Bullying Information

Core Beliefs & General Info on Bullying

mv As stated in our mission statement, the administration, faculty and staff at Mt. Vernon Junior High School are committed to providing a safe and caring environment in which every student can acquire knowledge, social skills, and emotional development to attain his/her maximum potential. Unfortunately, every school has to deal with issues related to bullying. We have implemented various programs to educate students about bullying and to address the serious issues associated with bullying. Although we encourage students to immediately report instances of bullying to their teachers, counselors or an administrator, students are sometimes reluctant to make a report for various reasons. In an effort to help students more easily report bullying without fear of retaliation or repercussions, an anonymous reporting tool is being provided.  

     Targets (victims of bullying) and bystanders (students that have witnessed bullying, but who are unsure of how to respond to help the victim) can use this reporting tool to report the situation.

      Adolescents encounter many situations as they learn to get along with their peers and develop their interpersonal relationship skills. Some of these situations are not positive, but not all of these situations are bullying scenarios, so we need to define what bullying is and is not:

     Definition of Bullying

     A person is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons.  (Olweus, 1993)

     Characteristics of Bullying:

       1) The behavior is aggressive or malicious.
     
       2) The behavior is repeated and goes on over time.

       3) It occurs in an interpersonal relationship which is characterized by a certain imbalance
            of power
. (The bully has more physical or social power than the victim.)

     Types of Bullying:

       1) Physical - Hitting, kicking or any other physical aggression.

       2) Verbal - Teasing, name-calling, put-downs or other behavior that would deliberately 
            hurt others' feelings or make them feel bad.

       3) Social, Emotional or Exclusion - Starting rumors, telling others not to be friends with 
            someone or other actions that would cause someone to be without friends.

       4) Cyber-bullying - Using electronic devices such as, but not limited to, computers and cell 
            phones to bully others (as defined above) through methods such as posting negative
            comments, rumors, statements, pictures, websites, text messages, instant messages 
            and/or e-mails.

     Several reasons that students do not report bullying:

       1) Victims are often told: "Ignore the situation or act like it does not bother you and the
            bully will stop." In reality, this does not work. Adults must be informed so that they can 
            intervene in a professional manner to help resolve the issues. Some victims are
            ashamed of being bullied. They might also think, incorrectly, that no one can or will help 
            them. Victims may also be afraid of retaliation if they make a report.

       2) Bystanders are often afraid to report bullying because they do not want to become the
            next target of bullying.

       3) Most adolescents have been conditioned to consider reporting as "snitching." We have 
            repeatedly tried to educate students that they always have the right to report problems
            if their goal is to get themsevles or a peer "OUT OF" a harmful situation. We do tell 
            them that they may be "snitching" if their only goal is revenge or to get another student 
            "IN"
 trouble. When children are younger, parents and teachers work hard to stop 
            "tattling"; however, junior high school students need to understand when their behavior is
            "tattling" or "snitching" and when they have the right to make a report. Most adolescents 
            understand the difference between having a goal of helping themselves or a friend "OUT
            OF"
a bad situation vs. getting someone "IN" trouble as a form of revenge or attention 
            seeking.

     Other Situations:

             Bullying describes repeated negative interactions over time with an imbalance of
       power. When students interact daily, many other situations occur that need to be reported
       to school personnel, but these situations may not be a form of bullying. Individuals may have
       disagreements that become intense, but these situations may not fit the definition of
       bullying. We want to help all of our students resolve conflict; however, if the situation does
       not fit the definitions listed above, please encourage your child to speak with their
       teacher, a counselor, or an administrator. The situation may not be a form of bullying, but
       we want to resolve conflicts when they occur.

    
Thank you for helping us ensure a safe and caring environment for all students.
 

 

The Causes and Effects of Bullying

     The Bully

  1. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.
     
  2. Both boys and girls bully. Boys tend to bully all students, but girls tend to bully only other females.
     
  3. Boys use physical and verbal aggresion; however, girls are more likely to use verbal aggression and social isolation.
     
  4. Some bullies are bright and some are not.
     
  5. Some bullies are attractive and some are not.
     
  6. Some bullies are popular and some are disliked by almost everybody.
     
  7. Bullies tend to be negative and to have a poor self-concept. This trait results in a tendancy to become aggressive at the first hint of a problem with others. These students always think that others are trying to "put down" or take advantage of him/her.
     
