Arlington Public Schools defines bullying/harassment, including bullying/harassment based on an actual or perceived characteristic such as race, national origin, creed, color, religion, ancestry, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or disability, as the repeated infliction or attempted infliction of injury, discomfort, or humiliation on a student by one or more students. It is a pattern of aggressive, intentional or hostile behavior that occurs repeatedly and over time. Bullying/harassment typically involves an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying/harassment behaviors may include physical, verbal, or nonverbal behaviors. These behaviors include, but are not limited to; intimidation, assault, extortion, oral or written threats, teasing, name-calling, threatening looks, gestures or actions, rumor spreading, false accusations, hazing, social isolation, and abusive e-mails, phone calls, or other forms of cyber bullying. The term “cyberbullying” is used when text, photos, videos or other media are uploaded to computers and/or internet to defame, insult, harass or haze others.
Problem-solve possible strategies with your child; for example, avoiding the confrontational situation, diffusing strategies, negotiating skills, or assertively telling the “bully” to stop. Always encourage your child to tell the teacher or counselor if they feel unsafe at school.
Tell them that this type of behavior is unacceptable. Set limits and enforce them with consistent consequences. Teach them alternative behaviors.
Help them to understand the feelings of others. Activities such as community service projects may be helpful.
Ask the school counselor for assistance. Set realistic goals to change behavior over time.
It takes courage to do the right thing. Encourage your child to reach out to a victim of bullying by being kind. Your child can help the victim talk to an adult.
Emphasize safety to your child. If your child feels safe, it is OK to say something like “Stop! That’s not funny!” It is also OK not to confront a bully, but rather to seek assistance from an adult. It is never OK to bully back!
For further information, contact the counselor in your child’s school or Department of Student Services at 703-228-6062 or the Department of Administrative Services at 703-228-6008.
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