Responding to Bullying or Harassment
Student safety and providing for the emotional wellbeing of students is the highest priority of each teacher, counselor, and administrator in the Vashon Island School District. We expect our staff to be vigilant, and provide annual training and education on the expectations and laws regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Any reports are taken very seriously, and in our schools there is zero tolerance. Period.
If you become aware of incidents of harassment, intimidation, bullying or discrimination please contact your building principal or our Title 9 Coordinator, Kathryn Coleman, at 206-463-8532. If you wish to make an anonymous report please use our Anonymous Alert reporting system.
If your child has been bullied, here are some steps you can take:
- Be supportive and gather information about the bullying.
- Never tell your child to ignore the bullying. What the child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore it. If the child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.
- Don’t blame the child who is being bullied. Don’t assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying (“What did you do to aggravate the other child?”).
- Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying. Ask him/her to describe who was involved and how each bullying episode played out.
- Learn as much as you can about the bullying tactics being used, and when and where the bullying happened. Can your child name other children or adults who may have witnessed the bullying?
- Sympathize with your child. Tell him/her that bullying is wrong and that you are glad he/she had the courage to tell you about it. Ask what he/she thinks can be done to help. Assure him/her that you will think about what needs to be done and you will let him/her know what you are going to do.
- If you disagree with how your child handled the bullying situation, don’t criticize him/her.
- Do not encourage physical retaliation (“Just hit them back”) as a solution. Hitting another student is not likely to end the problem, and it could get your child suspended or expelled.
- Check your emotions. A parent’s protective instincts stir strong emotions. Although it is difficult, a parent is wise to step back and consider the next steps carefully.
- Contact your child’s teacher and/or principal. Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to school officials, but bullying probably won’t stop without the help of adults at your child’s school.
- Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child’s experience of being bullied—who, what, when, where, and how. Emphasize that you want to work with the staff at school to find a solution to stop the bullying, for the sake of your child as well as others.
- Do not contact the parents of the student(s) who bullied your child. This is usually a parent’s first response, but sometimes it makes matters worse. School officials should contact the parents of the child or children who did the bullying.
- Expect the bullying to stop. Talk regularly with your child and with school staff to see if the bullying has stopped. If the bullying persists, contact school authorities again.
Here are links to our policies on the following: