Bullying is a chronic problem throughout the public school system. In fact, bullying, including cyberbullying, is at the top of the list of concerns for many parents and educators. Every student deserves an education free from the harmful, physical, and emotional effects of harassment and bullying. Therefore, campus and district administrators in Whitney ISD encourage parents to work with us to provide a safe and orderly learning environment that encourages community involvement and engagement. We ask that parents and students inform staff as soon as a problem is expected. The sooner we are aware of the problem, the sooner we can work together to find a solution.What is Bullying?
Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, state law will define bullying as engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the district and that: (1) has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or of damage to the student's property; or (2) is sufficiently severe, persistent and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student.
Conduct is considered bullying if it (1) exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct; and (2) interferes with a student's education or substantially disrupts the operation of a school.
Bullying can take several forms, such as:
• Physical: hitting, kicking, stealing or damaging the victim's property
• Verbal: using words to hurt or humiliate
• Relational: spreading rumors, excluding a person from the peer group
• Prejudicial: making racial slurs, making fun of cultural, religious or other differences
• Sexual harassment: using suggestive words or inappropriate touch
Bullying usually occurs between individuals who are not friends. The bully may be bigger, tougher, or have the power to exclude others from his or her social group.
Lots of kids joke around with each other. This may include name-calling or rough housing, but these incidents are not necessarily bullying. Bullying has three characteristics that sets it apart:
• There is a power difference between the bully and the victim.
• The bully intends to hurt, embarrass, or humiliate the other person.
• The behavior is repeated, sometimes with others, with the same person, or with the same person over time.
Other Types of Bullying:
Teen Dating Violence
Teen dating violence is defined as the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship, as defined by Section 71.0021, Texas Family Code. Teen dating violence is a pattern of coercive behavior that one partner exerts over the other for the purpose of establishing and maintaining power and control.
Cyberbullying is defined as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. Although most cyberbullying is created on computers, cell phones, and other devices that are not owned by the district or not located on school property, cyberbullying can nevertheless affect the school environment and the welfare of students.Possible Warning Signs
Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied:
- Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings;
- Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches;
- Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time;
- Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs);
- Takes a long, illogical route when walking to or from school;
- Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school;
- Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home;
- Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments;
- Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams;
- Experiences a loss of appetite; or
- Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.