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Anti-Bullying Guide for Parents

 

 

At Ste-Foy Elementary, we are constantly working to ensure quality teaching and learning in a safe and caring environment. This mission is stated in Orientation 4 of our school’s MESA: Encouraging A Safe and Healthy School Environment.

 
We work to achieve this through:
 
 Staff training
Prevention workshops
Our School (Tell Them From Me) surveys
Collecting and tracking school incident report data through programs such as SWIS
 
Remember:
 
Anyone in a situation involving violence or bullying can always talk to an adult in confidence.
Anyone who sees an incident of violence or bullying must speak up and become an active witness to be part of the solution.
We are committed to fast action to resolve situations as soon as possible.
 
Our goal is to continue to build a safe and caring culture within our school community, where students, staff, and parents encourage, value, and support one another; and where abuse, bullying, and discrimination are never accepted. 
 
 

Bullying

"Any behaviour, spoken word, act or gesture, whether deliberate or not and of a repetitive character, expressed directly or indirectly, including in cyberspace, in a context characterized by a disparity in the balance of power between the concerned persons, having the effect of engendering feelings of distress, injury, hurt, oppression or of being ostracized; " Art. 13, LIP 2012

 

Bullying occurs when someone:

is a target of repeated negative actions over time.
 
is victimized and feels that they cannot defend himself/herself against someone more powerful.
 
feels embarrassed, hurt, scared, and/or angry because of being targeted.
 
Bullying can take place anywhere, anytime and for many reasons. Like other forms of violence, bullying must not be tolerated and requires immediate intervention
 
Bullying is a form of aggression with an imbalance of power. It does not have to be a physical fight. 

 

A conflict is a quarrel or clash that may happen between two individuals, two groups, or an individual and a group because of a contrast in their interests, objectives, values, roles, ideas or way of doing things. A jostle, fight, insult or other threat between individuals on an equal power footing may not necessarily be bullying. 

 

 

Normal Conflicts

 

 

Bullying

 

 

  • Equal power between friends
  •  
  • Happens occasionally
  •  
  • Accidental
  •  
  • Not serious
  •  
  • Equal emotional reaction
  •  
  • Not seeking power of attention
  •  
  • Not trying to get something from the situation
  •  
  • Sense of remorse
  •  
  • Sense of responsibility
  •  
  • Effort to solve the problem

 

 

  • Imbalance of power
  •  
  • Repeated negative actions
  •  
  • Purposeful
  •  
  • Serious – threat of physical harm or emotional or psychological hurt
  •  
  • Strong, emotional reaction on part of the victim seeking power, control
  •  
  • Trying to gain material things or power
  • No remorse – blames the victim and there is justification from the bully
  •  
  • No effort to solve the problem

 

 

 

Different Types of Bullying

 

Name‐calling, derisive laughter, humiliation, threats, making sexist or racist comments.
 
Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, punching, stealing or damaging property.
 
Excluding someone from the group or isolating someone socially, gossiping or spreading rumours, mocking, ending friendships.
 
Use of email, texting, cell phones or social media to threaten, harass, embarrass, spread rumours, exclude from the group, or damage a reputation or friendship.
 
Homophobia 
 
Racism
 

 

Indirect Bullying

Often difficult to perceive, indirect bullying usually happens within a group with the intent of belittling the social status or the exclusion of a targeted person from the group (e.g.  making someone less popular, isolating an individual). 

 
Some examples include:
 
 
Gossiping
 
Spreading rumors
 
Slandering
 
Telling secrets
 
Criticizing
 
Talking behind someone’s back 
 
Writing slurs (graffiti, email, etc.)
 
Making a fool of someone
 
Suggesting someone be excluded from a group
 
Using non‐verbal language (e.g. turning one’s back, mumbling, or rolling eyes)
 
 

Bullying Versus Intimidation 

Bullying is a form of intimidation which is repetitive.

Bullying:  the act of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. 

Intimidation: the act of forcing a weaker person to do something.

 

Cyberbullying:

Occurs whenever and from wherever on the Internet.
 
Can include many people thereby allowing the immediate, unlimited and irreversible distribution of posted words and images.
 
Usually takes place behind the backs of parents, teachers and other responsible adults.
 
Encourages irresponsibility: the perpetrator can deny the facts and not acknowledge his/her actions. Without being able to easily prove the actions, any fear of reprisal diminishes.
 
