Bullying Information

Letter to Parents

What is bullying?

What is the school's policy on bullying and how do I report incidents?

What can kids do? (Info for Elementary students)

What can kids do? (Info for Junior and Senior High students)

What can parents, teachers, and a community do to help?

What can a school do to help address bullying?

What is Cyber-bulling?

What is sexting?

What is LGBTQ Bullying?

What is the difference between Harassment and Bullying?

Letter to Parents
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Dear Parent:

Overwhelmingly, schools are safe and nurturing places for students. School administrators and faculty are dedicated to making sure schools remain safe learning environments for all students. However, bullying is a serious issue that every school in the nation faces. Nationwide, research shows that more than half of all school-aged children will be involved in bullying this year as a target or a perpetrator with many more witnessing bullying acts on a regular basis.

Children are not born bullies, nor are they born to be targets of bullying. Bullying is a learned behavior, and it can be unlearned. At Moose Lake Community Schools, we believe in working together with parents to combat bullying. We know this problem isn’t confined to school grounds. Bullying at school affects and is affected by what happens at home between siblings, what happens in the neighborhood, and what happens when kids go online. We must work together to take immediate action, whether a child bullies, is a target of bullying, or is a witness to bullying.

We are pleased to share the following information and resources with you as part of our continuing effort to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for your child.

Tim Caroline
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What is bullying?
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Every school district is required by law to have a bullying policy. In our policy, bullying is defined as any written or verbal expression, physical act or gesture, or pattern thereof, by a student that is intended to cause or is perceived as causing distress to a student or a group of students and which substantially interferes with another student’s or students’ educational benefits, opportunities, or performance. Bullying includes, but is not limited to, conduct by a student against another student or a group of students that a reasonable person under the circumstances knows or should know has the effect of:

1. harming a student or a group of students;

2. damaging a student’s or a group of students’ property;

3. placing a student or a group of students in reasonable fear of harm to person or property;

4. creating a hostile educational environment for a student or a group of students; or

5. intimidating a student or a group of students.

Many definitions include three characteristics.... Aggressive behavior that involves unwanted actions, a pattern of behavior repeated over time, and an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying can take many forms. At least one of these behaviors is usually present when bullying occurs:

1. Physical bullying, such as hitting, kicking, shoving, and spitting.

2. Verbal bullying, including insulting comments and name calling.

3. Bullying through social exclusion or isolating an individual or group.

4. Intimidating or singling out an individual or group due to racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, or other differences.

5. Spreading lies or false rumors.

6. Sexual harassment and/or intimidation.

7. Being threatened or forced to do things by students who bully.

8. Cyber bullying using various means of technology, including internet postings, tweets, and text messages.

9. Having possessions damaged or taken by students who bully.

Resources- Download the following resources for more information!

What We Know About Bullying
Children Who Bully
Myths about Bullying
Research Based Articles and Books on Bullying
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What is the school's policy on bullying and how do I report incidents?
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Reporting Procedure

A. Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of bullying or any person with knowledge or belief of conduct that may constitute bullying shall report the alleged acts immediately to an appropriate school district official designated by this policy. A person may report bullying anonymously. However, the school district’s ability to take action against an alleged perpetrator based solely on an anonymous report may be limited.

B. The school district encourages the reporting party or complainant to use the report form available from the principal of each building or available from the school district office, but oral reports shall be considered complaints as well.

C. The building principal and/or the building counselor (hereinafter building report taker) are the people responsible for receiving reports of bullying at the building level. The principal and counselor will communicate and share information after receiving a report. Any person may report bullying directly to a school district human rights officer or the superintendent. If the complaint involves the building report taker, the complaint shall be made or filed directly with the superintendent or the school district human rights officer by the reporting party or complainant.

