How can student perspectives and definitions contribute to an information campaign about bullying in our schools?
The topic of bullying is an important concept that is relevant in schools worldwide. Bullying has evolved in ways that may not be the same as what was experienced by educators themselves growing up, particularly when considering new developments such as social media. In our current practicum placement, we have encountered incidents of bullying between students. At the same time, we have noticed problematic attitudes regarding bullying: some students believe “bullying is not a thing anymore”, and many students joke about bullying or use it sarcastically in conversations.
It is important that students have a resource in the school that they can refer to for information on bullying. The school currently has the H.I.N.T (Harassment is Never Tolerated) policy posted in a few locations. We wanted to expand on this already great idea by providing a working copy of an additional recourse that the school can use and edit as they please.
The purpose of the PIP was to provide a visual resource for the school, since informational bullying displays around the school were minimal.
An essential point that we wanted to incorporate is the difference between conflict and bullying. We collected definitions of bullying from the school community (students, parents, staff) and compared them to academic/research-based perspectives. We also added visual components in order to better support anti-bullying strategies in the classroom.
Shelby Johnson was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta. She believes that the work from this PIP generated a positive and healthy dialogue around what constitutes bullying. She genuinely hopes that the resources she and her colleague created will be utilized fully in the school community.
Kennedy Gurski grew up in Duchess, Alberta, but has called Lethbridge home for the last couple of years while completing her schooling. She strongly believes that the effects of bullying in schools can impact the social and educational dynamic of a school community. It is important that information about bullying is incorporated into individual classrooms and the school as a whole.