Promotes depersonalization and lack of empathy: the perpetrator cannot see the effects of his or her actions and shows less restraint than if he/she was face‐to‐face with the victim
 
 

Examples of Cyberbullying:

Threats
 
Insults
 
Rumors
 
Identity stealing
 
Harassment
 
Discrimination
 
Denigration
 
Defamation
 
Filtering or online blocking
 
‘Flaming’ (provocative messaging)
 
‘Happy slapping’ (posting fights, incidents, on YouTube)
 
Inappropriate messages or photos
 
Incitement to ‘out’ one or other persons
 
 
The Cyberbully: 
 
Thinks he or she can remain anonymous.
 
Can pretend to be another person.
 
Can react spontaneously without taking the time to reflect
 
Shows less restraint than if he or she was face‐to‐face with the victim.

 

Characteristics of Children Who are Victimized

Passive Victims
 
The most common type of victims. They are usually easy to identify.
 
May lack social skills
 
Might cry easily
 
May lack the ability to use humor to defuse a conflict
 
May be lonely and depressed
 
May yield easily to bullying
 
May be anxious and insecure
 
May be unable to defend himself/herself
 
Might not want to come to school
 
Might not want to take the bus
 
 
 

Provocative Victims

 

A much smaller group who are often difficult to recognize as victims.

 
May be restless children who irritate and tease others and don’t know how and when to stop.
 
Might fight back in bullying situations, but end up losing becoming frustrated and distressed.
 
May be diagnosed with ADHD.
 
Tend to make you feel as if they deserve it
 
 
 
Reactive Children 
 
Sometimes misinterpret social clues and see problems where problems do not exist.
 
Easily slip into fight or flight mode.
 
Very unpredictable and therefore not liked by peers.
 
Have remorse and guilt after one of their outbursts even if they are involved in a conflict, most of these students are NOT bullies.
 
 
Bystanders 
 
Are often afraid to be a victim
 
Feel anxious and insecure
 
Feel guilty
 
Experience similar effects to the victim in the long term
 
 

Parents of a Student Victim, Witness or Perpetrator

Your child tells you that he or she is being bullied or you suspect that your child is being bullied.
 
Your child tells you that he or she witnessed an incident involving intimidation or violence.
 
You suspect that your child is bullying others or he or she has told you that they do.
 
 

What can you do? 

  • Read the following pages for tips on how to intervene.
  •  
  • Help your child report the incident using the form you can find on our website. Or click here: Online Reporting Form. When you submit it, the behaviour technician, will receive it by email. 
  •  
  • Send an email to the school administration or the behaviour technician.
  •  
  • Denise Godin, Principal: Denise.Godin@cqsb.qc.ca
  •  
  • Jason Enlow, Behaviour Technician: Jason.Enlow@cqsb.qc.ca
  •  
  • Contact the school at #418-651-4396 ext. 8660 and explain the situation.
 
 

If you made a report to the school administration, you can expect further communication that:  

 

Informs you that your report has been received and that there will be a follow‐up.
  
Informs you of initiatives taken to evaluate the situation (e.g. persons contacted, whether it is judged to be bullying).     
 
Verifies if your understanding of the situation corresponds to what has been reported.   
 
Informs you about actions undertaken or planned regarding the perpetrator(s) and witness(es) as
well as planned support for the victim.
 
Discusses any future actions and your continued role, if applicable.   
 
Agrees on timing of the next communication, if applicable. 

 

If a report was made to the school administration regarding your child who could be a victim, witness or a perpetrator, you can expect communication from the school that: 

 

 Informs you about what has happened regarding the facts (what, when, how and with whom).   
 
 Informs you of any interventions done.   
 
 Asks that you get involved in seeking solutions concerning your child.   
 
 Discusses further actions to come concerning your child and whether you need support or   assistance when it comes to the role of education.   
 
 Explains to you what kinds of support are available to your child.   
 
 Establishes possible lines of communication.    
 
 Verifies if other external services need to be involved with your child and if it is possible to collaborate between the school, these services and you.  
 
 Agrees on timing of the next communication, if applicable.  
 
 

If your child is the aggressor in a bullying incident, you can expect communication from the school that: 

 

Explains to you the consequences applicable to your child, resulting from the situation.   
 
Ensures that you realize the seriousness of the bullying or violent situation that your child has instigated.
 
