Bullying, harassment, and hazing are detrimental to the well-being of students and greatly hinder them from reaching their true academic potential. The DeKalb County School District’s ”BULLYING STOPS HERE!” Awareness Campaign endeavors to stop bullying, harassment, discrimination, and hazing in schools. This comprehensive approach to addressing these issues seeks to educate, not only students, but the entire community of stakeholders.
Students and local school personnel are asked to sign a Bullying Awareness Pledge. Students pledge that they will refrain from participating and/or supporting bullying, harassment, or hazing. Additionally, local school personnel pledge to immediately address bullying, harassment, and intimidation, assist in its prevention and to model appropriate behavior for their students. In this ongoing campaign, schools focus each month on training staff, students, parents, and the community on topics related to bullying, harassment, and hazing. Topics include cyberbullying and cyberethics, bystander response, reporting incidents, kindness, friendship, bias, and respect.
To report student bullying, harassment or hazing, please contact your school or complete and submit the Reporting Form below.
To report weapons, violence, drugs, bullying, harassment, discrimination or a significant threat, call 1-888-475-0482
BULLYING is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose Stopbullying.gov. No single act of bullying, harassment or intimidation will be ignored.
Bullying is not mutual conflict between students.
There must be a real or perceived imbalance of power whereby the bully seeks to impose authority and harm on an innocent student.
Per policy and procedures, principals will ensure that their schools investigate all reports of bullying and follow established protocols to document compliance with the law.
HARASSMENT & BULLYING are terms that tend to be used synonymously but they are not always the same thing. Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on real or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
It may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the Internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating.
Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Unlike bullying, harassment does not always involve a real or perceived power imbalance. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.
HAZING is thought by some to be a college fraternity/sorority “thing”. To the contrary, incidents of hazing occur in K-12 schools throughout the country and can be equal to or more harmful than what happens on university/college campuses. As institutions of higher learning are stepping up enforcement on this type of behavior, it is prudent that we partner together to eradicate hazing in our schools. The difference between hazing and bullying is subtle. The same power dynamics are involved. The same intimidation tactics are used. The same second-class citizenship issues arise. The only real difference between bullying and hazing is that bullying can happen to anyone, anytime and is used as a means to exclude someone. Hazing is an instrument of including people by having them earn their way into a group or to raise their level or status in the group. Bullying is about exclusion; hazing, inclusion. Hazing can occur in any school organization; including, but not limited to athletic teams, band, student clubs, cheerleading, dance teams and other extracurricular student organizations.
Bullying, harassment, discrimination and hazing must be addressed immediately. However, it cannot be addressed if it is not reported. Students, parents and stakeholders are urged to report these incidents to school personnel. Familiarize yourself with the policy and procedures and know what steps to take.
Talk to your parents or an adult you can trust, such as a teacher, counselor, or principal. Many teens who are targets of bullies do not talk to adults because they feel embarrassed, ashamed, or fearful, and they believe they should be able to handle the problem on their own. Others believe that involving adults will only make the situation worse. While in some cases it is possible to end bullying without adult intervention, in other more extreme cases, it is necessary to involve school officials and even law enforcement. Talk to a trusted adult who can help you develop a plan to end the bullying and provide you with the support you need. If the first adult you approach is not receptive, find another adult who will support and help you.
It’s not useful to blame yourself for a bully’s actions. You can do a few things, however, that may help if a bully begins to harass you. Do not retaliate against a bully or let the bully see how much he or she has upset you. If bullies know they are getting to you, they are likely to continue the behavior. If at all possible, stay calm and respond evenly and firmly or else say nothing and walk away. Sometimes you can make a joke, laugh at yourself, and use humor to defuse a situation.
Act confident, hold your head up, stand up straight, make eye contact, and walk confidently. A bully will be less likely to single you out if you project self-confidence.
Try to make friends with other students. A bully is more likely to leave you alone if you are with your friends. This is especially true if you and your friends stick up for each other.
Avoid situations where bullying can happen. If at all possible, avoid being alone with bullies. If bullying occurs on the way to or from school, you may want to take a different route, leave at a different time, or find others to walk to and from school with. If bullying occurs at school, avoid areas that are isolated or unsupervised by adults and stick with friends as much as possible.
If necessary, take steps to rebuild your self-confidence. Bullying can affect your self-confidence and belief in yourself. Finding activities you enjoy and are good at can help to restore your self-esteem. Take time to explore new interests and develop new talents and skills. Bullying can also leave you feeling rejected, isolated, and alone. It is important to try to make new friendships with people who share your interests. Consider participating in extra-curricular activities or joining a group outside of school such as an after-school program, sports team or other positive organizations.
Do not resort to violence or carrying a gun or other weapons. Carrying a gun will not make you safer. Guns often escalate conflicts and increase the chances that you will be seriously harmed. You also run the risk that the gun may be turned on you or an innocent person will be hurt. And you may do something in a moment of fear or anger you will regret for the rest of your life. Finally, it is illegal for a teen to carry a handgun; it can lead to criminal charges and arrest.
Refuse to join in if you see someone being bullied. It can be hard to resist if a bully tries to get you to taunt or torment someone. You may fear the bully will turn on you if you do not participate, but try to stand firm.
Attempt to defuse bullying situations when you see them starting up. For example, try to draw attention away from the targeted person, or take the bully aside and ask him/her to “cool it.” Do not place yourself at risk, however.
If you can do so without risk to your own safety, get a teacher, parent, or other responsible adult to come help immediately.
Speak up and/or offer support to bullied teens when you witness bullying. For example, help them up if they have been tripped or knocked down. If you feel you cannot do this at the time, privately support those being hurt with words of kindness or condolence later.
Encourage the bullied teen to talk with parents or a trusted adult. Offer to go with the person if it would help. Tell an adult yourself if the teen is unwilling to report the bullying. If necessary for your safety, do this anonymously.