October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Bullying in Elementary School

Bullying Starts from the First Day of Kindergarten

Bullying is a form of elementary school violence and begins right from the first day of kindergarten. By the end of Kindergarten, over 20% of students report being bullied. By the end of elementary school, 9 of 10 students report being bullied at one time or another (sciencedaily.com)

What’s often not mentioned are the rewards for those students that bully. Those that are aggressive or violent in elementary school tend to be aggressive in middle school and high school as well with the bullies of elementary school becoming dominant leaders in middle school and high school. The benefits of aggressive or violent behaviour in Elementary School tend not to carry forward after graduation from High School with an estimated 1 in 4 Elementary School bullies going on to have a criminal record.

Where in Elementary Schools Is Bullying a Concern

While peer bullying can happen anywhere at school, elementary school students report feeling the least safe on the playground. This is likely a result of the relative lack of adult supervision outside the classroom.

Advice for Parents: How to Deal with Bullying in Elementary School

Adult intervention is vital in dealing with elementary school bullying, and so it’s crucial that children first feel safe talking with a responsible adult or parent about bullying they may be experiencing.

Parents will then need to contact the teacher or school principal as appropriate. If the situation persists then the next level of authority in the school should be contacted. This person may be a district principal, superintendent, etc.

Once the school is notified, it’s important for parents to ask the school:

  1. how they will keep your child safe while the problem is being investigated
  2. whether the school offers any emotional or psychological support services that may help the victim recover from the bullying.

The government of British Columbia’s 2003 bullying in elementary school pamphlet mentions that parents of bullied students can request the following steps be taken:

  • immediate investigation of the situation
  • a commitment that retribution for making the complaint will not occur, or will be dealt with immediately should it occur
  • a plan of action to prevent further bullying of your child and others
  • if a transfer becomes necessary, your child remain at the school and the bully be transferred to another setting  appropriate counselling for your child to deal with the effects of the bullying
  • information about outside agencies (e.g. police, mental health) if referral is appropriate
  • a transfer, if the fear of bullying is preventing your child from attending school.

You and your child may also request (and will want to request in more serious cases):

  • a person of your choice to accompany you to all meetings, including interviews
  • information on how the investigation will be kept confidential
  • a recording or transcript of the interview or written statement if your child is interviewed by an investigator.

Examples of Elementary School Bullying:

Examples of Physical Bullying:

  • slapping, hitting, pinching, punching,
  • kicking
  • locking in a confined space
  • unwelcome touching
  • extortion

Examples of Verbal Bullying:

  • name-calling
  • unwelcome teasing
  • taunting
  • spreading rumours, gossiping
  • racist or homophobic comments

Examples of Social Bullying:

  • Excluding from a group
  • threatening or insulting graffiti
  • threatening notes, letters, emails, telephone calls
  • threatening words, actions or weapons

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