Verifies if you have disciplined your child in an effective way since the incident took place.   
 
Verifies if you have access to the necessary assistance so that the situation is resolved and does not re‐occur (referring you to external services, if applicable).   
 
Invites you to a meeting at the school, if need be. 
 
 

Parents of a Student Victim     

 

How do you recognize the signs that your child is being bullied?
 
A victim of bullying will not necessarily show any physical injury. For you to act, you must stay attentive and tuned into your child to recognize the signs of intimidation. 
 
Does your child seem to be anxious or depressed (sad, unhappy, vague, easily annoyed, hopeless, etc.)?   
 
Does he or she suddenly lose interest in favourite activities?   
 
Is he or she suffering from low self‐esteem, (does not fit in well at school, and sees others as better in comparison)?    
 
Is he or she afraid of going to certain places, such as school, the shopping mall or the playground?
  
Has your child suddenly stopped using the Internet?    
 
Have school marks been lower for no apparent reason?   
 
Does your child often complain of feeling sick, and does not want to go to school?  
 
Has he or she expressed suicidal thoughts, the urge to drop out or to run away?  
 
These signs can also be present in victims of other forms of violence, like homophobia or racial discrimination. 
 

 

As a concerned parent, you must do something.

 
If you find out that your child is a victim of intimidation:    
 
Stay calm, your child needs comfort.    
 
Take the time to listen.  
 
Ask the child to describe the incident in detail (you can take notes).  
 
Do not blame the child.
 
Be reassuring and show the child you are on their side on this matter.
 
 
How should you intervene on behalf of your child?
 
Speak to your child’s teacher, to the school office or to a school staff member, to a trainer or to any intervener who can be informed about the situation and who can help your child to resolve the problem. Act immediately.  
 
Encourage your child to identify his or her aggressor(s). Tell your child that there is nothing bad about naming names, that it takes courage to do this and is necessary to fix the problem any report will remain confidential.
   
Show that you are on their side and you are going to help your child find a solution.    
 
Tell your child to avoid any reprisals or acts of vengeance which could backfire.  
 
If possible, encourage the child to stick to friends he or she can rely on. As part of a group, he or she is less likely to be bullied and will be more capable of defending himself or herself.    
 
Whenever possible, recommend avoiding places that are convenient to bullies.
 
Remain attentive to the behaviour of your child and, after a few days, get back in touch with the interveners you previously contacted.   
 
If the situation causes distress in the daily functioning of your child, ask for a meeting with the school administration to discuss the situation.
 
Do not wait for the situation to degenerate and make matters much worse.
 
You can contact the school administration to report an incident, whether your child is involved or not.   
 

 

Take measures to protect your child from cyberbullying.

 
With the increased use of smartphones and wide accessibility to the Internet, intimidation often occurs online. You still must act to help resolve the situation. 
 
Encourage your child to keep in touch with friends, not just online but in the real world.
  
To the best of your abilities, keep an eye on your child’s online activities.   
 
Put the computer in a common area (in the kitchen or living room instead of the child’s room).  
 
Check if your child is afraid to go on the Internet or if his or her online access suddenly stops.  
 
Recommend that your child avoid places that are convenient for cyberbullies such as chat rooms, online games, etc.    
 
Keep in mind that children under 13 are not supposed to have their own Facebook page.  

 

If you notice that your child is a victim of cyberbullying, say to him or her:

STOP immediately responding to any messages of intimidation. Indeed, the cyberbully wants the victim to respond.
 
AVOID sending an insulting or menacing reply, because it could come back to haunt you or make matters worse.
 
BLOCK the address contact information of anyone threatening you. That includes on social networks, email or cell phone, where you can delete individuals, addresses or numbers.  
 
TALK about the situation with an adult you can trust (e.g. parent, principal, teacher, psycho‐ educator, psychologist, coach, caretaker, supervisor).
 
TRACK the address(es) from where threatening messages originate.
 
SAVE all the threatening messages that you receive, whether by email, text or instant message. 
 
If you believe that the safety of your child is threatened or that he or she is a victim of a criminal act (harassment, sexual assault, threats, extortion, etc.), do not hesitate to contact the police. This is a recourse always open to you, whatever the steps the school has taken to counteract the bullying.
 
  

Parents of a Student Witness (Bystander)

 
Has your child witnessed bullying?
 