D. A teacher, school administrator, volunteer, contractor, or other school employee shall be particularly alert to possible situations, circumstances, or events that might include bullying. Any such person who receives a report of, observes, or has other knowledge or belief of conduct that may constitute bullying shall inform the building report taker immediately. School district personnel who fail to inform the building report taker of conduct that may constitute bullying in a timely manner may be subject to disciplinary action.

E. Reports of bullying are classified as private educational and/or personnel data and/or confidential investigative data and will not be disclosed except as permitted by law.

F. Submission of a good faith complaint or report of bullying will not affect the complainant’s or reporter’s future employment, grades, or work assignments, or educational or work environment.

G. The school district will respect the privacy of the complainant(s), the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the school district’s obligation to investigate, take appropriate action, and comply with any legal disclosure obligations.

Click on the link below to download Policy 514 on School Bullying Prohibition and/or Reporting Form

Policy 514 Bullying Prohibition
Bullying Incident Reporting Form
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What can kids do? (Info for Elementary students)
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Are you being bullied? Nobody likes to be picked on. What can you do?
• Speak up against bullying. Say something like, "Stop it".
• Walk away. Act like you do not care, even if you really do.
• Tell an adult you trust. They may be able to intervene or give ideas to help.
• Stick together. Staying with a group might help.

Things to remember...
• You are not alone.
• It is not your fault. Nobody should be bullied!
• Talk to someone you trust.
• Do not hurt yourself.
• Do not bully back. Do not bully anyone else.

Has someone called you a bully? Think about what you are doing!
• If someone did the same thing to you, would you be hurt?
• Remember that making others feel bad is wrong.
• Know that everyone is different, but different does not mean better or worse.
• Try getting to know others who are not like you. You may find out that you are more alike than you think.

Have you seen bullying? You can help stop bullying. Try one or more of these ideas.
• If it is safe, speak up. Say something like, "Stop it".
• Tell an adult. Kids who are being bullied are sometimes scared to tell an adult. That is where you can come in--- tell an adult, like your principal, counselor, teacher or coach. You can talk to them in person or leave them a note.
• Be a friend to the person who is being bullied. You can talks to them, sit by them at lunch, or play with them at recess.
• Set a good example. Do not bully others.
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What can kids do? (Info for Junior and Senior High students)
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If you have been bullied, it may affect you in many ways. You may not want to go to school or may find it hard to do your homework. You may be losing sleep, eating more or less than usual, having headaches or stomachaches, or getting sick more often. Know that you do not have to feel this way.

Your Feelings are Important
• Do not blame yourself- It is easy to question whether you are the problem. But no matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.
• Be proud of who you are- No matter what they say, there are wonderful things about you. Keep those in mind instead of the disrespectful messages you get from the people who are bullying you.
• Do not be afraid to get help- Sometimes it helps to just talk to someone who is not personally involved. Teachers, counselors, and others are there to help. Seeing a counselor or other professional does not mean there is something wrong with you.

What to Do When You Are Being Bullied
The first priority is always your safety. Here are some strategies for you to consider:

• Tell them to stop.
• Walk away. Do not let them get to you. If you walk away or ignore them, they will not get that satisfaction.
• Protect yourself. Sometimes you cannot walk away. If you are being physically hurt, protect yourself so that you can get away.
• Tell an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. In some cases, adults need to get involved for the bullying to stop.
• Find a safe place. Go somewhere that you feel safe and secure like the library, a favorite teacher's classroom, or the office.
• Stick together. Stay with a group or individuals that you trust.
• Find opportunities to make new friends. Explore your interests and join school or community activities such as sports, drama, or art. Volunteer or participate in community service.

Has someone called you a bully?
You may feel pressured to bully others if your friends are doing it. You may think that you will no longer be popular or that you may be bullied yourself if you do not join in. Sometimes you may think that you are just joking around but your words and your actions may actually be hurting someone. Did you know that teens who bully are more likely to have poor grades, drop out of school, use drugs, or commit crimes?

