What is Bullying?
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around since the beginning of time. Most adults can usually recall incidents of bullying from their own schooldays. Either, they were bullied, they were the bully, or they were the bystander. For many of us, it’s not a pleasant memory. In addition, historically, bullying was thought of as “kids being kids,” “it’s normal behavior,” or “they probably deserved it.” Fortunately, in today’s world, those beliefs have changed. There’s nothing “normal” about people intentionally hurting each other and no one deserves to be bullied. It’s deviant, destructive, and wrong. Due to this paradigm shift, schools across the country take proactive measures in responding to bullying.
How Do I Make a Report of Bullying?
In Sherman ISD, students/parents can file a report online, or report it in person. Information is available in the Student Handbook, as well as on the district website.
How do I know if it is bullying?
Although definitions vary from school to school, most definitions of bullying, including the definition used by Sherman ISD, have three key components:
- Aggressive behavior: One or more people are directing aggression to another person who is unable to stand up for him/herself. The aggressive behavior is unwanted and unprovoked. The only person feeling emotionally upset is the person who is targeted. Whereas the aggressor appears to get some kind of pleasure out of his/ her behavior and often feels no regret or remorse.
- An imbalance of power: A key determining factor in bullying involves the imbalance of power. This could be physical size and power, relation to social status, multiple students “ganging up” on an individual, or sheer volume of information used against someone in a cyberbullying scenario. It could also be when a student is just vulnerable in some way making it difficult to defend him/herself.
- Repeated over time: “Repeatedly and over time” is one of the most common descriptors you’ll hear to bullying. Calling someone a name one time is wrong and against school rules, but we wouldn’t label it as “bullying.” If however, the student continues this aggressive and unwanted behavior, it would be considered bullying. If the imbalance of power criteria is met, it would be considered bullying.
What's the difference between bullying and general conflict?
We’ve all been involved in conflicts where we lost control and said something we later regret. People engaged in a conflict want the issue to be resolved. The “back and forth” that occurs is each person trying to make the case for what she/he wants. When one or both people have the skills to resolve the dispute so both sets of needs are met, the same conflict between the same two people most likely will not be repeated. If not, conflict might possibly continue for a long time. In bullying, there’s usually not a conflict or disagreement. One person or a group of people, are targeting another individual because they can.