Richland Two takes bullying seriously and strives to provide a safe, positive environment for each of its more than 28,000 students. The district does not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination of students, in any form.
Harassment, intimidation or bullying, as defined by the Richland Two Board Policies, is a gesture, electronic communication or written, verbal, physical or sexual act reasonably perceived to have the effect of any of the following: harming a student physically or emotionally or damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of personal harm or property damage; or insulting or demeaning a student or group of students causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.
Are there different types of bullying?There are several types of bullying including: Cyber, Verbal, Social, and Physical.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.
- Sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.
- Sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.
Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
- Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
- SMS (short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices.
- Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
With the prevalence of social media and digital forums, comments, photos, posts, and content shared by individuals can often be viewed by strangers as well as acquaintances. The content an individual shares online - both their personal content as well as any negative, mean, or hurtful content - creates a kind of permanent public record of their views, activities, and behavior. This public record can be thought of as an online reputation, which may be accessible to schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others who may be researching an individual now or in the future. Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved - not just the person being bullied, but those doing the bullying or participating in it.
Cyberbullying has unique concerns in that it can be:
- Persistent - Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.
- Permanent - Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.
- Hard to Notice - Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize.
Bullying can affect everyone - those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying - or something else - is a concerns.
- Kids Who are Bullied
- Kids Who Bully Others
- Kids Who Witness Bullying
- The Relationship between Bullying & Suicide
Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bulled are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
- Health complaints
- Decreased academic achievement - GPA and standardized test scores - and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
- A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:
- Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
- Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
- Engage in early sexual activity
- Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
- Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults
Media reports often link bullying with suicide. However, most youth who are bullied do not have thoughts of suicide or engage in suicide or engage in suicidal behaviors. Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home, and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. This risk can be increased further when these kids are not supported by parents, peers, and schools. Bullying can make an unsupportive situation worse.
Stop Bullying on the Spot. If your child comes home complaining of being bullied, contact their teacher immediately and share your concerns.
When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep kids safe.
A summary of the Richland Two Board's policy on bullying is included in the student handbook . Reports can also be made 24 hours a day through the Richland Two App or the Safe School line, 803.736.8756.
- Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
- Separate the kids involved.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
- Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
- Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
- Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
- Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
- Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
- Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
- Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
Get police help or medical attention immediately if:
- A weapon is involved.
- There are threats of serious physical injury.
- There are threats of hate-motivated violence, such as racism or homophobia.
- There is serious bodily harm.
- There is sexual abuse.
- Anyone is accused of an illegal act, such as robbery or extortion—using force to get money, property, or services.
Read more at www.stopbullying.gov.