Here's what you need to know to keep our school free of teasing, harassment, and bullying.
What are teasing and harassment?
Teasing and harassment are aggressive (or mean) things that people do to others. When people tease or harass, they mean to hurt other people's feelings.
What are some ways that people tease or harass others?
Name Calling. Calling people names, from "stupid" to some really bad words, is harassment. Sometimes, if the words have to do with a person's gender or have to do with calling a person a homosexual, the name-calling is a special, serious form of harassment called sexual harassment.
Threats. Telling someone you're going to do something to them or someone else is no better than actually doing it.
Spreading Rumors. Starting and spreading rumors is not nice, and it is very hurtful.
Purposely Leaving People Out. Telling your friends to leave someone out, or going along with a plan like that, is not nice, and it is very hurtful. It can also be a form of harassment.
Inappropriate Touching. Pushing, bumping, tripping, poking, etc. are quiet little ways that some kids harass others. It's not okay to tease others in this way.
Other physical harassment. Following someone around, not letting someone pass, getting too close to someone to make them feel uncomfortable are all forms of harassment.
Why are teasing and harassment bad?
Teasing other people is not nice. Everyone gets teased sometimes. You don't like it when you get teased, do you? Some people play around with friends by teasing them. Harassment is different, though. It's when somebody teases others to make them feel uncomfortable.
When people get teased a lot, it can really be hurtful to them. It can make them very sad or depressed. It can make them feel like they deserve to be treated badly. Sometimes when people get teased a lot, they start acting really mean to "get back" at everyone else for teasing them. Sometimes kids who get teased even threatened or hurt other kids.
No one deserves to be teased. It doesn't matter if someone is "too fat, too skinny, to freckle-faced, too tall, too short, to whiny, too quiet, too loud, too different, to much a wanna-be etc." Everybody, especially in middle school, just wants to be accepted for who they are. Everybody wants friends and to hang out with people who like them and treat them well. Being mean to others doesn't make people look good. It makes them look like the only way they can feel good is by making other people feel bad. That's sad!
What should you do when you see someone else being harassed or teased?
Don't do anything to make the harasser think you think what he or she is doing is okay. We all know kids who can be kind of mean at times. A lot of time we laugh when that person is being mean. Why? We don't want to make them mad, or we just don't know what else to do. But when you laugh or "go along" with mean behavior, you are telling everyone else that it is okay with you. Don't do it! In fact, when you see someone being mean, even if they are not being mean to you, the right thing is to tell them to stop. If you do this to help someone from being treated poorly, maybe someday when someone is being mean to you, somebody else will speak up and defend you.
Try to distract the harasser. Change the subject. If you can, use humor to calm the situation down.
If there is a big problem, tell an adult. If someone is threatening to hurt someone, or if kids are actually fighting, get help.
If someone is getting teased but doesn't get help, tell an adult. Our school has a lot of things to help kids when they get teased. Some kids are embarrassed to ask for help, or they think they can "handle themselves." But sometimes kids need help. If they don't want to ask, help them by telling an adult. If you are embarrassed too, ask you parent or a teacher for help.
Why do some kids tease or harass others?
Some people think that they can make themselves look better by cutting other people down. Pretty silly, huh? In the end, saying bad things about other people is a bad idea, because pretty soon your friends start to worry that maybe you say bad things about them too.
Some people try to get more power in their group by spreading rumors about other people or saying things to hurt their feelings. Some people think they can become more popular by making other kids look dumb. But real leaders build other people up, not knock them down!
Some kids think that being mean to other kids make other people respect them more. But when people fear you, it is not the same as having them respect you (or like you)!!
Some kids develop really bad habits, and bad habits are hard to break! Once you get into a bad habit, like teasing other kids or spreading rumors, it is hard to stop. Also, some kids are used to calling people mean names and teasing at home, and it is hard to stop doing it when they get to school.
Want to do more to help our school to be a Harassment-Free Zone?
Talk to your friends about your commitment to living without teasing and harassment. If you're trying to give up teasing, name-calling, and rumors, it will be easier if your friends support you, and even easier if they decide to give it up too!
Keep your old good friends, and make new ones too! Everybody needs a friend. Make sure your help others make them!
Steps for informing and disciplining students for harassing behavior.
- All students will receive this policy at the beginning of the year.
- When a complaint is received the student will review with an administrator the harassment/teasing policy. This will be documented and parents will be informed.
Pending a second complaint a Harassment Contract will be assigned outlining appropriate and inappropriate behavior.