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As of May of 2010, bullying prevention legislation mandates reporting of all incidents of bullying both in and outside of school. And if, after an investigation, an allegation of bullying is found to be true, this will go in the aggressor's permanent record. To put it simply: if your actions are found to be deliberately and repeatedly targeting another individual (including in retaliation for something someone did to you), then your school will take disciplinary action.
Bullying is serious stuff and the Newton Public Schools is taking it seriously.
As a high school student, you are a role model for your siblings, your peers, and others. More than ever, how you conduct yourself matters. How you treat others matters. The Newton Public Schools believes that a student's education extends beyond the classroom -- to the hallways, the bus, the locker room, the cafeteria and even online.
In recent months, there has been a lot of media coverage about bullying -- including the most extreme cases, is which kids were so desperate, lonely, and depressed after being bullied that they were driven to suicide.
We challenge you to consider these questions:
- What can I do to stop bullying?
- How will I reach out to kids in my school who might be targets?
- What can I do to make my school a place where everyone can feel accepted for who they are?
WHAT IS BULLYING?
Massachusetts law defines bullying, and cyberbullying, which is the electronic version of bullying, as the “repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target.” A bully is a person who purposely tries to hurt others by doing any of the following things:
- unwanted teasing
- threatening/intimidating behavior
- stalking or cyberstalking
- cyberbullying by texting, Facebook, etc.
- physical violence
- theft or destruction of school or personal property
- sexual, religious, or racial harassment
- public humiliation
- social exclusion
- rumor or spreading of falsehoods
Bullies pick on certain people they feel are different in some way. They have friends who think bullying is funny, but it isn't funny. It's WRONG!
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ARE YOU OR A FRIEND BEING BULLIED? ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
Did someone say or do something to make me feel bad or afraid?
Has it happened more than once?
Is the person who is targeting me bigger, older, or in some way more powerful than I am?
If the answer is YES to each of these questions, YOU ARE BEING BULLIED.
Still Unsure? Ask yourself these questions.......
Am I playing sick in the morning so I won't have to go to school and face a bully?
Do I walk home another way or try to avoid the bus so no one will bother me?
Does someone take things from me or make me give them stuff?
Does someone say mean things about me either at school or online or tell other kids not to play or hang out with me?
Does someone call me names, either at school or online?
Steer clear of the bully.
Try ignoring; you can walk away, or not say anything.
Stay close to people who are not bullies. Safety in numbers!
Tell the bully to stop in a firm voice. Say things like, "I don't like being called names, I want you to stop now."
What should you NOT do if you are being bullied?
- DON'T fight. You will just get in trouble and you could get hurt.
- DON'T do nothing. You need a plan, and you need some help, so TELL someone.
- DON'T skip school. This problem is not going to go away by itself.
- DON'T hurt yourself. The bullying is not your fault.
Report Bullying Right Away!
Your school has ways for you to report bullying. You may have a Bully Box that you can use, or you can ask for a reporting form from your school office. Ask an adult for help if you need it.
Your parents can also report bullying for you. Ask them to talk to your principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor or to a trusted teacher if that’s most comfortable.
- It is good to try to help. Don't make the kid who is being bullied feel worse by laughing or doing nothing. Tell a teacher, specialist, guidance counselor, principal or assistant principal or other staff member right away.
- If you can, tell the bully to stop. State what you don't like and how you want it fixed. For example, "I don't like it when you pick on Mike; it's not funny. I want you to stop right now."
- Walk away with the person who is being bullied.
- Talk to the person who is targeted and try to be a good friend. Tell them you’ll stick it out with them during the challenging times.
Telling an adult that you or a friend is being bullied isn't tattling. Tattling is when you tell on another kid to get him or her into trouble. Telling is when you tell something in order to help someone get out of trouble or keep someone from getting hurt.
So, if you or a friend is being bullied: Tell someone. Tell a teacher who you feel a connection to. Tell your parents. Tell a friend. Tell the principal. Ask to talk to your house master, school psychologist and/or guidance counselor. These people will listen and help you decide what to do. If this is happening, tell an adult! If the person you told can not help you or does not do anything, find someone else. Never keep being bullied a secret!
When you report bullying make sure you tell who the aggressor is, how you are being bullied, when it happens, and where it happens. Save any emails, voicemails, Facebook messages,posts or other specific things that may help you explain what's happened.
If you want more information on how to report bullying,
go to the Reporting Forms and Procedures page of this website.