Holy Trinity School Bully-Proofing Program
EXPECTATIONS FOR A CARING COMMUNITY
- We will use kind words and actions.
- We will not bully others.
- We will help others who are being bullied by speaking out and getting help.
- We will use extra effort to include all students in activities at our school.
Remember the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Philosophy: The goal of the Holy Trinity Bully-Proofing Program is to serve as an early preventative measure against bullying behaviors. It is designed to stop bullying behaviors starting at the elementary level to ensure a safer school environment- one that does not tolerate acts of physical or emotional aggression. The program has four components: staff training, classroom instruction, school-wide policies and a parent component. The classroom curriculum is designed to teach children to recognize bullying behaviors. They also learn why children bully each other and the emotional consequences for victims of bullying. The concept of the “Caring Community” is stressed. Members of the caring community are not the bullies or the victims, but the other 80% of the students who are bystanders. These students can make a tremendous difference in maintaining a safe school environment by taking on the role of an Upstander. Students learn various strategies to help themselves and others, some of which can be found HERE. They learn to use the power of the Caring Community to diffuse the power of students who are choosing bullying behaviors. Students in Kindergarten and first grade begin by learning four strategies:
- Be a Problem Solver
- Use Your Words
- Walk Away
- Get Help
With our older students, we focus on the following kindness strategies:
- Be There – When everyone else looks the other way, be there for the person being bullied
- Build Them Up – Encourage, let them know they are important and there is help available
- Turn a 180 – Redirect negative situations into positive situations to de-escalate bullying
Our bully-proofing program is not designed to be punitive in nature. We do, however, believe in giving consistent consequences for bullying behaviors. The focus is not on punishment, but on a consequence that is appropriate, depending on the type and severity of the bullying. We do not believe in labeling any student as a “bully.” Instead, we focus on bullying behaviors, which many people, even adults, sometimes display. If a student is given a consequence for a bullying behavior, we ask that parents calmly discuss their behavior with them and talk about other more appropriate choices they could make. We encourage adults to model and reinforce with their children how they can be a positive leader and a member of the Caring Community. The bully-Proofing program at Holy Trinity Catholic School is supported by the Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Program (PBIS). PBIS is a school-wide initiative with a consistent set of expectations, positive reinforcements and corrective consequences. Our faith-based character education program is also an important component of our bully-proofing efforts.
Defining Bullying Bullying is any intentional and unwanted act or conduct that is electronic, written, verbal or physical. Often times, students do not consider certain types of behaviors to be bullying, when they actually are. For example, when first introduced to this chart, many students are surprised that different types of social alienation are considered to be bullying. The bullying behaviors chart is posted in all classrooms and helps illustrate the different types of bullying behaviors. The chart helps us maintain a consistent approach and a common language with staff members and students. CLICK HERE for the Types Bullying Behaviors Chart. Sometimes normal peer to peer conflict is misinterpreted as bullying. Click here to see the difference between bullying and peer conflict.
How to Report Incidents of Bullying If your child is dealing with bullying issues and has not been able to resolve them on their own, we want to help. In order to best resolve problems with bullying, we need information as soon after the incident as possible. Students are encouraged to ask for help from their teacher, the playground associate, lunchroom staff, the guidance counselor or an administrator. Often students are reluctant to go to a teacher or staff member for help because they may appear to be weak or a tattle-tale. Many students fear that if they tell, the bullying will get worse. No one should have to suffer in silence. We discuss with students several, “lower risk” ways to ask for help.
- Stop and see the teacher before or after school.
- Write the teacher a note and hand it in with a paper or put it on the teacher’s desk.
- Send the teacher an e-mail.
- Leave the teacher a voicemail at their school extension.
- Talk to your parents. We encourage parents to contact the school to report incidents of bullying behavior.
We ask that you go to your child’s teacher first. If interventions are tried and the bullying persist, the teacher and/or parent may ask for additional help from the guidance counselor or an administrator. We are committed to keeping the source of information confidential. *See procedures for reporting on page 49 of the Holy Trinity Student-Parent Handbook. Tips for parents of victims to give their children:
- Assist your child in knowing who the safe people are within the school to go to when bullied.
- Discuss with them the upstander strategies they have learned at school, and which strategies would be helpful for their situation.
- Don’t react emotionally. Children feed on our emotional reactions as adults. Avoid escalating the situation and the child’s already heightened emotions by staying calm.
- Encourage the student to speak with their teacher immediately when an incident occurs
- Visit yourlifeiowa.org or click HERE for information on a program called Your Life Iowa from the Iowa Department of Public Health. This is a great resource for immediate information and help about bullying and youth suicide.