What Is Bullying?

Natick Public Schools is committed to ensuring our schools are safe and caring places for students. Students and staff will treat each other with respect and will refuse to tolerate bullying in any form at our schools.  

Identifying an act as "unkind" or "bullying" may, at times, seem unclear. Decisions are based on interpretation of events following an investigation, perception of intent by the target and intent/motive of the individual causing harm. It is important to understand what is bullying and what is not based on the definitions below.  

Bullying is:

  • Deliberate or intentional behavior using words or actions, intended to cause fear, intimidation, or harm. 
  • Intentional, aggressive, and hostile behavior.
  • An act that involves an imbalance of power between the bully and the target. 
  • Behavior that is repeated over time rather than an isolated incident. 
  • Physical (assault, hitting, kicking, punching, other acts that physically hurt another person).
  • Verbal (threatening statements, teasing, name calling, or put downs).
  • Indirect (spreading rumors, falsely accusing another person, intimidation through gestures, social exclusion,  cyber-bullying).

At times, unkind acts and bullying can appear to be similar. We want any instances of acts that may be perceived as bullying to be reported for vetting by school administrators. 

Successful enforcement of anti-bullying policy and bullying prevention requires a collaborative effort among staff, students, and parents.


Staff 
We will do the following things to prevent bullying and help students feel safe at school:
  • Closely supervise student in all area of the building to watch for warning signs of bullying -and stop it when it happens.
  • Respond quickly and sensitively to bullying reports.
  • Take parental concerns about bullying seriously and inform/provide  parents with incident reporting form.
  • Implement bullying reporting/investigating protocol involving all of the impacted individuals including parents.
  • Document interventions and outcome of investigation.
  • As appropriate, utilize restorative practices to repair harm. 
  • Assign consequences (within their authority) for bullying


Students
You are our first line in identifying bullying and we need your help to prevent bullying:
  • Treat each other respectfully.
  • Be an “upstander” and intervene when observing incidents of bullying.
  • Use our Incident Report or Let's Talk to confidentially or anonymously report bullying.
  • Serve as a model to peers.


Parents
You are our partners in bullying prevention. We need you to do the following to prevent bullying:
  • Recognize the warning signs a child may be involved in bullying.
  • Understand what is bullying and what it is not  based on the definitions provided above.
  • Talk to the child about bullying to encourage open communication.

If it has been determined the child has either been bullied or witnessed bullying parents can do the following:

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