s important to know the difference between bullying and single acts of aggression or conflict. Not all mean or rude behaviour or conflict is bullying. Understanding the difference helps when it comes to knowing how to intervene.
Mean behaviour aims to hurt someone. Kids are mean to each other when they criticize things about another person (e.g. clothing, intelligence, coolness, etc.). Usually, mean things are said impulsively and then often regretted later.

Some degree of socially imperfect behaviour is normal – not everything needs an adult response. Use these moments as an opportunity to teach how to communicate or how to express anger or anxiety acceptably.
Being mean can sound like:

"Are you seriously wearing that sweater again? Didn’t you just wear it, like, last week?"
"Get a life."
"You’re so fat/ugly/stupid."
"I hate you!"
Mean behaviour causes damage. It’s behaviour that should not happen – it should be discouraged and stopped. However if the child on the receiving end is only upset for a little while and then moves on, it’s probably not bullying. But if that child becomes withdrawn, doesn’t want to go to school, or is worried about why the other child does not like them, parents should investigate.
bullying vs conflict
Conflict is a disagreement or difference between peers who have equal power and it is an inevitable part of a group dynamic. Following is an example of conflict: 
Two girls on the basketball team are arguing about losing a game. One of them blames the other for letting the opposing team knock the ball out of her hands before she could throw it. The other girl is saying it’s her teammate's fault because she didn’t pass the ball during the last few seconds of the game. They continue to fight until their coach gets involved and tells the girls to stop arguing.
In this scenario, both girls have equal power and are disagreeing over the outcome of a game. Neither girl has been threatened or harmed, and neither is showing signs of humiliation or distress.

It would be considered bullying if one of the girls continued an intentional campaign of blame against the other to hurt her feelings or alienate her from her friends. This could include several actions over the course of a few days or weeks – doing things like calling her names, taunting her outside of the gymnasium, or even getting others to gang up on her.

signs that your child is being bullied
Youth who are being bullied will often display a change in behaviour or emotions, such as;
Not wanting to go to school or participate in extra-curricular activities
Anxious, fearful or over-reactive
Having low self-esteem and making negative comments about themselves or a former friend
Regular complaints of stomachaches, headaches, and other physical symptoms without any particular cause
Injuries, bruising, damaged clothing or broken items
Unhappy and irritable
Trouble sleeping, nightmares, bedwetting
Frequent crying
Threatens to hurt themselves or others
Significant changes in social life (i.e. no one is calling or inviting them out)
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signs your child is engaging in bully behaviour
Youth who exhibit bullying behaviour may show signs that they are using power aggressively, such as:

Little concern for the feelings of others
Aggressive with siblings, parents, teachers, friends and animals
Bossy and manipulative to get their own way
Have unexplained objects or extra money
Secretive about possessions, activities or where they've been
Easily frustrated and quickly angered
Believe aggression is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts
Abuse others physically or verbally
Get into fights and blame others for starting them
Have a need to dominate others
Have two or three friends who are also aggressive
Hang out with increasingly younger children
Quick to interpret accidents or neutral events as deliberate hostile acts
impact of bullying
Bullying is serious and the effects can be traumatic and long-lasting. Those who have been on the receiving end of bullying behaviour can show a range of emotional, behavioural, physical and relationship problems. Individuals who get bullied may feel:
Different from their peers
Weak or unable to defend themselves
Depressed or anxious
The urge to withdraw from friends or family
It can also cause them to have:
Low self-esteem
Social anxiety
Health problems
Poor school attendance
Suicidal thoughts
"To This Day" is a spoken word poem written by Shane Koyczan. In the poem Shane talks about bullying he and others received during their lives and its deep, long-term impact.
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taking action and solutions
Parents, students and school staff all need to work together to create a school environment where everyone feels safe, accepted and respected – regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, or sexual orientation.

Here are some ways parents can help fight bullying behavior and some tips to help you start the conversation.
If your child is being bullied
Choose an appropriate time to talk with your child – use open-ended questions, for example:
"What did you like the most about your day?"
"What was the most frustrating part of your day?"

Listen – let your child do the talking, encourage them to describe the bullying in as much detail as they can and document it. Make sure your child knows that its okay for them to feel the way they do.

Paraphrase what you heard – this will help them feel understood and open to having help

Give them tips and tricks on how to handle bullying behaviour or how to resolve conflict in a non-violent way and show them how to get help.

Act out a scenario and have your child confidently handle the situation

Create opportunities to make new friends – for example, enroll your child in different programs or activities

Encourage your child to stay away from anyone who shows bullying behaviour. Make sure your child knows that it’s okay to stand up for themselves, but it’s not okay to be violent.
anonymous reporting tool for students
If you see or hear something, say something!

The BC ERASE REPORT IT tool lets you send a secure, anonymous and confidential message to your school or school district’s safe school coordinator, who will follow up on it right away. You do not have to provide your name unless you want to.

Messages are only monitored during your school's operational hours. If you have an emergency please call 911 immediately.

February School Posters
We encourage students and staff to take a stand against bullying and be an advocate for kindness and inclusivity by wearing a Pink Shirt on February 23rd!

We recognize that this is a one day awareness campaign and we strive to nurture each student’s well-being in a safe, responsive, and inclusive learning community throughout the school year. 
The 2022 theme for our district is Pink Shirt Day Throwback... because kindness is always in style!

Students and staff are encouraged to dig out Pink shirts from days gone by (2007-2021). The school that has the most variety of shirts will receive a compliment of books to support their diversity collection. 
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