What parents, guardians and caregivers need to know.
Let's Talk about Conflict vs. Bullying
Conflict is a struggle between two or more people who perceive they have incompatible goals or desires.
• Conflict occurs naturally as we interact with one another. It is a normal part of life that we will not always agree with other people about things we want, what we think, or what we want to do.
• Can be accidental and a normal part of growing up.
• In a conflict, people may get frustrated and angry. Chances are the amount of emotion each person feels will be relatively equal because both are vying for what they want. In the heat of the moment, emotions can escalate in a conflict. All of us have said things to hurt one another, which they later regret.
Bullying behavior is very different from conflict. It is behavior that is intended to cause some kind of harm.
• The person doing the bullying purposely says or does something to hurt the target of his/her behavior.
• There is always an imbalance of power (physical or social) or strength between the person doing the bullying and the target of the behavior.
• The person doing the bullying may be physically bigger or stronger, may be older with greater social status or social power than the person being targeted.
• An older sltudent verbally abuses younger students on the bus and does not let them sit where they want to.
• A bigger child threatens a smaller child for his/her lunch.
• A very popular teenager intimidates others to do what they request.
What to do if you have any concerns?
Take the situation seriously. Please do not over or under react. Before you call the school, get all of the information from your child. Work with the school. You may have to have a few conversations with your child about the process. Once the "B" word is used, an investigation will be started. The school administration will assign someone to investigate and gather information. Finally, please be advised that many allegations turn out to be normal conflicts, and can be resolved through a mediator, counselor or school administrator.