Postive Citizenship: An Alternative to Bullying

Bullying.

When we think about the word, we all have a picture that immediately comes to mind. Maybe it’s a picture of a larger, older child tripping a younger, smaller child, dumping out the contents of their backpack, or pushing them down into the mud.

For others, we may think of cyber bullies, typing unkind words, or sharing photos without permission.

When it comes to school and dealing with bullying, first we need to define the word “bully.”

What is Bullying?

According to StopBullying.gov, bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Bullying can include physical attacks, spreading rumors, verbal abuse, or intentional exclusion.

Unkind Behaviors vs. Bullying

We all are guilty of being unkind at times. We say hurtful things (intentionally or unintentionally), we gossip, we exclude people. We’ve also been on the receiving end of these unkind and hurtful behaviors.

While the line between unkind behaviors and bullying may be faint, it’s important to recognize that typically bullying is defined by aggressive behavior that includes an imbalance of power and repetition.

How Can We Stop Bullying?

If your student is reporting behaviors that sound like they or another student may be experiencing bullying while at school, the first step would be to reach out to the child’s teacher or another school employee. Keeping open communication with school staff will give you additional insight into what is going on and can also give staff an opportunity to observe. It’s important that if you believe your child is in danger of being harmed or harming themselves, that you get help immediately.

Additionally, StopBullying.gov recommends that parents become more involved in volunteering and developing a relationship with the staff. Involved parents directly contribute to students’ long-term success.

We can teach our children to check their own behavior with others by asking themselves…

Am I being trustworthy?

Am I being respectful?

Am I being responsible?

Am I being fair?

…and especially this one…

Am I being caring?

Some students may not actively engage in bullying behavior, but they may witness it. Talk to your child about ways they can discourage others from bullying and when to get help from an adult.

Our Positive Citizenship Approach

Teaching students positive behaviors is more effective than a “don’t bully” approach. That’s why we implement weekly habits at Almond Acres Charter Academy and require each student to complete a Positive Citizenship / No Bullying Contract.

To learn more about identifying bullying, how to address it, and for additional resources, visit StopBullying.gov.

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