“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the
water to create many ripples.”
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Bullying, a behavior that hurts, harms, or humiliates someone physically or emotionally, is a serious issue that impacts thousands of students every day. As damaging as bullying may be, there is hope! With education and awareness, bullying can be prevented at school, in neighborhoods, and online.
Here at St. Francis we are creating kinder, more accepting, and more inclusive classroom where fewer students experience bullying, more people speak out, and no one feels alone.
To kick off National Bullying Prevention Month our 6th grade students learned how each act of kindness makes our world a better place. Kindness upon kindness upon kindness is all anyone could ever hope for. These students learned about the impact their lives have on others.
For this lesson, Mrs. Speranzini and I teamed up to conduct a science experiment about the ripple of kindness. We read the book One Good Deed by Terri Fields and Deborah Melmon. This book is a sweet story about how one child’s good deed created an environment of caring and giving that continued to spread from person to person in his neighborhood. We then talked about how even single, simple acts of kindness can create a ripple effect (just like in the story) that can spread throughout a community. One act of kindness can cause happiness in a single person. But, because that one person feels happier, she or he is now more inclined to do something kind for someone else. Be sure to ask your kids what each item in the experiment represented.
What is bullying? At first glance, many people might think this behavior is easy to define. Their first image of bullying might be of a physically intimidating boy beating up a smaller classmate. While that would still be considered bullying today, parents need to know that bullying behavior can be much more complex and varied than the stereotype. For example, harmful bullying can also occur quietly and covertly, or through gossip or the Internet, and can cause significant emotional damage.
The definition of bullying will vary by school and state. While there are significant differences between definitions, most include the following traits:
- Behavior that hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally.
- An inability for the target to stop the behavior and defend themselves.
- An imbalance of power that occurs when the student doing the bullying has more physical, emotional, or social power than the target.
- Repetitive behavior; however, bullying can occur in a single incident if that incident is either very severe or arises from a pattern of behavior.
The types of Bullying: The behavior can be overt and direct, with physical behaviors, such as fighting, hitting or name calling, or it can be covert, with emotional-social interactions, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose. Bullying can also happen in-person, online or through smart phones and texts.
Help your child identify bullying. If your child tells you about a situation and you aren’t sure if it’s bullying, use this checklist:
- Does your child feel hurt, either emotionally or physically, by the other child’s behavior?
- Has your child been the target of the negative behavior more than once?
- Does your child want the behavior to stop?
- Is your child unable to make the behavior stop on their own?
If the response to one or more of these questions is “yes,” the more likely it is that the behavior would be considered bullying.