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All students have a right to a safe learning environment. This safety extends beyond avoidance of physical harm. It encompasses psychological harm that comes from continual verbal abuse and discrimination. Persons participating in bullying do so by directly carrying out the bullying behaviour or intentionally assist or encourage the bullying behaviour in any way.

What is bullying?

  • an act of aggression causing embarrassment, pain or discomfort to another
  • can take a number of forms: physical, verbal, gesture, extortion and exclusion
  • an abuse of power
  • can be planned and organized or it may be unintentional
  • individuals or groups may be involved
  • behaviour intended to cause fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress, or other forms of harm to another person’s feelings, self-esteem and/or body
  • is intended to create a negative school environment for another person
  • takes place in a context of real or perceived power imbalance between the people involved and is typically repeated behaviour

Some examples of bullying include: 
  • any form of physical violence such as hitting, pushing or spitting on others
  • interfering with another’s property by stealing, hiding, damaging or destroying it
  • using offensive names, teasing or spreading rumours about others or their families
  • using put-downs, belittling others’ abilities and achievements
  • writing offensive notes, e-mail or graffiti about others
  • making degrading comments about another’s culture, religious or social background
  • hurtfully excluding others from a group
  • making suggestive comments or other forms of sexual abuse
  • ridiculing another’s appearance
  • forcing others to act against their will

If an individual is bullied: 
  • he/she may feel frightened, unsafe, embarrassed, angry or unfairly treated
  • work, sleep and ability to concentrate may suffer
  • relationships with family and friends may deteriorate
  • he/she may feel confused and not know what to do about the problem
  • students are encouraged to ask the person to stop the behaviour and, if not successful, they are to inform an adult
  • persons being bullied can seek the guidance of a person of authority to discuss their thoughts and feelings around the bullying incident and to help them develop personal strategy for dealing with bullying
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