Bullying at School
Bullying affects all students. It is learned, demonstrated and witnessed throughout elementary and secondary school experiences. The truth is, bullying does not stop there. Bullying is common even at post secondary education…yes, bullying goes to college.
Insult, name-calling, rumours, ignoring are just a few examples of bullying behaviour.
Bullying or Personal Harassment can be verbal or non-verbal and often involves an imbalance in power, real or perceived. Bullies gain momentum and continue their behaviour when their targets are passive and don’t speak out, or when other join in. Bullying stops when people are willing to report it.
Centennial College believes in creating a safe working and learning environment for all. As a result, bullying has been enshrined in policy. Specifically, bullying is called personal harassment and falls under the College’s Violence Prevention Policy.
Bullying is defined as:“Any vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that affects a person’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity.”
- Comments about how someone looks and/or talks
- Damaging property
- Not including someone in group activities
What bullying is NOT.
- Bullying is not about conflict. In conflicts, two or more individuals disagree on a specific topic. People who are in conflict do not intend to harm others, but rather to uphold their own opinion.
- Bullying is not by accident. Bullies are not interested in a fair fight. They prey on vulnerability.
What do I do if I am being bullied?
- Don’t react. Bullies are looking for you to get angry.
- Name the behaviour. Tell the bully that you do not like how they are acting.
- Find allies. Seek out classmates who are supportive.
- Avoid hot spots. Avoid unsafe areas.
- Walk away. Nowhere does it say that you have to stand and take this type of behaviour.
- Report it! As soon as possible, tell someone. You can report bullying to your faculty, Chair, Counseling, Student Services and Campus Security.
The Role of the Bystander
The bullying dynamic involves the bully, the target of the bullying and the bystander(s). Bystanders play an important role. They can either encourage the bully or stop it. By doing nothing, bystanders encourage the bully to continue and can even escalate the behaviour.
- 85% of bullying incidents are witnessed by other students, yet bystanders try to stop the bully only 11% - 22% of the time (Atlas & Pepler, 1998; Craig& Pepler, 1997).
- When the bystanders take an active role, the bullying is stopped within 10 seconds over half of the time (Hawkins, Pepler & Craig, 2001).
- Speak out. Often time, there are confident people in the class who can effective stand up t o the bully. If you are witnessing bullying behaviour, it is you responsibility to name it and call the bully on the behaviour.
- Be supportive. Targets of bullies will feel put down, isolated and alone. Let them know that it is not their fault and that they did not deserve it.
- Get help. Find someone in authority to report it.
- Be inclusive. Take the initiative and include the person being bullied in your group.
What do I do if someone reports bullying to me?
All staff members are obligated to report incidents of violence to Campus Security as per the College’s Violence Prevention Policy. Bullying or Personal Harassment is included under this policy.
- Listen to the complaint. The target of the bullying places you in a position of trust. Listen to them with empathy and let them get it all out.
- Provide support. The College has the resources to assist students. Inform the student of the services of the Counseling office and if required take them down to the campus counseling office. Let the student know that you are taking them seriously and let then know what the next step will be.
- Notify your supervisor, manager and Campus Security. College management has the responsibility to respond. Let them know what was reported and provide any further information you may have. Be confident that the report will make it to Campus Security for appropriate response under College Policy.
Bullying Prevention — How can I stop it?
- Don’t participate. Always be aware of your own behaviour and how you interact with others.
- Be aware of the social interactions of your peers. If you see bullying do something about it. Doing nothing is the same as being a bully yourself.
- Stand up to bullies. If comfortable, be the one who names the behaviour and intervene on behalf of the target.
- Report it. If you witness an incident of bullying, tell someone.
Bullying only happens in environments where it is allowed to happen by the community. This means that the community holds the key to stopping bullying behaviour from happens. Communities such as a classroom, program, campus or College need to stand together and decide as a collective that bullying behaviour will not be tolerated. Only then can we eliminate bullying.