Today we celebrated "Pink T-Shirt Day" in support of anti-bullying. Please check our calendar for our next pink t-shirt day!
The pink t-shirt campaign was started by two high school students in Nova Scotia, who saw a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. That day, the two grade 12 students went and bought 75 pink tank tops for all their friends to wear and the movement has grown from there. Please check out this website for more information. You are also able to order an anti-bullying pink t-shirt directly off this site. http://pinkshirtday.ca/
In March 2014, our school counselor and psychologist, Brenda Petrie, wrote an interesting article called "Conflict, Meanness and Bullying". It provides some excellent clarity around these issues. Please take some time to read the article below.
Conflict, Meanness and Bullying
This past week many schools across the country declared February 26, 2014 as National Pink Shirt Day. Students were encouraged to wear something pink to symbolize that society will not tolerate bullying anywhere. As bullying behavior becomes a topic of discussion I think it is also important to discuss what bullying is not. Peer conflict and mean behavior are not the same as bullying.
Bullying is when one child clearly has power over another child with regards to age, size, social status, etc. The intention of the bullying behavior is to harm or hurt the victim. The behavior is clearly not accidental and is intended to be mean and hurtful. Bullying behavior is not a one-shot-deal. The behavior is repeated over time and becomes more serious with repetition. There is an implied or real threat that the bullying behavior will not stop.
Bullying differs from peer conflict. Conflict is a natural component of human relationships. As resolutions skills are developing, children may say mean things or physically hurt one another by hitting or kicking due to their lack of being able to manage their emotions. In peer conflict, the children involved will usually have a history of choosing to play or hang out together. They are often of equal social power, size and age. All children involved in the conflict will be upset and they will be interested in working things out with adult guidance.
Mean behavior is a component of bullying but mean behavior is not always bullying. Children may struggle with asserting themselves and instead say or do mean things such as making fun of someone, calling names, taking something without asking, or leaving a child out of a social situation. Although this is mean, it is not usually planned, and the behavior is due to lack of awareness, is spontaneous, or occurs by chance. The child who is being mean usually feels badly when an adult points out to the child that they have behaved meanly. Remorse is often evident with a willingness to change the mean behavior.
How adults respond is important. Peer conflict can be resolved through adult directed resolution skills. Mean behavior needs to be correctly immediately, as it is much easier to correct a child after one mean experience than to change a pattern of cruelty that has become a habit. Children who are being mean need to be stopped firmly and respectfully, and be coached as to how to handle future situations more effectively. Bullying requires a more in depth response that includes investigation into the situation, ensuring the safety of the victim and careful monitoring of the child who bullied to prevent reoccurrence. As children mature, they need adults to guide them in managing tough peer situations, whether it is conflict, meanness, or bullying.