Bullying Concerns

Bullying is a serious national problem and one that the Turner Unified School District takes seriously. The board of education, in its commitment to provide a positive and productive learning and working environment for its students and staff in accordance with state law, prohibits bullying in any form by any student, staff member, or parent towards a student or a staff member. This includes bullying by electronic means, on or while using school property, in a school vehicle, or at a school-sponsored activity or event.

Kansas Definition of Bullying
"Bullying" mean:
(A) Any intentional gesture or any intentional written, verbal, electronic or physical act or threat by any student, staff member, or parent towards a student or by any student, staff member parent towards a staff member that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that such gesture, act or threat that creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment that a reasonable person, under the circumstances, knows or should know will have the effect of:

(i) Harming a student or staff member, whether physically or mentally;
(ii) Damaging a student's or staff member's property;
(iii) Placing a student or staff member in reasonable fear of harm to the student or staff member; or
(iv) Placing a student or staff member in reasonable fear of damage to the student's or staff member's property;

(B) cyber bullying; or
(C) any other form of intimidation or harassment prohibited by the board of education of the school district in policies concerning bullying adopted pursuant to this section or subsections (e) of K.S.A 72-8205, and amendments thereto.

Parent Responsibilities in a Bullying Situation

Parents of Kids being Bullied

Observe your child for signs they might be being bullied.
Children may not always be vocal about being bullied. Signs include: ripped clothing, hesitation about going to school, decreased appetite, nightmares, crying, or general depression and anxiety. If you discover your child is being bullied, don't tell them to "let it go" or "suck it up". Instead, have open-ended conversations where you can learn what is really going on at school so that you can take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation. Most importantly, let your child know you will help him/her and they should try not to fight back.

Teacher your child how to handle being bullied.
Until something can be done on an administrative level, work with your child to handle bullying without being crushed or defeated. Practice scenarios at home where your child learns how to ignore a bully and/or develop assertive strategies for coping with bullying. Help your child identify teachers and friends that can help them if they're worried about being bullied.

Set boundaries with technology.
Educate your children and yourself about cyberbullying and teach your children not to respond or forward threatening emails. "Friend" you child on Facebook or Myspace and set up proper filters on your child's computer. Make the family computer the only computer for children and have it in a place in the home where it is visible and can be monitored. If you decide to give your child a cell phone think carefully before allowing them to have a camera option. Let them know that you will be monitoring their text messages. As a parent, you can insist that phones are stored in a public area, such as the kitchen, by a certain time at night to eliminate nighttime bullying and inappropriate messaging. Parents should report bullying to the school and follow up with a letter that is copied to the school superintendent if their initial inquiry receives no response.

Parents should report all threatening messages to the police and should document any text messages, emails or posts on websites.

  • American Psychological Association

Parents of Kids Engaged in Bullying

Stop bullying before it starts.
Educate your children about bullying. It is possible that your child is having trouble reading social signs and does not know what they are doing is hurtful. Remind your child that bullying others can have legal consequences.

Make your home "bully free".
Children learn behavior through their parents. Being exposed to aggressive behavior or an overly strict environment at home makes kids more prone to bullying at school. Parents/caregivers should model positive examples for your child in your relationships with other people and with them.

Look for self-esteem issues.
Children with low self-esteem often bully to feel better about themselves. Even children who seem popular and well-liked can have mean tendencies. Mean behavior should be addressed by parents and disciplined.

  • American Psychological Association

Student Responsibilities in a Bullying Situation

Report bullying and cyber bullying.
It is important for students to report any bullying to a parent or an adult they trust. Often kids don't report cyber bullying because they fear their parents will take away their phone or computer. Parents will support their child's reports of bullying and not take away their phones as a consequence. It is important for kids to remember that bullying is wrong and should be handled by an adult.

Don't bully back.
It may be difficult to not bully back, but as the saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right. Try not to show anger or tears. Either calmly tell the bully to stop bullying or simply walk away.

Avoid being alone.
Whenever possible, avoid situations where there are no other students or teachers. Try to go to the bathroom with a friend or eat lunch in a group. When riding the bus, sit near the front. If you know a student who likes to bully others in an area where you normally walk to lunch or class, try to use alternative hallway routes.

Remember, report bullying of yourself or other students to your teacher, coach, principal and/or parent.

  • American Psychological Association

School Responsibilities in a Bullying Situation

Be knowledgeable and observant.
Teachers and administrators need to be aware that although bullying generally happens in areas such as the bathroom, playground, crowded hallways, and school buses as well as via cell phones and computers (where supervision is limited or absent), it must be taken seriously. Teachers and administrators should emphasize that telling is not tattling. If a teacher observes bullying in a classroom, he/she needs to immediately intervene to stop it, record the incident and inform the appropriate school administrators so the incident can be investigated. Having a joint meeting with the bullied student and the student who is bullying is not recommended- is is embarrassing and very intimidating for the student that is being bullied.

Involve students and parents.
Students and parents need to be a part of the solution and involved in safety teams and anti-bullying task forces. Students can inform adults about what is really going on and also teach adults about new technologies that kids are using to bully. Parents, teacher, and school administrators can help students engage in positive behavior and teach them skills so that they know how to intervene when bullying occurs. Older students can serve as mentors and inform younger students about safe practices on the Internet.

Set positive expectations about behavior for students and adults.
Schools and classrooms must offer students a safe learning environment. Teachers and coaches need to explicitly remind student that bully is not accepted in school and such behaviors will have consequences. Creating an anti-bullying document and having both the student and the parents/guardians sign and return it to the school office helps students understand the seriousness of bullying. Also, for students who have a hard time adjusting or finding friends, teachers and administrators can facilitate friendships or provide "jobs" for the students to do during lunch and recess so that children do not feel isolated or in danger of becoming targets for bullying.

  • American Psychological Association