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Commentary: October is National Bullying Prevention Month

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Over the past few years, we at Century Elementary have implemented many supports and programs for students within the school; many have been successful.

Our students in grades K-4 practice character building and respect by following our Character Counts program. This has helped in many, many ways.

We implemented a reporting system for students, where they can fill out a form and turn it into either their teacher or myself and we work with them to decide the best way to address the problem.

We discuss a character trait every month in our character education classroom lessons and further discussion is given during class time. We have provided students with strategies they can use, if they are put in an uncomfortable situation either as bystander or target. Over the past few years, we have had speakers come to our building to discuss bullying and/or character.

Bullying can come in many forms and can be very hurtful to both the target and the bully. Please talk with your child about the different ways bullying can happen and what to do if they see it. I encourage you to talk with your students on what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in the school setting.

For National Bullying Prevention Month in October, I will be implementing a classroom lesson to teach our students the difference between bullying and peer conflict. Students will learn each student's role in a bullying situation and define terms such as bully, target, upstander and bystander.

Students will have fun learning how to stand up to bullying with these four out-of-this-world actions: Be a buddy, interrupt, speak out, tell someone.

Bullying FAQ

Bullying is 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.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

• An imbalance of power. Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.

• Repetition. Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Peer Conflict

It is not bullying when two kids with no perceived power imbalance fight, have an argument, or disagree. Conflict resolution or peer mediation may be appropriate for these situations.

For more information visit stopbullying.gov

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