Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bullying Meetings

This letter will also come home in Friday Folders on 09.23.11
Dear Sioux Trail families,

I am writing to let you know that I recently met with each classroom to discuss bullying with all Sioux Trail students.  My first priority as principal is to create a safe learning environment where bullying does not belong here, nor is it tolerated.  I meet with students every year, and I wanted to share the same information with you.  In my conversations with students, I defined what bullying is, highlighted a specific set of steps that can be used to stop bullying and shared with students that bullying is not a part of the Sioux trail community and that I will not accept it.

I shared the following definition of a bully with students; A bully is someone who finds something you don't like and does it over and over again.  Olweus, a national bullying prevention program, defines bullying as: "A person is bullied when he or she 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."

After defining bullying and talking about the various ways it might happen, I shared the following steps for dealing with a problem.  When I met with students, we used a Thinking Map called a flow or sequencing map to chart out the process step by step.  Several Sioux Trail teachers are using different types of Thinking Maps as tools to help students increase their understanding of various topics.  I encourage you to ask your child to map out these problem solving steps.

Identify the problem.  What is happening that you don't like?
  1. Tell the person who is doing this to you to stop. 
When you do this:
    1. Say the other person's name
    2. Use eye contact
    3. Say it in a firm or assertive voice (let the other person know that you are serious)
I shared with students that if the problem stops after this first step, it is not bullying because the behavior isn't being repeated.  I define this scenario as someone making a mistake and learning from their mistake.

If the problem continues:
2.      Say it again.  Tell the other person one more time.
a.       Say it differently than you did the first time, use a louder voice or be more assertive
b.      Include a non-verbal signal.  This accesses a different part of the brain and may make a connection that the words did not.
3.      Get help from an adult.  ALL Sioux Trail staff care about our students and any adult at Sioux Trail will intervene and help. There may be situations when a student needs to go directly to an adult, and I told students they may need to "bypass" the first two steps and go directly to step number three. 
These steps may not work for every situation, but they provide students a simple template that he / she can use to clearly communicate that they do not like what is happening, and want the behavior to change.

Open communication is important to problem solving.  If you know of a problem, please report this to your child's classroom teacher right away.  Classroom teachers are the first step in problem solving, and when needed, they will work with me to ensure that the problem is solved.

If you have questions, or want additional information on the prevention of bullying, please feel to contact Sioux Trail staff or visit one of the following websites:

I hope you find this information helpful. 

Taber Akin; Principal

No comments: