What is bullying, really? It’s become a buzzword in the media and in playground talk but many of us, parents and educators, don’t have a solid understanding of the formal definition of the word. According to Dan Olweus, who is one of the foremost researchers and writers in the field, bullying is defined as: “[when a person] is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.”
In plain language, when someone is being mean, on purpose, over and over again and it makes others feel afraid or powerless, that person is being a bully.
It’s important to distinguish bullying from mean behavior or social cruelty, which is a more normal part of the social development of children. It’s unrealistic to expect that children will grow to adulthood without ever having to handle an unpleasant social situation, respond to cutting remark, or navigate the seas of changing friendships and alliances. It is, however, the right of every child to feel safe at school.
Children who bully are adept at doing their business in times of reduced adult supervision. Children who are bullied are often reluctant to share what’s happening for fear of reprisal. It can be very difficult for teachers and administrators to know what is going on unless someone comes forward.
At Shorecrest, we believe that parents and teachers are partners in ensuring that the school is a safe and friendly space for all students. One of the biggest ways that you can support efforts to eliminate bullying is to share information with school faculty and staff. Whether it is your own child or someone else’s please speak up if you see bullying occurring.
Social-emotional support, character education, and the Core Values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Knowledge and Compassion are embedded into all facets of the Shorecrest curriculum. Visit our campus to learn more.