Safe at School - A Bullying Program
The Child Abuse Prevention Council Windsor-Essex County delivered the Kids on the Block Safety and Physical and Sexual Abuse Programs from 1988 to the present day (now under the auspices of the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society). After assessing a need within our community, we decided to launch our newest program, Safe at School. This program has been developed to educate children about the issue of bullying, promote sensitivity toward peers, and to provide strategies to help children cope with or avoid bad situations.
Kids on the Block's Bullying Program was made possible by a grant from Green Shield Canada.
Safe at School is designed to:
- Define and explain what constitutes bullying
- Encourage children to talk about their feelings and about unjust situations
- Increase awareness and acceptance of human similarities and differences
- Encourage children to be confident in their own sense of right and wrong
- Encourage children to reject unacceptable behaviours in others
- Provide skills and tools to help children solve their own problems
- Demonstrate how students, school administrators, teachers and parents can work together to create a fair system and promote safety in the school environment
Safe at School Characters Are:
Eddy Franklin - Eddy is a 10 year old boy with a big problem. He is getting bulllied at school. Every day the same kid is picking on him, calling him names, and taking his lunch money. The bully threatens to hurt him if he tells anyone else.
Clare Sanchez - Eddy's friend Clare is 14. Clare experienced similar feelings and understands firsthand how it feels to dread going to school. Through Clare the audience learns about social bullying and is inspired by this brave and bodacious teen who always finds a way to make a difference.
Melody James - Melody is 11 years old and sensitive to the feelings of her peers. When her friends are facing challenges, she is quick to get involved and aid in resolving problems.
Safe at School Scripts are:
You’re Not the Boss of Me! - Eddy is having trouble with a bully. Eddy teaches children that it is common to feel afraid and confused when confronted by a bully. Clare provides Eddy with some much needed friendship and support.
Rescue or Report - Eddy and Melody address ways in which children who witness teasing or acts of bullying can respond to help diffuse the situation. The script demonstrates how kids can help to protect each other by rejecting bullying behaviour.
Safe At School - Melody, Clare and Eddy discuss their school’s safety plan. They talk about how kids, teachers, parents and principals may be involved in creating such a plan.
What is Bullying?
Bullying occurs when a stronger, more powerful person hurts, frightens or threatens a smaller or weaker person deliberately (on purpose) and repeatedly. In its truest form, bullying is a series of repeated, intentionally cruel incidents, involving the same children, in the same bully and victim roles. This, however, does not mean that in order for bullying to occur there must be repeat offenses. Bullying can consist of a single interaction.
Common Characteristics of Bullying
It is common for kids to joke around with each other, tease, name-call, or rough-house. These incidents are not necessarily defined as bullying when they occur between certain children. The difference lies in the relationship of the bully and victim, and in the intent of the interaction. Usually the bully and target are not friends.* Also, the bully's intention is to cause harm, distress or induce fear in the target. In a bullying situation, there is a power difference between the bully and the victim. For instance, the bully may be bigger, tougher, or physically stronger than the victim. The bully may be able to intimidate others or have the power to exclude others from their social group. The intention of bullying is to put the victim in distress in some way.
*Relational or social forms of bullying such as gossip, spreading of rumours, exclusion and cyber bullying is more prevalent among friends or within friend groups than some of the other forms of bullying.
Markers of Bullying
Imbalance of Power - The bully is somehow bigger, stronger or more powerful than the victim. The victim is weaker, smaller, or less powerful. The victim may be shy, passive, timid, stand out in some way, or be unlikely to respond to the bully's overtures. The bully consciously selects targets that they will be able to overpower.
Intent to Harm - The bully's goal is to cause emotional or physical harm.
Repetition - The actions are repeated, and continue over time. Children occupy the same bully and victim roles. (Note: an act of bullying can occur one time.)
Escalation - The actions of the bully may become more aggressive, threatening or violent over time.