The teachers and staff at Fairview Park City Schools are committed to providing a safe learning environment for your child. As you are aware, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been instituted and followed with fidelity. At Gilles-Sweet and the Early Education Center we have provided training for all staff, instituted regular classroom meetings, held school-wide events to promote bullying prevention, adopted specific policies and procedures to address bullying, and recognized and rewarded children for prosocial behavior. However, students still have unstructured and unobserved time and may still be exposed to behaviors that will affect their self-esteem and self-confidence. Ongoing activities in society and recent events in a local school district have served as a reminder of the need to protect our students in school, as well as out of school.
We hope to eliminate bullying and the devastating outcomes that it can produce. We can do that with the help from our parents and community. Please contact your school if you feel your child is a victim of bullying or at risk for suicide. Please talk with your child if you feel he/she is a victim of bullying, at risk for suicide, or if he/she appears to have low self-esteem or self-confidence.
Bullying Warning Signs:
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does my child fear going to school? Is my child anxious about school? Has my child been out sick a lot? Does my child often complain about not feeling well as a way of avoiding school?
- Have I noticed bruises on my child? When I ask my child about the bruises, what is the response?
- Does my child have friends? Who are the friends? Have I seen the way that they interact? Is my child submissive or withdrawn with other children?
- Does my child seem unhappy or insecure? Does my child talk about “nobody liking her” or “not having any friends?” Does my child talk about wanting to hurt someone or get back at someone?
- Does my child seem to have low self-esteem or self-confidence? Does my child have difficulty being assertive?
What You Can Do if You Suspect Your Child Is Being Bullied:
Talking about being bullied may be a difficult thing to do with your child.
Here are some suggestions:
- Talk to a schoolteacher or administrator about the situation. Remember that the school is responsible for providing your child with a safe learning environment.
- Ask your child what takes place in school, what happens when there is free time, how they are feeling. Talk with your child about different aspects of school and how they feel about it.
- Role play with your child and discuss ways they can respond to a bully. Some possibilities might include walking away, telling an adult, or asking for help from peers.
- Teach your child that telling on those who bully should not be considered tattling, and that everyone is a victim when the bully is allowed to treat others badly. Let your child know that by reporting bullying help will come and that support will come from you and from the school staff.
- Encourage your child to talk with friends about bullying. Bullies rarely target kids in groups, so maintaining a peer group that is unified may be helpful in avoiding being the target of bullying behavior.
- Ensure appropriate adult supervision. Be aware of your child’s involvement in activities inside and outside of school. Make certain that adequate adult supervision is present in every situation.
Suicide Warning Signs:
According to the American Society for Suicide Prevention, most of the time, people who kill themselves show one or more of these warning signs before they take action:
- Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun
- Talking about a specific suicide plan
- Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation
- Having the feeling of being a burden to others
- Feeling humiliated
- Having intense anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure
- Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn from friends, family, and others
- Acting irritable or agitated
- Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real
Individuals who show such behaviors should be evaluated for possible suicide risk by a medical doctor or mental health professional. If you suspect your child may be at risk for suicide, take it seriously, 50% to 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention. If someone you know shows the warning signs above, the time to act is now.