School is No Place for Bullying, Intimidation or Harassment
All students and staff deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to learn and teach. Federal Way Public Schools, like districts around the state, has refocused on the issue of bullying, intimidation and harassment in our schools.
We need everyone’s help to effectively deal with bullying.
Under district policy, harassment, intimidation, or bullying means any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap or other distinguishing characteristics.
Bullying also is shown to:
- Physically harm a student or damage the student's property; or
- Substantially interfere with a student's education; or
- Be so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
- Have the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Why should I get involved? This is just kids being kids – isn’t it?
To the contrary, bullying hurts everyone. Adults need to intervene every time they witness bullying: Tolerating bullying sends the wrong message and creates a toxic environment that can spread beyond the school’s walls.
Students who are bullied are more likely to miss school and have a loss of self-esteem. They may have physical symptoms like headaches, depression and anxiety. They are less likely to take risks academically and may have suicidal or homicidal thoughts or attempts.
Those who do the bullying are in need of help, too. If the behavior isn’t addressed, they often continue to be abusive later in life and fail to develop healthy relationships. They are less likely to complete their education and more likely to be involved in criminal activities.Even bystanders are impacted by bullying. They may feel helpless, vulnerable and afraid. They may feel guilty for not helping or have decreased empathy for people being bullied. In general, if bullying isn’t addressed, the school can develop a climate of fear and resulting reduced academic achievement.