Bullying and Violence Prevention

The Southeast Polk Community School District is committed to providing a learning atmosphere where students feel safe and secure. Our staff takes a proactive approach to prevent bullying, by providing classroom lessons that educate students about the importance of integrity, being an upstanding citizen, and how they can recognize and report unhealthy conflict or bullying. If you have a concern, please report it to your child’s school counselor and/or building administrator, so that we can be aware of and address the issue accordingly.

Executive Order 86

Executive Order 86, signed by the governor on September 28th 2015, states that all children in Iowa deserve to receive an education and to go to school each and every day in a safe and respectful learning environment. This order also states that all children in Iowa deserve a classroom and community that allow them to grow and flourish, and not live in fear of when and where the bullying will occur again. You can view the document here.

Behavior Expectations

At Southeast Polk Community School District, we expect all students to follow these basic behavior expectations as they learn and grow:

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Ready to Learn

What does Bullying and Violence Prevention look like at Southeast Polk?

 

MVP

In grades 9-12, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) serves to empower students to take ownership and responsibility for the culture and climate of their school. At the high school, a team of trained junior and senior student mentors teach advisory lessons on violence and sexual assault prevention and other issues of concern to students 8-10 times a school year.

 

Olweus logoIn grades K-8, students participate in weekly Olweus Bullying Prevention (OBP) classroom meetings which are facilitated by teachers. During these weekly sessions, teachers meet with their students to define peer conflict vs. bullying, discuss healthy ways to resolve conflict, and to discuss other concerns related to students.

What is Peer Conflict?

Students of all ages engage in what is known as peer conflict. Conflict is defined as a struggle between two or more people who have incompatible goals or perspectives. It is important to remember that conflict occurs naturally as students interact and that some conflict is healthy, depending on the context. However, when unhealthy conflict goes unresolved and isn’t handled with respect and responsibility, students can find themselves in a situation where an intervention is needed by an adult. Typically this is referred to as unhealthy conflict, although in some situations, conflict can escalate into a founded case of bullying.

How is Bullying Defined?

Bullying is a form of unhealthy conflict in which one student has a power advantage with a targeted victim, displays unwanted or aggressive behavior, and is repetitious over time.

Listed below are some characteristics of bullies:

  • Unwanted, purposeful, and aggressive behavior that violates school-wide behavior expectations
  • Bully-victim relationship with other selected students
  • Threats directed at another student, to prevent their behaviors being “exposed” and avoid confrontation
  • Resistance to conflict resolution attempts made by students or adults
  • Student plays the “victim” and is unwilling to change bad behavior when confronted by adults
  • Defiant attitude toward others
  • Lack of empathy toward others
  • Relational conflict at home with parents/guardians
  • Inconsistent discipline or expectations from parents/guardians

How can School Counselors help?

If a student is experiencing conflict, it is vital that both students or a parent report unhealthy conflict to a school counselor or administrator. School counselors have training and experience in conflict resolution and are able to speak with students involved, provide mediation, and help all students involved work toward an agreement that involves mutual respect, responsibility, and understanding. If one or more students are not willing to change their behavior patterns or work toward a conflict resolution, school counselors typically refer students to a building administrator. Administrators are able to help clarify the facts of a situation, investigate claims, and to determine what consequences are appropriate in a given situation.

How is Bullying Investigated?

Referrals are made from school counselors to administrators when students are unwilling or refuse to handle conflict respectfully and responsibly. It is important for parents to be aware that all school principals at Southeast Polk Community School District have been provided with Easton Bullying Investigation System training. This training helps administrators to collect the facts, interview witnesses, and determine which students are responsible for unhealthy conflict or bullying. After an investigation has occurred, administrators will notify the appropriate parties and determine what actions are needed for the safety and security of all students involved.

Additional Resources

Mentors in Violence Prevention Program is a program used at Southeast Polk in grades 9-12 to prevent gender harassment and violence.

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is a program used at Southeast Polk in grades K-8 to prevent bullying, help students resolve conflicts, and teach character education.

Iowa Department of Education: Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment is a state website with more information on anti-bullying/harassment.

Iowa Code section 280.28 is a website with more information on Iowa Code regarding bullying/harassment.

Stop Bullying is a federal website managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, dedicated to providing bullying information, research, and resources for educators, students, and parents.