Bullying and Harassment
Being Proactive About Bullying
Here at Emmitsburg Elementary School, we strive to cultivate positive relationships and nurture an environment where every child can learn. Our first responsibility as educators is to teach children both academically and socially. I go into every classroom during the year to teach lessons about bullying and harassment. Students learn about targets, bullies, allies and bystanders. In this proactive approach, I teach kids that bullying:
- is intentional verbal, written, or physical behavior
- has unequal power between the bully and the target
- makes the student being bullied feel bad
- can take the form of physical, verbal, emotional exclusion, or cyberbullying
When Bullying Does Occur
Even in the most positive of environments,children can, and do, make poor choices from time to time. If a child is being bullied, we want to empower that student by empowering him/her to solve the problem. A basic model for conflict resolution I teach is to be the BEST at solving problems:
Be respectful – always show respect for others (even when they don’t)
End it! – ignore the situation and move away
Speak up! – tell the person how you feel (remember to be respectful)
Tell an adult – if you’ve tried to solve it yourself and couldn’t, get help (last step)
When Bullying is Reported
Sometimes, even our best attempts are not enough and bullying/harassment may continue. If bullying is reported, I conduct an intervention. The goal is to work with the students involved to raise awareness and develop a plan. After a few weeks, we revisit the plan to assess the effectiveness of the plan.
Filling out and Processing Bullying Reporting Forms
Any student, parent, staff member, and volunteer who witnesses bullying can fill out a Bullying Reporting Form and submit it to the office. Whenever such a form is turned in, the administration will investigate the bullying and turn the forms into the State. Any accusation of bullying and/or harassment is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. The goal is to prevent any harm to the children involved and to bring a swift end to the bullying/harassment. The forms can be found online at the FCPS site in Regulation 400-48: Bullying, Harassment, Intimidation Complaint Process for Students.
The Bottom Line about Bullying
Bullying is not acceptable behavior at Emmitsburg Elementary School . We want our students to have a safe and positive experience at school.
Empowering them: teach kids that bullying is not okay. We should always be respectful of others. When bullying happens, ignore/move away when possible or positively confront the student who is bullying and tell them to stop.
Encouraging them to tell adults: often, students will tell parents that bullying is happening, but not tell other adults at school or where it is happening. I always tell the children to tell parents everything, but tell the adults at school, too. We can't help if we don't know it is going on.