Leesburg Elementary School Counselors’ Corner
What is bullying?
Leesburg Elementary School, along with other Loudoun County Public Schools, implements a bullying prevention program to teach students how to identify bullying behavior and appropriate ways to handle bullying. Leesburg Elementary School implements this program in grades K-5 classroom guidance lessons and activities each year. Though the term "bullying" is used frequently, it is often used incorrectly, and true bullying situations are quite rare. See the graphic and info below to learn more about the specifics of what bullying is - and what it isn't.
What is bullying?
Bullying is a repeated aggressive behavior where one person (or group of people) in a position of power deliberately intimidates, abuses, or coerces an individual with the intention to hurt that person physically or emotionally. Acts of bullying can be physical or verbal. Many young people can be unkind to each other during adolescence as they refine social skills and grow into adults. While these interactions are unpleasant, there is a clear line between conflict and bullying. Incidents of bullying must include all 3 of these characteristics:
1) Intentional- the behavior was aggressive and a deliberate attempt to hurt another person
2) Repeated- these aggressive actions occur repeatedly over time to the same person or group of people
3) Power imbalance- the person bullying has more physical or social power than the child or children being bullied
Bullying almost always takes an emotional toll upon the child being bullied, but the actions that constitute bullying vary. There are four types of bullying, which can occur separately or simultaneously:
1) Physical bullying such as kicking or pushing
2) Verbal bullying such as name-calling or yelling
3) Relational bullying such as excluding or rumor-spreading
4) Cyberbullying which involves sending hurtful messages over digital devices like computers and cell phones.
Cyberbullying continues to increase as digital media become more prevalent in the social culture of children and teens.
Roles in a True Bullying Situation
Situations involving bullying are often more complex than they seem. Three widely recognized roles in bullying situations are victim, bully, and bystander. However, bullying situations are rarely simple. Youth who are victims of bullying may also act as bullies under some circumstances.
Youth bystanders can either exacerbate a bullying situation, or intervene to stop it. Bystanders who make the bullying worse do so by either participating in the bullying themselves or providing the bully with an encouraging audience. Helpful bystanders, on the other hand, stand up for the victim when they see bullying occur, or get someone else who can help.
Be cautious about labeling. While we use the terms “victim,” “bully,” and “bystander” to refer to the roles that youth can play, it is important to consider the impact that these labels can have on young people’s identities. Many researchers and educators believe that such labeling sends a message that the bullying behavior cannot change. There are many factors that might influence a youth’s behavior, such as the youth’s peers, family situation, and school climate. While we use the terms victim, bully, and bystander throughout this site for simplicity, we believe it is better to focus on the bullying behaviors, rather than the labels.
Simple STEPS TO STOP BULLYING!
Students should be taught that if they experience or observe bullying behavior they should tell the perpetrator to “stop”.
Sometimes, even when students tell others to “stop”, problem behavior continues. When this happens, students are to "walk” away from the problem behavior.
Even when students use “stop” and they “walk” away from the problem, sometimes students will continue to behave inappropriately toward them. When that happens, students should "talk" to an adult.
Ways to Work with Your School
What can you expect staff at your child’s school to do about bullying?
School staff will investigate accusations of bullying as soon as possible. After investigating your concerns, they will inform you about any necessary action to be taken to support your student and ensure that he or she is safe and feels comfortable at school.
Give the school reasonable time to investigate and hear both sides of the story. Sometimes, a child who bullies will make false allegations about a child as an additional way of bullying them. Educators are trained not to jump to conclusions and assign blame without a thorough assessment of the situation. (www.stopbullyingnow.com)
Please feel free to contact our school counselor or administrators for any information or concerns at (571) 252-2860. You can also visit the Loudoun County Public Schools website and visit the School Counseling Services section for more information.