Greetings Marvista Families!
As we enter into the winter months of the school year, this tends to be when friendships deepen and challenges of all sorts start to arise. This is to be expected! Your child may come home saying how so and so did something or said something mean to them. They may even use the term “bullying”, which carries a lot of weight these days. So you know, I have been visiting most classrooms throughout the school at this point, teaching lessons about bullying and how to make it stop. For this newsletter I’d like to address what bullying is, and give some suggestions if your family finds itself puzzling what to do about unkind behaviors.
According to Highline Board Policy 3207:
“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any intentionally written message or image - including those that are electronically transmitted - verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability, or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property;
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education;
- Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; and/or
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Bullying has no place in our school, and we as a staff are required to go through training to know how to identify and respond to bullying when we see it or receive a report about bullying/ harmful behaviors. As I mentioned above, I go to all classes each year in order to do lessons with students on recognizing, reporting and refusing bullying. You can expect your student(s) to receive lessons on this topic over these next couple of months, including what to do if they are a bystander to bullying.
On your end, if your child reports to you that someone has been unkind in some way to them, here are some suggestions:
- Show empathy, say you are sorry that happened to them, and thank them for telling you.
- Ask lots of questions to learn about the context. Find out when/where/ how often it has happened.
- Ask how your child responded to it. Did they walk away? Yell something back? Assertively stand up for themselves? Tell an adult? Role play/discuss ways they can respond to empower them in those moments.
- If it was a serious incident or has been a repeated problem that isn’t getting better, reach out to me, your student’s teacher or an administrator for support.
We will work with the students involved to ensure every student is welcomed and loved here at Marvista, and that our school is a place where every student feels safe.