Schools seek to combat bullying

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Nobody likes a bully, right?

The Tucumcari Schools plan to do something about bullying that occurs on the playground as well as in cyberspace.

They are developing an anti-bullying policy that’s required by the state’s Public Education
and staff will go through 11 weeks of book study that will coincide with their regular curriculum.

The courses will provide the staff with the knowledge and skills to recognize bullying, support children who are being bullied and intervene safely and effectively in bullying situations, Largent said.

“The program is in its beginning steps. We hope to have it in place in the curriculum next fall,” said Tucumcari Elementary principal Theresa Stephenson.

In the meantime, a steering committee will be established and parents are being sought to serve on the committee.

The purpose of the committee is for the development of training, implementation of the program into the curriculum and review of school policies, Stephenson said.

“We are asking that parents join the committee and become involved with the program,” Stephenson said.

On Dec. 5 there was a meeting held to discuss the program and its purpose along with policies and procedures.

Currently, all of the past disciplinary referrals are being reviewed to find instances of bullying to how much of a problem bullying has been. Those findings will be discussed at the January meeting of the steering committee, Stephenson said.

“Often the victims or witnesses to bullying are reluctant to tell an adult about the problem because they fear they won’t be believed or that they are ratting someone out,” Largent said.
This program will help them to know the difference between tattling and reporting, Largent said.

l Tattling means a student is trying to get someone in trouble.

l Reporting means a student is trying to keep someone safe.

Bullying not only affects the victim, but also affects the bully, Largent said.

Both parties suffer from psychological damage, she said.

A bully is often projecting his or her own insecurities or feelings of anger. Often the bully is or has been abused or neglected at home and instead of seeking help from an adult, is lashing out, Largent said.

“We hope that the program will be in place in all Quay County schools by 2009,” Largent said.
While 2009 might seem like a long time to get the program into all the schools in Quay County, it is necessary to ensure that the program is set up properly, Largent said.

To learn more about the Steps to Respect program and the steering committee, call 461-8460.

Signs of bullying behavior:
Physically hurting or threatening to hurt someone
• Shakedowns for lunch money.
• Keeping someone from getting a drink.
• Shoving someone up against a wall.
• Taking someone’s homework and refusing to give it back.

Social exclusion
• Saving seats on the bus and not letting someone sit down.
• Whispering a secret in front of someone but not letting that person know the secret.
• Inviting other students to a party, while making sure that the one not invited knows it.

Insults
• Sending nasty notes
• Saying things about the other person in front of peers

Name-calling
• Making up names for someone

Mean gossip and rumors
• Passing a note saying that someone is a gang member
• Saying that someone has head lice

Sexual bullying
• Pulling a bra strap
• Grabbing at private body parts
• Showing and/or drawing pictures

Consequences of Bullying:
Children who bully, tend to:
• Experience further rejection from peers
• Have lower self-esteem than other children
• Feet more lonely, anxious, and insecure
• Avoid and dislike school.

As children who bully grow up, they tend to:
• Commit more crimes
• Commit more driving offenses
• Receive more court convictions
• Report higher incidents of alcoholism
• Experience more antisocial personality disorders
• Use more mental health systems
• And commit more spousal abuse