Bullying Prevention

Students have the right to a caring, respectful, and safe school environment free from all forms of bullying. All school staff members will take steps to prevent bullying and to assist and support students who are being bullied.

Shared Understandings of Unwanted Behaviour

Harassment is any unwanted comment or behaviour by an individual or group towards another which is perceived to be hurtful, intimidating, or alienating. Harassment may include unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person’s body, attire, gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background, place of birth, citizenship, ancestry, age, physical size or weight, religion, marital status, family status or ability. Harassment is against the law. Harassment can consist of a single incident. It is common, however, for harassment to involve a series of unwanted, often subtle, incidents over time.

Bullying is repeated harassment. Bullying is generally identified as a form of hurtful behaviour that is repeatedly directed at an individual or group from a position of power. Identical to harassment, bullying behaviour can take many forms. It can be physical (i.e. hitting, pushing, tripping), verbal (i.e. name calling, insults, put-downs), social (i.e. social isolation, gossip) or cyber (i.e. threats, insults or harmful messages spread through the Internet). Bullying can be direct, “in your face” confrontation, or indirect, “behind your back”, such as spreading rumours. The seriousness of any offending behaviour must also be considered through the criteria of intentionality, balance of power, and the pattern of behaviour.

It is important to differentiate between bullying and conflict which is expected to be a normal occurrence during any social interactions. Conflicts are natural and enable individuals to develop appropriate problem solving and social skills. Play-fighting, rough and tumble play, and playful teasing among friends of equal power may be inappropriate, but should not be considered bullying. Such behaviour should be looked upon as part of normal growth and development. It is through such interactions that children learn the skills necessary to make friends, resolve conflicts, and develop positive relationships with others.

We believe that bullying is a serious problem that adversely affects the learning success and well-being of children and youth. A child or young person being bullied feels helpless in trying to stop it and this can affect their ability to learn. Consequently, bullying in any form will not be tolerated.

Notes from the PSSD Harassment Protocol:

  • Severity increases with repetition – i.e. repeated name-calling or shoving becomes more damaging.
  • Degrees of intention are often difficult to determine.
  • There are different modes of bullying and harassment that span the levels of severity – i.e. teasing, social rejection, or threats of sexual acts can occur via facial expression or cyber modes.
  • Age and developmental level are considered in assessing severity (i.e.: Spitting by a kindergarten student may be level 1, whereas spitting by a grade 8 student may be level 3.)
  • The lines between the levels are blurred.
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
  • rough play
  • pushing and shoving
  • spitting
  • clear intentions to hurt
  • punching, kicking
  • inflicting bodily harm
  • use of a weapon
  • teasing
  • name-calling
  • intimidation
  • racial slurs
  • swearing
  • threats of harm
  • threatening use of
  • weapon – danger to life
  • dirty looks
  • gossiping
  • ignoring
  • spreading rumors
  • exclusion from a group
  • social rejection
  • intolerance
  • severe alienation
  • public humiliation
  • group harassment
  • public-wide distribution via email
  • jokes with a sexual theme
  • innuendo
  • innuendo
  • comments on physical
  • character-issues
  • sexual gestures
  • sexual touching
  • threats of sexual acts
  • forcing sexual acts
  • pornography


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