Harrison Junior School

PBIS / Anti-Bullying Program

Harrison Junior School does not tolerate bullying or cyberbullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are frequent behaviors and experiences in middle school but should not be considered "part of growing up."

Bullying occurs at every school but some schools pretend the problem doesn't exist. Harrison Junior School looks to confront the problem head-on. As a middle school parent, you should too.

Education and Action

The anti-bullying program at Harrison Junior School relies on education and action.

  • Education. HJS provides student education, staff education, and parent education about bullying and cyberbullying. Everyone in the school community should be aware of the problems and what can be done about them.
  • Action. Action is taken when the school staff learns of bullying or cyberbullying incidents from victims, bystanders, parents, or staff members who observe bullying behavior. Each and every case is taken seriously.

We empower students to react to name-calling using the Golden Rule and other principles and techniques. We teach students to recognize inappropriate behavior, explain that bystanders should say something or do something, and show how tease-proofing works. We give presentations, show video clips, do role-playing, and share information from a variety of different sources. We hold grade-level assemblies but also work with students one classroom at a time.

PBIS - Positive Behavior Intervention Support

As a part of our professional development, all teachers at HJS have been through PBIS training.  Students are taught a common set of expectations for the school whose foundation is our Core Values of Trust, Respect, Ownership, and Leadership.  As a part of this training, teachers are also provide guidance based on our Student Code of Conduct that includes different discipline steps.  This document can be viewed HERE.

We enjoy rewarding positive behaviors as well!  Students can earn Core Value Cards from teachers when they are observed doing the right thing in the classroom, hallways, café, social growth periods, etc.  We believe this is foundational to our program and a way for each of our students to get involved.

What is Bullying?

  • Bullying is a form of intimidation where someone belittles, threatens, or hurts someone else using name-calling, taunting, spreading rumors, gesturing, or by physically shoving, tripping, etc.
  • Bullying includes 3 key pieces:  Harm, repetitive behavior, and a mismatch between the students.
  • A disagreement between pals or a similar argument between equals is not bullying. Bullying occurs when students are in some way unequal, and one student is taking unfair advantage of a difference.  However, it is important that these types of situations are addressed as well.
  • Example: A student taunts another student based on social status, popularity, body size, grade level, appearance, success in academics or sports, or some other perceived advantage, following a discussion, the student continues to taunt and harms the student physically, mentally, or emotionally.

What is Cyberbullying?

  • Electronic communications are part of modern life and are often part of a student's social development.
  • Cyberbullying means online intimidation using electronic communications such as e-mail, text and picture messaging, cell phone calls, video chat, multi-user online gaming, and interacting at message boards such as Microsoft Teams and social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and others.
  • Cyberbullying most often occurs off-campus, not during school hours. Cyberspace can be much like an extension of the school grounds. For that reason, it can affect students and school performance just like on-campus bullying.  It is important to note, that we can not monitor some of these sites and we look to work in partnership with our families to help identify these concerns and work towards solutions for all students involved.

Facts About Bullying

  • When a student is victimized by intimidation outside school, the most likely perpetrators are school classmates or kids they know from the neighborhood, sports teams, clubs, off-campus classes, summer camp, etc. Anonymous cyberbullying is less common.
  • In surveys, a majority of 12 to 17-year-olds report being bullied and/or cyberbullied at least once. Victims are usually fairly sure who the bully is.
  • Students who are bullied at school are more likely to be cyberbullied online. Students who use the Internet are more likely to encounter cyberbullying if they have pages on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and others.
  • Nine out of 10 victims don't tell an adult. They may think it's their problem to handle on their own, may feel guilty, worry about retribution, or fear getting in trouble with parents. They may fear losing their technology privileges if they report cyberbullying.  This is one of the most significant challenges that each of us face, as often it is not reported until multiple incidents may have occurred.
  • It's a myth that bullies are insecure outcasts. They are often the most popular among their peers.
  • Repeated bullying can have long-lasting effects, including poor school performance, loss of interest, general unhappiness, and students learning to see themselves as victims even after bullying stops.
  • It is important that we teach students about cultural and social-economic differences.  It can reduce bullying because every day students are learning to accept and appreciate differences.

Tips for Students

School safety:

  • Walk with friends and sit with friends at Breakfast and Lunch when you can. Students who are with friends are less likely to be picked on, so you'll be helping yourself and your friends, too.
  • If you're new to the school, try making friends among your classmates.  We will help you with this. 
  • Feel free to talk about it with your counselor, teacher, or principal.  Each of us are here to help.

Online safety:

  • Communicate with friends, not strangers. Limit online friends to people you know.
  • Avoid posting very personal information.
  • Avoid posting photos that are revealing or show you doing something inappropriate.
  • Don't believe mean rumors.  In many cases, go directly to the source and ask questions.
  • Make sure people you talk to online are really who they say they are.

If you are bullied or cyberbullied:

  • Realize that it's not your fault and that the bully is the one doing something wrong.
  • If you are bullied in person, walk away. You might tell the bully that they are doing something wrong and should be ashamed of themselves, but don't get into a fight.
  • If you are bulled online, don't reply or retaliate. Fighting back the same way is likely to make the problem worse.
  • Block online messages from anyone who is mean.
  • Report bullying to a trusted adult rather than trying to solve the problem by yourself.

If you see that someone else is being bullied or cyberbullied:

  • Never forward a mean message because that makes you part of the problem.
  • Stand up for victims. Bullies hope to be admired for getting away with being mean, but they don't deserve admiration. Saying "that's mean" or "that's not funny" can immediately stop bullying.
  • Report bullying to a trusted adult.

Tips for Parents

Online safety:

  • Keep computers in a central area that can be supervised. No computers in bedrooms.
  • Set and enforce reasonable limits for time spent online. Explain your reasons. It's fine to negotiate these limits, but we do not recommend students have their computers or phones with them after they have gone to bed.
  • Make sure you have access to your child's online accounts.
  • Review lists of "friends" (online connections).
  • Watch for the warning signs of bullying.
  • Read about bullying and cyberbullying

Communication and trust:

  • Learn about the sites your child uses.
  • Have your son or daughter show you where he/she goes online and any profile page he/she has.
  • Talk regularly about online issues that concern you, such as what's appropriate to post.
  • Watch what your child does online, with their knowledge. That maintains more trust than using online tracking software or site-blocking tools.
  • Parents are rarely aware that their own child may have bullied someone. Consider the possibility and watch for any evidence of this. See if your child is the bully.

If bullying occurs:

  • Take it seriously but remain calm.
  • Help your child understand that it's not their fault.
  • Keep a record of harassing messages.
  • Let school officials know.
  • Work with the school to address the problem. Contacting the bully's parents yourself can easily backfire.
  • Follow-up with your child and the school to see if the problem has reoccurred.
  • Enforce online limits, but resist the urge to remove online privileges or prohibit social interactions, both so students can continue their social development and so they will come to you when problems occur.