Put Yourself in Their Shoes
• Consider how they must feel. If it seems like you are hurting them at all, stop.
• Ask the person being bullied how they feel. Maybe they are afraid or too embarrassed to say something.
• Do not let your friends bully others. If your friends are bullying others, help them see how they are hurting others.

Make it Right
• Apologize. Sometimes telling someone you are sorry can go a long way.
• Focus on doing things differently from now on. Although you cannot change what has happened, you can change how you treat others in the future. Get Help
• Talk with an adult. They may have good ideas about what you can do to change how you treat others.
• Ask for help. Seeing a counselor or a health professional may be helpful. Sometimes it is good to talk with someone who is not personally involved to help you find solutions.

Take a Stand Against Bullying
Everyone has the right to feel safe in their school and community. If you see someone being bullied, you have the power to stop it. By standing up for someone who is being bullied, you are not just helping someone else; you are also helping yourself. It is important to help others when you can.

What to Do When Someone is Being Bullied
• Take a stand and do not join in. Make it clear that you do not support what is going on.
• Do not watch someone being bullied. If you feel safe, tell the person to stop. If you do not feel safe saying something, walk away and get others to do the same. If you walk away and do not join in, you have taken their audience and power away.
• Support the person being bullied. Tell them that you are there to help. Offer to either go with them to report the bullying or report it for them.
• Talk to an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a parent, teacher or another adult that you trust to discuss the problem, especially if you feel like the person may be at risk of serious harm to themselves or others.

Work to Prevent Bullying
Bullying is less likely to occur when there are strong messages against it. Work with your school, community, or other groups to create and support these messages:
• Get involved with your school and community to find ways to prevent bullying.
• Create an assembly, performance, or event to spread the message.
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What can parents, teachers, and a community do to help?
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Parents, teachers and an entire community can help to identify and support children who are bullied; redirect the behavior of children who bully; and change the attitudes of adults and youth who tolerate bullying behaviors in peer groups, schools and communities.

Consider the following proactive prevention and intervention efforts:

1. State clearly that bullying in any form is unacceptable and then work hard to identify and promote positive behaviors.

2. Take complaints of bullying very seriously by immediately caring for and attending to the needs of the person who is the target of the bullying.

3. Help those who are bullying take responsibility for their behavior by holding them accountable and by helping them change their behaviors.

4. Confront the offending student privately. Doing so in public can reinforce the bullying behavior and make things worse for the person being bullied.

5. Increase your knowledge of the various ways kids are bullied and be familiar with the support that is available.

6. If someone is being bullied, ask how you can help.

7. Be inclusive of all children when planning school or outside activities.

8. Be aware that your behavior is an example for your child/student. Be a positive role model!

9. Learn, practice, and teach specific skills such as anger management and peaceful problem-solving strategies.

Click on the link below to download an information sheet for community members.

Community-Based Bullying Prevention: Tips for Community Members
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What can a school do to help address bullying?
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Below are tips schools can use to address the issue of bullying.

1. Raise school-wide awareness of the seriousness of bullying through speakers, review of anti-bullying policies and other initiatives.

2. Use student surveys to determine the extent of bullying behavior in your school.

3. School administrators, teachers, athletic coaches and other staff must consistently enforce the District policies and intervene if bullying occurs.

4. Address the student code of silence. Encourage students to file complaints when they are bullied or witness bullying.

5. A school district should investigate every report it receives about bullying.

6. The school district should take steps to protect the complainant or reporter pending completion of the investigation. Many students fear reporting a bully because of concerns "they will be next."

7. Upon completion of the investigation, the school district should take immediate action. Disciplinary action may include a warning, suspension, or expulsion depending on the nature and severity of the bullying. Some school districts are finding success using restorative justice strategies.

8. Depending on the situation, some forms of bullying may constitute criminal conduct. Just as school districts report weapons and drug offenses to the police, they should report bullying activities that are criminal in nature to the police or juvenile authorities.