If your child confides in you about a bullying incident, it’s important to reassure the child that he or she has a big role to play when it comes to helping a victim. Listen carefully to your child and give advice on what to do next: 
 
Explain to the child that bullies need an audience. Alone, they have less power.  
 
Tell your child that that he or she has an important role to play and that his or her reactions can either encourage or discourage the aggressor.
 
Point out that he or she can intervene directly if he or she feels safe, or, if they don’t feel safe, they can always ask an adult to intervene.     
 
Remind the child of the importance of reporting the intimidation. Make your child understand that you’re not a (snitch) if you help someone in trouble.  
 
Tell the child they can also confide in a trusted adult (e.g. parent, principal, teacher, behaviour technician, psychologist, coach, caretaker, supervisor).
 
Remind the witness that he or she can always report the bullying to the school office.
 
If your child witnesses a cyberbully harassing someone: 
 
Tell your child to ignore the aggressor and to avoid any contact with the cyberbully.   
 
If your child feels at ease to do so, advise him or her to protest the intimidating comments.
   
Tell your child to always refuse to post or to send any image, video or message that is hurtful to somebody.
 
Remind him or her of the importance of taking an anti‐bullying stance on anything they witness, even if it seems harmless or doesn’t affect them directly.
 
You can contact the school administration to report an incident, whether your child is involved or not.  
 
 

Parents of a Student Aggressor

Recognize the signs when your child acts aggressively
 
They need to dominate.  
 
They are lacking interpersonal skills.   
 
They believe that the aggression is a good way of settling a conflict.  
 
They see hostility where there is none.  
 
They lack remorse and have some difficulty expressing regret.  
 
They often put on a “brave face”, are overly self‐assured and confident.  
 
Intimidating behaviour can manifest itself among young people from all backgrounds, of all ages. Both boys and girls can engage in acts of intimidation. It is important to recognize the tell‐tale signs if you want to stop this behaviour. The same child can also go from being a victim to being an aggressor.  
 
Listen to people who tell you that your child is being too aggressive, whether from a school staff member, a coach, another parent or a fellow student.
 
Discuss ways that can help you and help your child interact with those who know about the situation.
 
Explain to your child what might happen to them if they continue to act aggressively (school suspension or expulsion, complaints to police, going to court).  
 
Contact the school to report the intimidation and to receive specialist support for your child.
 
Do not hesitate to ask for professional help to in this situation (CIUSSS, psychologist, etc.). 
 

 

You Must Act to Help Your Child Stop Bullying  

If you discover that your child is involved in bullying, you must show him or her that they can count on your support while making clear at the seriousness of his or her acts: 
 
Stay calm and listen to what your child has to say to you.  
 
Make him or her understand that you take the situation very seriously.
 
Explain to your child the gravity and the consequences of his or her action or words.
 
Impose a disciplinary consequence that you deem suitable.   
 
Collaborate with the school staff to resolve the matter quickly.  
 
Offer your child any assistance they may need.   
 
Explore with your child how they might express their feelings without harming others.   
 
Discuss with him or her any example of intimidation that can be seen on TV, in a movie, a video game, etc.
 
Remind the child that it is important to respect other kids, despite their differences (e.g. race, physical size and strength).  
 
Spend more time with your child and oversee any activities.  
 
Try to know who his or her friends are and how they spend their spare time together.  
 
Book an appointment with the school office as needed.
 
 

Do Something to Put An End to Cyberbullying

 
If you find out that your child is involved in cyberbullying:
 
Make him or her understand that cyber space is public and accessible to all.  
 
Oversee your child’s online activities and encourage more positive interactions.   
 
Put the computer in a common area (in the kitchen or living room instead of in the child’s room).  
 
Impose a disciplinary consequence that you deem appropriate for the situation.
 
Remember that children younger than 13 are not supposed to have their own Facebook page.  
 
Teach your child to respect others online.    
 
Remind your child of the importance of keeping the same values as in the real world and not to post a message that he or she would not say to another person face to face.  
 
Explain to your child that spreading rumours, revealing personal information and posting photos or videos without authorization is not only illegal but can also be just as harmful as physical injury.   
 
Point out that it is important to respect the private life of others, that you should not access their computer, mp3 player, cellphone, etc.   
 
Explain to your child what might happen to them if they continue to act aggressively (school suspension or expulsion, complaints to police, going to court).    
 
 
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