What is bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
What is cyberbullying?
Instead of happening face-to-face, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social media, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
We all have a role — how to prevent and/or respond to bullying
All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying — may experience negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use and suicide.
Parents, school staff and community members all play an important role in supporting our students when providing for their physical, social and emotional needs. A variety of resources are available regarding bullying/harassment prevention:
- StopBullying.Gov (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services): This site provides information from various government agencies on how children, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and community members can prevent or stop bullying.
- Cyberbullying.org (Cyberbullying Research Center): The Cyberbullying Research Center offers resources for parents, such as cyberbullying warning signs to watch for; tips for how to prevent cyberbullying; what to do when your child is cyberbullied; and what to do when your child cyberbullies others.
- Safe2Tell 1-877-542-SAFE (7233) or safe2tell.org: provides a safe and easy way to anonymously report any threatening behaviors or activities endangering themselves or someone they know.
Supports in Schools
Every school in the Five Star District is staffed with counselors, social workers and school psychologists who are highly trained in supporting students. Through extensive training they are able to assess students at risk for suicide, conflict resolution, bullying, and drug and alcohol abuse education. In addition to these roles, all school staff is taught the signs and symptoms of at-risk behaviors. Our professionals are here to listen to students.
Social emotional learning (SEL) is not a one-size fits all approach in Adams 12 Five Star Schools. Each school determines which SEL programs addressing bullying will be most effective when considering the needs of their specific school and the community it serves. Examples of the variety of SEL programming addressing bullying offered throughout the district include Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Second Step, Journey to a Hate Free Millennium, Signs of Suicide (SOS), Random Acts of Kindness, Peace4Kids, Superflex and Zones of Regulation to name a few.
In addition to programming, all Five Star schools reinforce protective factors for students and families such as:
- Promoting positive relationships with adults in school and at home
- Increasing the availability of after-school activities
- Creating a positive and inclusive culture and climate at the school
- Teaching adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict resolution
- Providing easy access to mental health and health providers
- Emphasizing the importance of open communication with youth and families