  8. Bullies talk back. They tend to annouce what they plan to do.
     
  9. Bullies use physical aggression but, generally, only outside of the classroom. In the classroom, the bully will use verbal threats about what he/she will do after the class period is over.
     
  10. Bullies degrade and humiliate others in public view.
     
  11. Bullies that are articulate may be verbally aggressive.
     
  12. Bullies tend to be loners; however, if they have friends, then they tend to be leaders of a group or gang.
     
  13. Bullies respond to most interaction negatively and physically.
     
  14. Bullies often have parents that promote fighting.
Bullies Have:
  1. A sense of entitlement - the right to control, dominate, subjugate and abuse another human being.
  2. An intolerance toward difference.
  3. A liberty to exclude - to bar, isolate and segregate a person deemed not worthy of respect or care.

Negative Impact on the Learning Environment:

The learning enviornment is impaired by bullying because students can not concentrate on the instruction being provided. Often, a climate of fear exists. Students see problems being dealt with by violence. Some students become emotional and afraid to go into the hall when the bell rings or even to come to school. 

Several Warning Signs - Students May:

  • Show an abrupt lack of interest in school or refuses to go to school. Sometimes, students will fake illnesses to avoid school.
  • Take an unusual route to school.
  • Allow their grades to drop suddenly, possibly due to an inability to concentrate in classes.
  • Withdraw from family and school activities.
  • Be hungry after school.
  • Steal money from home.
  • Make a beeline to the bathroom when arriving home.
  • Be sad, sullen, angry or scared after receiving a phone call, text, or e-mail.
  • Does something out of character.
  • Have torn or missing clothing.
  • Use derogatory or demeaning language when talking about peers.
  • Stop talking about peers and everyday activites.
  • Have physical injuries not consistent with his/her explanation.
  • Have stomachaches, headaches, panic attacks, and be unable to sleep, sleeps too much or is exhausted.
  • Play alone or prefers to hang out with adults.
Bystanders:

Research shows that over 60% of bystanders would like to stand up to bullies and help protect victims. We try to foster a climate that encourages students to report bullying that they witness. We also try to ensure that adults are always visible in the hallways to help provide adaquate supervision to reduce the incidents of bullying.

We also encourage students to stand up to bullies and show that MVJHS students do not condone or tolerate bullying behavior.

Through our Advisor/Advisee Program in Homebase, we explain and then have student sign a safe-schools pledge. By signing this pledge, students agree to report unsafe situations.

Bobcat Pride

P = Pride   R = Respect   I = Integrity   D = Dependability   E = Effort

     Several methods are used to help provide a safe and caring climate in the building and to teach and encourage appropriate behaviors. We have implemented a program that is called Bobcat P.R.I.D.E. This program is a school-wide set of expectations that are taught through our Homebase activities and television broadcasts. Students are taught the expectations and the expectations are posted in each classroom and throughout the building. If a teacher observes a student exhibiting one of these expectations, they can then nominate that student for recognition and entrance into a drawing for various prizes.

     We have implemented the P.R.I.D.E. program to teach, encourage, and recognize positive behaviors. This helps provide a balanced approach to handing all forms of discipline. We want to provide positive reinforcement for good behavior to go along with consequences for negative behavior. 

     We want to stop bullying and to help the victims of bullying, but we also need to educate and help students that demonstrate bullying behaviors. We need to teach them to stop these behaviors. This is important for both the victims of bullying and the bullies themseves, because students that bully are in danger of being convicted of criminal offenses as adults at a significantly higher rate than their peers. Bullies also tend to have negative social relationships as adults. We want all of our students to have productive lives once they leave our schools. Recent national surveys indicate that approxiamtely 50% of all students engage in some form of bullying at one time or another. We need to reach and teach all students that these behaviors are not acceptable and harm others. However, research also shows that a balanced approach that involves education, increased supervision and consequences works better than zero-tolerance policies. The research indicates that students are less likely to report problems if they believe that someone will be suspended because of their report. We want to encourage students to report bullying behavior.



Bully Reporting Form

Bully Reporting Form

Please provide as much detail as possible to help us deal with the problem effectively.
Please enter the name of the person being bullied.
Please select a date.
Please enter the name of the bully.
Invalid Input





Please choose one or more of the following.



Please select the type of bullying.
Please describe the event.
Please specify yes or no.
Invalid Input
The administrators will investigate the report and take appropriate actions to deal with the situation. Since much of what we do needs to remain confidential, you may not know of the steps we take to stop the bullying. If the bullying does not stop, we need to take additional steps. Please let us know if the bullying continues.

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