9. Districts should keep appropriate records documenting any action to stop bullying.

10. The worst reaction to a complaint is to do nothing, or be perceived as doing nothing. Although many student complaints about other students will fall into the teasing/name-calling category of typical student misconduct that can be dealt with swiftly and immediately be the staff person involved, some will require more serious action.
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What is Cyber-bulling?
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Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time.
Be Smart While Online and While Texting
You can prevent cyberbullying by being careful of what you do:

• Always think about what you post or say. Do not share secrets, photos or anything that might be embarrassing to you or others. What seems funny or innocent at the time could be used against you. You do not have complete control over what others forward or post.

• Set privacy settings on your accounts. Make sure that you are only sharing information with people you know and trust. Pay attention to notices from social networks, because sometimes privacy settings change.
Make Cyberbullying Stop
If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, know that it does not have to be this way. There things you can do to help you and your friends:

• Talk with someone you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. Reach out to a family member, friend or another adult that you trust.

• Do not respond to cyberbullying. Sometimes people post or text teasing or name-calling to get a reaction. If someone has posted or sent a message that could be hurtful to others, refuse to pass it along or respond to it.

• Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, e-mails, and text messages.

• Block the person who is cyberbullying you. Many websites and phone companies let you block people. Also, cyberbullying may violate the “Terms and Conditions" of these services. Consider contacting the service provider to file a complaint.

• Report the incident to your school. They may be able to help you resolve the cyberbullying or be watchful for face-to-face bullying.

• Ask for help. Sometimes, talking to a counselor or health professional can help you get through the emotional effects of bullying

Cyberbullying Resource
Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online
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What is sexting?
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"Sexting" (sex + texting) is the practice of sending or posting sexually suggestive test messages and images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via cell phone or over the internet.

Fox 9 News recently conducted a survey of Minnesota teenagers during the state high school hockey and basketball tournaments. The survey yielded the following results:
• 74% of teens said they, or someone they knew, had used their cell phone for sexting.
• 35% of teens admitted someone had asked them to take naked pictures of themselves.
• 76% knew that sexting could get them in trouble with the law.
• 39% of teens view sexting as "no big deal" or just being "flirtatious."

It is a "big deal"! In this electronic age, pictures are easily shared and can spread rapidly from person to person and globally over the internet. There are also criminal implications if those involved are minors. The photos are considered child pornography and possession of the images can be a felony.

Cyberbullying Resource
Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online
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What is LGBTQ Bullying?
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Young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth (LGBTQ) may be more at-risk for bullying. Compared to their heterosexual peers, some LGBTQ kids, teens and young adults are at increased risk for bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors.

If you experience bullying or violence for any reason, you have a right to:

• Live your life free from fear
• Be safe and protected
• A supportive home, community and/or school environment
• Thrive physically, psychologically, socially and academically

If you experience bullying or violence because you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ), or others think you are LGBTQ, remember that you:

• Matter and have a place in the world
• Are not alone - help and support is available
• Can be proud of who you are

Schools and families can provide a supportive environment to make sure ALL students are safe.

• Children, teens, and young adults, whether LGBT or straight, thrive in their communities and schools when they feel accepted and supported.

• Make a difference. Supportive, caring people in a young person’s life can make a tremendous difference and promote a protective environment. This is especially important for LGBT individuals who may be isolated from or rejected by people who are important to them.

• Build strong connections. Young people who are LGBT need strong connections to their families, friends, schools, and communities.

• Prohibit bullying. When community organizations, schools, and workplaces prohibit bullying, harassment, and violence, they promote healthy, supportive and accepting environments.

• Support strong anti-bullying efforts. Policies, procedures, and activities designed to prevent bullying send a clear message that helps reduce verbal and physical harassment. These efforts can help reduce suicide risk and provide a supportive environment for LGBT students and young adults.
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What is the difference between Harassment and Bullying?
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The two can be similar and are sometimes related. In come cases, bullying is also considered to be harassment. If a student is targeted based on his/her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected class, state or federal laws may come into play.