What An Anti-Bullying Policy Should Look Like

An Anti-Bullying Policy Developed by the U.S. Army Garrisons in Europe and Department of Defense Dependence Schools (DoDDS) Signed This Week

For the past week I’ve visited four US Army and US Air Force Garrisons in Germany and it has been a thrill. I was invited by the Installation Management Command (IMCOM Europe) to train school, child and youth professionals as well as parents in bullying prevention. I trained dozens of parents, child and youth workers and educators in bullying prevention, conducted student focus groups on bullying to gather their input and give them a voice, listened to briefings by the IMCOM-Europe Bullying Prevention Program and met with supervisors as well as the Garrison Commanders.

My proudest moment was when I received a special medal for my work in bullying prevention by the US Army Commander. (I just had to include the photo. The medal causes quite a commotion each time I go through airport security – which I take as a good thing).

U.S. Army Installations in Europe are committed to ensure that their students feel safe both in and out of schools. Thousands of children are enrolled in Department of Defense Dependence (DoDD) Schools in Europe.

The policy was created by a team of twenty-five educators, child and youth professionals, social workers, law enforcement officers in Europe and was led by Judi Patrick, Imcom-Europe School Liaison Officer. It took over a year to create.

This is one of the most thorough anti-bullying policies I’ve seen because it not only defines bullying, but also stipulates the kind of behavior that is expected (respect) as well as consequences. That thoroughness helps to ensure implementation compliance. And they have created one that applies to their unique culture-which is critical. It also describes the kind of discipline that should be used – one based on respect, restitution and restorative justice.

I watched the US Army Installation Commanders of two of those garrisons as well as their school principals sign a special anti-bullying policy at public events attended by parents, staff and the community.

If you’re looking to create an anti-bullying policy, here is one to use as a benchmark. Just remember, an effective policy must be organic so it addresses your population’s needs, is based on data-driven evidence, clearly defines bullying and expectations for all staff, students and community, addresses the victim as well as the bully and addresses respect, restitution, reconciliation, and resolution.

The U.S. Army Garrison and DoDD Schools are committed to making our community and school safe, caring, and welcoming places for all our children and youth.  We will treat each other with respect, and we will refuse to tolerate bullying in any form in our community or at our school.

Our community and school define respect as follows: Treat others with the dignity and regard you would want to be treated with.

Our community and school define bullying as follows:  Bullying is a mean and one-sided activity intended to harm where those doing the bullying get pleasure from a targeted child’s pain and/or misery. Bullying can be verbal, physical, and/or relational; have as its overlay race, ethnicity, religion, gender (including sexual orientation), physical, or mental ability; includes all forms of hazing and cyberbullying.  It can be and often is continuous and repeated over time, however, once is enough to constitute bullying.

Bullying that happens off of school grounds, including all forms of cyberbullying can impact the feeling of safety the targeted child has upon returning to school with the perpetrator(s) and can create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for all students. The school and the Civilian Misconduct Action Authority (CMAA) will address these actions when necessary for the well-being and safety of the community and all students involved.  All suspension and expulsion documents, if forwarded to the CMAA, may be used as aggravating factors when considering administrative action in juvenile civilian misconduct under Army Europe Regulation 27-9.

Examples of bullying include but are not limited to:

  • Taunting
  • Using put-downs, such as insulting or making fun of someone’s race, religion, physical ability or disability, mental ability or disability, gender—including perceived or actual sexual orientation
  • Threatening or ganging up on someone
  • Stealing or damaging another person’s things (stealing or damaging can also be considered a criminal offense)
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Physically hurting a targeted child, including, but not limited to hitting, kicking, tripping, pushing, shoving
  • Unwanted touching, patting, grabbing, hugging, kissing, cornering, blocking passage, bumping (can be considered a form of assault which is a criminal offense)
  • Shunning or purposefully excluding a targeted student or trying to get other students not to play with targeted child
  • Using a cell phone, gaming device, the Internet, or other social media to threaten, stalk, ridicule, humiliate, taunt, spread rumors, lock out of a game, or hack into a targeted child’s account
  • Hazing, i.e. “any intentional, knowing, or reckless act by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, or holding office in an organization”

Adults in our community and staff at our school will do the following to prevent bullying and help children feel safe:

  • Closely supervise children and youth in all areas of the Child, Youth and School (CYS) Services and school (to include the school and playground)
  • Watch for signs of bullying behavior and stop it when it happens
  • Teach the Steps to Respect program and/or other supplemental Social Skills lessons to increase awareness and empowerment in all children and youth in our school and CYS Services (It is the school culture and social environment that these policies, procedures, and programs create as well as reflect)
  • Provide training opportunities for students and families regarding awareness and prevention of bullying
  • Take seriously families’ concerns about bullying and create a procedure for reporting
  • Look into all reported bullying incidents and respond quickly and appropriately
  • Assign consequences for bullying based on the school discipline code.
  • Maintain open communication between CYS Services staff and school staff for optimal support of all children involved in a bullying incident
  • Provide immediate consequences for retaliation against students who report bullying

Children and Youth in our Community will do the following to prevent bullying:   

  • Treat each other respectfully
  • Refuse to bully others
  • Refuse to let others be bullied
  • Refuse to watch, laugh, or join in when someone is being bullied
  • Report bullying to an adult
  • Try to include everyone in play and social interaction, especially those who are often left out

Discipline Procedures for Bullying in School

Consequences for bullying will always include a procedure for holding accountable for their actions the perpetrator(s) and any bystanders who played an active supporting role in the bullying. Other procedures can range from positive behavioral interventions to expulsion from school.  These consequences are dependent on the nature and severity of the behavior, the age of the student and the student’s past behavior.  The purpose of these procedures is for holding student(s) accountable for the bullying, preventing another occurrence, and protecting the targeted child.

