Bullying and harassment occur when one person or group perceives themselves as having power over another person or group due to how they dress, how much money they have, physical strength or looks, etc., and this power is used to intimidate, insult, physically hurt, or leave someone out after they have been told to stop. When a person has been told to stop and repeatedly continues to harass the other person/or group, this is bullying. Other types of bullying can involve using social media and spreading rumors about someone.
Having a conflict is when two people may disagree and even get quite angry, either at each other or one person being angry with the other. Conflicts may occur once or twice and do not involve an imbalance of power or intimidation. This is a different situation from bullying or harassment.
Bullying and on-going harassment can be very harmful to people of all ages, including adults. People may feel anxious and afraid and avoid places where they fear bullying may take place: school, sports events or teams, workplace, etc., and some people may feel so trapped that they may become violent or suicidal.
All students in USD 259 are instructed at the beginning of each school year about what bullying is and isn’t and how they can handle situations that they themselves are being bullied in or those that they see happen to others. Counselors also teach students how to use “I Messages” (e.g.-“I don’t like it when you call me names. Please stop!”) and other ways to handle conflicts positively. Students are trained to let an adult know when they or someone they know is being bullied and also how to be an “Upstander” instead of a “Bystander”.