Bullying behavior may be the most frequent form of school violence. It requires that we examine why and how a child becomes a target or perpetrator of bullying-behavior. Bullying behavior also requires us to examine the role bystanders play in perpetuating the cycle, and importantly teach them strategies to intervene safely. Estimates are that about 160,000 students in the USA refuse to go to school because they dread the physical, verbal, or cyber aggression of their peers. These students also experience the disconnection from community that comes from being the target of rumors and cyber-bullying. Our desire is to educate, prevent, intervene, and support each student (whether a target of bullying behavior, or a perpetrator of the behavior) with the desired end result of eradicating interpersonal violence and increasing school-community relations.
Why Bullying Prevention is Important?
As of July 1, 2012 Assembly Bill 9—known as Seth’s Law requires public schools in California to update their anti-bullying policies and programs. The district must adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that specifically spells out prohibited bases for bullying, including sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression. Adopt a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying. Publicize the anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including posting the policy in all schools and offices. Post on the district website materials to support victims of bullying.
The OMI Bullying-Behavior Prevention Policy
Discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment, intimidation, and bullying are all disruptive behaviors, which interfere with students’ ability to learn and negatively affect student engagement, diminish school safety, and contribute to a hostile school environment. As such, OMI prohibits any acts of discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment, intimidation, and bullying altogether. This policy is inclusive of instances that occur on any area of the school campus, at school-sponsored events and activities, regardless of location, through school-owned technology, and through other electronic means.
- Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
- Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm
- Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same person over and over by the same person or group
Types of Bullying:
Bullying can take many forms. Examples include:
- Verbal: name calling; teasing
- Social: spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships
- Physical: hitting, punching, shoving
- Cyber bullying: using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others
What to Do When Someone is Being Bullied:
- Take a stand and do not join in. Make it clear that you do not support what is going on
- Do not watch someone being bullied. If you feel safe, tell the person to stop. If you do not feel safe saying something, walk away and get others to do the same. If you walk away do not join in, you have taken their audience and power away.
- Support the person being bullied. Tell them that you are there to help. Offer to either go with them to report the bullying or report it for them.
- Talk to an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a parent, teacher or another adult that you trust to discuss the problem, especially if you feel like the person may be at risk of serious harm to themselves or others.
What to Do When You Are Being Bullied
The first priority is always your safety. Here are some strategies for you to consider:
- Tell the bully to stop
- Walk away. Do not let them get to you. If you walk away ignore them, they will not get that satisfaction
- Protect Yourself. Sometimes you cannot walk away. If you are being physically hurt, protect yourself so that you can get away.
- Tell an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. In some cases, adults need to get involved in the bullying to stop.
- Find a safe place. Go somewhere that you feel safe and secure like the library, a favorite teacher’s classroom, or the office.
- Stick together. Stay with a group or individuals that you trust.
- Find opportunities to make new friends. Explore your interests and join school or community activities such as sports, drama, or art. Volunteer or participate in community service.
Your feelings are Important
- Do not blame yourself. It is easy to question whether you are the problem. But no matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.
- Be proud of who you are. No matter what they say, there are wonderful things about you. Kee those in mind instead of the disrespectful messages you get from the people who are bullying you.
- Do not be afraid to get help. Sometimes it helps to just talk to someone who is not personally involved. Teachers, counselors, and others are there to help. Seeing a counselor or other professional does not mean there is something wrong with you.
Concerned about Bullying-Behavior?
Please contact either the Principals or the Commandant of Cadets immediately to discuss concerns about bullying behavior.