Let's Talk Bullying

Social Emotional Learning Team Newsletter | October 2022

According to stopbullying.org, bullying can be defined as, "unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems."

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Statistics and Facts

  • About 20% of students report being bullied
  • Approximately 46% of students ages 12-18 who were bullied during the school year notified an adult at school about the bullying
  • The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include: physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation
  • Reports of cyberbullying are highest among middle school students, followed by high school students, and then primary school students
  • The vast majority of young people who are bullied do not become suicidal, but it is important to note that bullying is a risk factor for suicide
  • Students need not be the targets of bullying to experience negative outcomes. Observing bullying is associated with adverse mental health outcomes
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  • Verbal: Demeaning and belittling another person, including: name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse
  • Physical: Someone exerts pain or damage on another person or their property/belongings
  • Social: Also referred to as, "covert" or "indirect" bullying, designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation
  • Cyber: Electronic communication to intentionally intimidate
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What Bullying is Not

According to compassionit.com, while the list of behaviors below are not ideal, these behaviors are not bullying:

  • Excluding someone: It is not considered bullying if children exclude someone on the playground now and then or don’t invite someone to a party. Repeated and deliberate exclusion, however, can be bullying.
  • Disliking someone: Children may verbally or nonverbally communicate their dislike of another child. This is okay, as long as they don’t start rumors or verbally abuse the other child.
  • Accidental physical harm: A child might unintentionally bump into or trip another child. This it is not bullying if it is not deliberate.
  • Being “bossy”: It is natural to want friends to play a certain way, and some children take the role of being the director. Learning to lead skillfully is a lifelong process, and most kids haven’t mastered it.
  • Telling a joke about someone (once): While this is not great behavior, it is not considered bullying unless there are repeated instances. Of course we should teach our children that one single joke about someone may hurt that child’s feelings, and it’s not okay.
  • Arguments: We all argue, and arguments will inevitably happen at school.

Warning Signs Someone Might Be Being Bullied

  • Changes in the child
  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed personal items
  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches
  • "Faking" illness
  • Changes in eating habits, such as skipping meals or binge eating
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
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Warning Signs Someone Might Be Bullying Others

  • Getting into fights: physical or verbal
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Increased aggression
  • The child is being sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Does not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
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  • Connect and keep lines of communication open between you and your student. Check in with them and their interests, validate their experiences (remember, validating does not mean agreeing with), and actively listen to them. If we want children to open up to us about the tough stuff, we have to first establish trust and build a strong connection
  • Talk to your student about the types of bullying, what it means to be bullied, to be a bully, and to be a bystander of bullying
  • Empower your student to be an "upstander" - Become an Upstander
  • Encourage your student to tell a trusted adult if they experience bullying or witness it
  • Model how to treat others. Kids learn more by what we do than what we say
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"Let's Talk" TVUSD | Report Bullying Here

Bullying is never okay. If you have concerns for an imminent threat, please contact law enforcement immediately by calling 911. The Let's Talk platform is not monitored 24/7 for real-time emergencies.

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