Oct. 2, 2020 – Report, not respond.
This is one of the key messages that Heather Watson wants Duval students and families to know.
As the district’s Bullying Prevention specialist for the past seven years, Watson says she has seen incidents de-escalate and solved based on quick reporting. The opposite is also true.
“If students or parents have concerns, we always encourage them to reach out first to their school administrators immediately,” said Watson. “In situations where the concerning incident has taken place in a virtual format, they should take a screenshot and submit the information to the school to assist with follow-up and investigation.”
In honor of Bullying Prevention Month, Watson shared five important points that families and students should know about bullying prevention.
- Bullying and conflicts between individuals are two different things – Bullying is negative behavior directed by someone exerting power and control over another person. A conflict is a disagreement or argument in which both sides express their views.
- There are three core elements in bullying behavior, and they are important to understand – One, the behavior is repeated over time. Two, the behavior includes intentional hurtful words and/or actions. Three, there is a real or perceived imbalance of power.
- Avoid responding, engaging – Whether it’s in-person or cyberbullying, engaging directly with the bullying behavior can cause the incident to escalate. My recommendations to students:
- Tell an adult
- Save the evidence (In cyberbullying cases, take screenshots)
- Do not respond
- Report what is taking place.
- Incidents of bullying need to be reported – Bullying reports can be made at the school that your child attends as well as via phone to 904-390-2255. In addition reports can be filed via email or texted to [email protected].
- Wear orange to show your support – Show your support for Bully Prevention by participating in Unity Day on October 21, 2020.
Learn more by visiting the PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center website.