What is Pathfinder K8 doing about bullying? The answer lies in the PLUS Committee. This stands for Positive Leadership Utilizing Students. It started with one parent asking questions. And, it will be successful because of our parent volunteers, teachers, support staff, counselors and Administrators are willing to engage and work together. PLUS formed in the fall of 2016. We invited staff and parents to come to the table and commit to meeting twice a month. We started with help from parents, teacher and support staff: Salmon Teacher Lisa, Elk Teacher Talia, Flacon Teacher Trissa, Bee Class Instructional Assistant Jami, Instructional Assistant Whitney McBride, Instructional Assistant Heidi van Brost, Lynx Teacher Leah Hughes, Student Alumni Sam, Parent Holli Margell with the help of School Counselor Emilie Buter and Principal David Dockendorf to help guide us.
- Define Bullying
- Protocol for reporting within the school so that all parties are informed and there is a clear way to deal with incidents.
- Data/Community Education.
We spent the entire 2016-2017 year on the definition – drafting, editing, seeking staff and teacher feedback, editing some more, and then gathering student feedback and editing some more, until it was presented one last time at the Staff Retreat for the 2017-2018 School year.
The purpose of the definition is to create a common language and understanding of what bullying is for all grade levels. It was designed to grow with the stages and ranges of our student population. From our student feedback gathered among 4-8th graders, we realized that we needed to include clear, specific words and get away from legal wording that comes from the district and state level.
Here are the Pathfinder K-8 Bullying Definitions
K-3rd Grades: Bullying is unfair, one-way and repeated. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening or leaving someone out on purpose.
4/5th Grades: Bullying is unfair, one-way and repeated. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening or leaving someone out on purpose. This behavior can look like threats, gossip, taunting, teasing, rumors, a power imbalance or physically hurting someone.
6-8th Grades: Bullying is unfair, one-way and repeated. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening or leaving someone out on purpose. This behavior can look like threats, gossip, taunting, teasing, rumors, a power imbalance or physically hurting someone. This includes identity shaming, body shaming, cyber and sexual bullying. Identity shaming is purposefully judging, threatening or bullying based on things like: family of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, mental
illness, learning or physical disabilities. Body shaming is mocking, taunting, teasing or putting someone down based on their appearance, body size or shape. Cyber-bullying is using texting, email or social media to negatively target someone. Sexual bullying is unwanted, non-consensual verbal or physical interactions like sexual gestures, comments, physical touch or harassment.
Our research during the definition creation started with a lot of research on what definitions already existed from the district, from the CDC, Government and many non-profits. For your reading pleasure, here they all are:
- Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: A person is being bullied when he/she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons. Negative action is when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways. Note that bullying is both overt and covert behaviors.
- Center for Disease Control defines bullying as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both (also known as “bully/victim”). Bullying can occur in-person and through technology. Electronic aggression or cyber-bullying is bullying that happens through email, chat rooms, instant message, a website, text message, or social media.
- 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. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Organizations with resources, materials and curriculums:
- http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/ (provided by Seattle Public Schools)
- http://www.cfchildren.org/ (Second Step also being provided by Seattle Public Schools)
- http://www.teenwiseseattle.com/ – presented at PTSA meeting Sept. 2014, focuses on teens
Where is PLUS this school year?
We worked hard on a reporting protocol during the 2017-2018 school year, and you may have already read about this in the Compass Newsletter. For those who did not or who wanted a longer version, this next part is for you.
We developed a reporting process to include 3 parts:
- Initial Report: student, bystander or parent may fill this out and turn it into the front office of the school. Your student will start to hear more about this in the coming months. BullyReport_NCR BullyReport_Reflection
- Report Follow up: Think of this like a follow-up interview to gather more information and inform Principal David, Assistant Principal Lisa or one of our counselors about the issue. (BullyReportReflection.PDF)Parts 1 & 2 will be printed on triplicate form paper so that all parties will be informed.
- Report Reflection: An opportunity for the student who was exhibiting the bullying behavior to get more support.Part 3 will be on regular printed-paper for the student to have and share with parents when needed.
This 2018-2019 school year PLUS will focus on community outreach to share this reporting system with each classroom and parents. If you’d like to join us and can attend meetings during the week, typically on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:45-4:15pm, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.