Consequences for bullying may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Notify parents/guardian of the incident and consequences
  • Assisting the perpetrator(s) to find more appropriate ways to relate to peers
  • Conference with teacher, principal, and/or parent
  • Referral to school counselor
  • Corrective instruction
  • Behavior management plan
  • Temporary removal from the classroom
  • Loss of school privileges
  • Classroom or administration detention
  • In-school suspension
  • Out of school suspension
  • Legal action
  • Expulsion

Note:  If the school can handle the behavior problem internally, it is within their right to do so.  Should the behavior escalate, or present a danger to the order, discipline, and safety of the Garrison, the individual should be referred to the Assistant Civilian Misconduct Action Authority (ACMAA).  Any behavior that constitutes a criminal act or breaks the law must be reported to the military Police with a notification to the ACMAA.

Discipline Procedure for Bullying in CYS Services

Consequences for bullying will always include a procedure for holding accountable for their actions the perpetrator(s) and any bystanders who played an active supporting role in the bullying. Other procedures can range from positive behavioral interventions to removal from the program.  These consequences are dependent on the nature and severity of the behavior, the age of the youth and the youth’s past behavior.  The purpose of these procedures is for holding perpetrator(s) accountable for the bullying, preventing another occurrence, and protecting the targeted youth.

Consequences for bullying may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Notify parents/guardian of the incident and consequences
  • Assisting the perpetrator(s) to find more appropriate ways to relate to peers.
  • Conference with youth and/or parent
  • Referral to Social Work Services, such as Social Work Services, Garrison Chaplain and Military Family Life Counselors
  • Corrective instruction
  • Behavior management plan
  • Community Service—as determined by the CMAA
  • Temporary loss of CYS Services program privileges as determined by Program Director and CYS Services Coordinator
  • Loss of logistical support as determined by the CMAA
  • Legal action
  • Removal from all CYS Services programs

Note:  If CYS Services can handle the behavior problem internally, it is within their right to do so.  Should the behavior escalate, or present a danger to the order, discipline, and safety of the Garrison, the individual should be referred to the ACMAA.  Any behavior that constitutes a criminal act or breaks the law must be reported to the Military Police with a notification to the ACMAA.

Support for a Target of Bullying

The effects of bullying on the targeted youth cannot be over emphasized.  Isolation, lack of friends and/or support, and a feeling of helplessness that targets of bullying experience can be devastating.  The Garrison and School will ensure that targeted youth receive all support necessary. Actions may include but are not limited to:

  • Notify parents/guardians immediately of the incident.  Give them the method to use to report any further targeting of their child.
  • Take effective measures to keep the targeted youth safe at school and at CYS Services; give him/her tools to stand up to the perpetrator(s), and support to keep the targeted youth from succumbing to the bullying.
  • Identify a person or persons to whom the targeted youth can safely report any further        bullying incidents.
  • Should the targeted youth appear to be in immediate danger of hurting himself/herself; parents will be notified without delay.  If parents are not available, the Military Police will be contacted and asked for an immediate and emergency referral to Social Work Services.
  • Should the behavior be a concern to the well-being and safety of the community, the ACMAA will be contacted.
  • Provide referrals to counseling services, such as Social Work Services, Garrison Chaplain and Military Family Life Counselors.
  • Maintain open communication between CYSS staff and school staff for optimal support of the targeted youth.

Important note on Discipline vs. Punishment:

Punishment is adult oriented, imposes power from without, arouses anger and resentment, invites more conflict, exacerbates wounds rather than heals them; is preoccupied with blame and pain; does not consider reasons or look for solutions; does something to a student; involves a strong element of judgment; and demonstrates a teacher’s ability to control a student.

Discipline is not judgmental, arbitrary, confusing, or coercive. It is not something we do to students. It is working with them. It is a process that gives life to a student’s learning. It is restorative, and invites reconciliation. Its goal is to instruct, guide, and help students develop self-discipline—an ordering of the self from the inside, not an imposition from the outside.

The process of discipline does four things the act of punishment cannot do:

  1. Shows students what they have done.
  2. Gives them as much ownership of the problem that they can handle.
  3. Gives them options for solving the problem.
  4. Leaves their dignity intact.

For mistakes, mischief, and mayhem that unintentionally or intentionally create serious problems of great consequence, the Three R’s—restitution, resolution, and reconciliation—are incorporated into the four steps of discipline.

R.S.V.P.–Consequences need to be Reasonable, Simple, Valuable, and Practical.

Signed on _____________________________________

Garrison Commander                                                     School Principal

Note of explanation:

Civilian Misconduct Action Authority=Garrison Commander

Assistant Civilian Misconduct Action Advisor=staff member that serves as action advisor to the Garrison

Dr. Michele Borba

Special thanks to Judi Patrick, Imcom-Europe School Liaison Officer

© 2012 Provided by www.micheleborba.com 

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