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Information for Families

Welcome, parents and guardians. We are so glad you are here, because, as a parent or guardian, you are the most important person in your child's growth and development. You affect not only your son's or daughter's success in the academic realm, but his or her social and emotional well-being. Offering support for school work is only part of the guidance you provide at home. How one treats other people, how one expresses emotions, how one thinks about human differences -- these, too, are qualities that are learned. As the most important people in your children's lives, ask yourself: What kind of role model am I? What are the values I want my child to learn from home? How do I want him or her to behave as s/he goes into the world?

Every day, students in our schools are targets of, perpetrators of, or witnesses to BULLYING. In order to combat bullying in our community, we need to work together to create an environment where bullying is not tolerated -- one which demonstrates our core values not only of academic excellence and innovation, but also of respect and responsibility.

On these pages of the Newton Public Schools Bullying Prevention and Intervention website, you will find resources and tools to help you to educate yourself and your family about bullying, including how to work with the schools. We hope that you find this information helpful and look forward to our continued work together on behalf of Newton students.


The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), distributed to Newton’s secondary school students in the 2016-17 school year, tells us about key trends in the data on bullying in schools and the community.

In School

  • 27% of 7-8th grade students and 38% of high school students reported that they saw someone else bullied in school in the 30 days prior to the survey.
  • 15% of 7-8th grade students and 16% of high school students reported that they had been bullied at school.



  • 10% of Newton middle school students and 11% of high school students reported that they had been bullied electronically.



  • Respondents who had been bullied in school in the 30 days prior to the survey were asked how they responded the last time it happened (multiple responses were possible). Respondents in all grades generally reported that they were "most likely" to try to get the person/people doing it to stop, followed by talking to a friend about it, telling a parent/guardian, and then telling a school adult. Seventh and eighth grade students were nearly twice as likely to report using these strategies than high school students.

Link to 2016-17 YRBS Report Summary


Massachusetts law defines bullying, and cyberbullying, which is the electronic version of bullying, as the "repeated use by one or more students, or by a member of a school staff including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional, 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!  

MYTH: Kids will be kids. They are just teasing.

FACT: Teasing is only teasing if both people think it is funny. Bullying should not be a normal part of growing up. It affects children’s mental well-being, academic performance, and physical health.

MYTH: Kids who are bullied need to learn how to deal with bullying on their own.

FACT: Bullying is a form of victimization or peer abuse. Children should not be expected to “deal with it on their own.” Adults and other children who witness or observe bullying have a critical role to play in helping to stop the bullying.

MYTH: Bullying does not have long-term effects on children.

FACT: Children who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, and anxious; have low self-esteem; and feel physically unwell.

MYTH: Children and youth who bully are mostly loners with few social skills and friends.

FACT: Sometimes popular students gain power by hurting others. Often, friends of the aggressor support and encourage the bullying behavior.

MYTH: Once a bully, always a bully.

FACT: Everyone can learn to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and learn better ways to get along with others.

MYTH: Bullying is the same thing as a disagreement.

FACT: Bullying is not just disagreeing about something. It is aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength. It is often repeated over time.

What Parents Can Do...

Focus on your child. Be supportive, listen, and gather information about the bullying. Never tell your child to ignore bullying. What the child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore the problem. If your child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.

Be a positive role model. Talk about your own experiences as a child. Talk about the complex range of emotions humans experience -- positive and negative. Talk about what you do to make your community, workplace, and the world a better place. Treat others with fairness and respect. Acknowledge your own mistakes and remind your child that you'll love him or her no matter what.

Help your child become more resilient. Watch for signs of depression, anxiety or withdrawal and seek professional help if needed.

Talk to your child about being with friends and knowing which friends he or she can count on. Encourage positive relationships by guiding your children to hang out with kids that make them feel good about themselves.


Some Quick Links to Resources 

Newton Public Schools Library and Media Cyber Safety Guidelines
Newton Public Schools Library and Media Anti-Bullying Bibliography
Youth Topics:  Bullying
Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC)





If you want more information on bullying prevention and reporting,

please visit the Staff, CurriculumStudent, and Reporting Procedures and Forms 

sections of this website.




Before filing an incident report, we strongly encourage you to also explore other pages on this website to learn more about bullying prevention and intervention.