Bullying is any repeated action intended to harm someone in a position of less power. Bullying has been classified into various categories, including but not limited to, physical bullying, verbal bullying, relational bullying, and cyber-bullying.
At Navo Middle School, any disrespectful behavior can have consequences even if it is not a bullying situation. Situations in which students are disrespectful to another student are handled depending on the severity of each situation.
Navo Middle School adheres to the policy set forth in the Denton ISD Student Code of Conduct when dealing with possible bullying situations. Bullying is a behavior violation found under the subheading of General Misconduct Violations (p. 100). Consequences for misbehavior are also found in the Student Code of Conduct.
Teachers are usually the first to see a possible bullying situation occur between students. Teachers will stop the behavior and talk to students individually about what is occurring. If a teacher believes a bullying situation has occurred, the teacher will fill out a Bullying Allegation Form and send it to the Student Assistance Counselor. After receiving the Bullying Allegation Form, the Student Assistance Counselor will gather more information (if necessary) and discuss the situation with the academic counselors. If necessary, the students will be called to a counselor’s office separately to discuss the allegation and what needs to happen to stop the behavior in the future. This may not be necessary if the teacher handled the situation.
If a situation is severe enough, students may be sent directly to see the Assistant Principal. The Assistant Principal will give consequences in accordance with the Denton ISD Student Code of Conduct. If the situation is a bullying situation, the Assistant Principal will fill out a Bullying Allegation Form and send it to the Student Assistance Counselor. The Student Assistance Counselor will discuss the situation with the academic counselors and students will be called down to the office to talk about the bullying situation.
Conflict versus Bullying
It is important to understand the difference between conflict and bullying. Here are some important distinctions:
- Conflict is a normal part of interpersonal relationships and an integral part of childhood and learning; bullying is not.
- At times, middle schoolers do engage in behaviors that can appear to be bullying (derogatory comments, gossip, note-writing, etc.); however, the presence of these behaviors alone does not automatically constitute a bully-target dynamic. Rather, the students involved determine the nature and intent of the behaviors, and ultimately, whether or not bullying is or is not occurring.
Imbalance of power
Repetitive negative actions
Equal emotional reaction
Strong emotional reaction from the target
Not seeking power/attention
Remorse – takes responsibility
No remorse – blames target
Effort to solve the problem
No effort to solve the problem
* adapted from Phillips, D. (2011). Navo MS Bully Handbook, Forms, & Procedures.