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Bullying

Call 490-SAVE (7283)

Text 233-SAVE

Email bullyhotline@halifax.ca


What is bullying?

Bullying is intentional, hurtful repeated behaviour that intimidates, threatens harm or victimizes another person. It can take many forms including physical violence or stealing money and/or possessions; verbal taunts, insults and threats; excluding others from groups or spreading gossip about them and cyberbullying, the use of electronic communication tools such as email, cell phones, text messages and online sites to carry out bullying.


Why do children become bullies?

  • Someone else - perhaps a parent or sibling - is picking on them.
  • Someone bigger and stronger is pressuring them into being a "tough" person.
  • They think the world revolves around them.
  • They are looking for attention, sometimes negative attention is better than no attention at all.
  • They have family problems.
  • They have no true friends and feel lonely.
  • They feel bad about themselves and want others to feel bad also.
  • They feel insecure, and bullying makes them feel powerful.
  • They want classmates to think they are strong and in control.
  • They don’t care or think about other people’s feelings.

Youth

Tips for dealing with a bully:

  • Walk Tall - Try not to act scared. Practice ‘walking tall’ with shoulders back and head held high.
  • Develop Self-Confidence - Be positive. Learn new skills. Get involved with people and activities that make you feel good about yourself. Remember, everyone is good at something!
  • Start a School Program - Make sure you school has an anti-bullying program with tips on dealing with bullies. If not, talk to your teacher or principal about starting one.
  • Tell a Friend - Always tell a friend or an adult you trust about the bullying. Having someone on your side will help you stand up for yourself.
  • Walk Away - If possible, ignore the bully or say "NO" and walk away. The bully is seeking attention.
  • Ignore the Teasing - Try not to react to bullying and teasing. If you act like you don’t care, the bully might get bored and give up.
  • Don’t Fight Back - The most dangerous thing you can do when confronted by a bully is fight back. Bullies are generally stronger than their victims. By fighting back, you could make matters worse.
  • Give Up Your Possessions - If the situation is dangerous, if the bully is bigger and stronger than you, or if he has a weapon, then it would be smart to give him what he wants. Material things can be replaced - you cannot.
  • Stick With Others - Try not to be alone in places where you could be unsafe - an empty schoolyard, a dark alleyway or a school washroom. If possible, stick with a group. Bullies tend to pick on those who are alone.
  • Remember, Bullies Have Feelings Too - Try to see beyond the bully’s scary face and words and think about what is missing in his life to make him act so cruelly.

Parents

Parents should be aware of the signs their child is being bullied, or may be a bully. Halifax Regional Police aims to make our schools safe for children and needs your help.

How can you tell if your child is being bullied?

You should be concerned if your child:

  • Is frightened of walking to/from school or is unwilling to go to school.
  • Begs to be driven to school or changes his/her route to school.
  • Begins to do poorly in school.
  • Comes home regularly with belongings destroyed or missing.
  • Has unexplained cuts or bruises, stops eating or begins to have nightmares.
  • Becomes withdrawn, distressed or suicidal.


What can you do if your child is being bullied?

  • Listen and be supportive - take bullying seriously!
  • Reassure your child that it isn’t his/her fault.
  • Ask how they’ve been dealing with the bullying.
  • Talk about what actions you can both take to solve the problem.
  • Promise to consult your child before taking any action.
  • Talk to school administrators and ask what they can do to help.
  • Suggest the school contact the bully’s parents.
  • Ask that bullies be kept after school until other children have left.
  • Encourage the school to develop a "no bullying" policy, if they don’t already have one.
  • Contact your school’s liaison officer, or call 490-SAVE for help.


How can you help your children deal with bullying?

  • Ask your child to try to ignore the bully, tell the bully to stop and then walk away if bullying starts.
  • Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult - explain this isn’t ‘squealing’ - your child has a right to be safe.
  • Help your child develop a list of trusted adults they can phone or go to for help.
  • Arrange to meet your child, if the bullying is happening on the way to/from school.


What can you do if your child is bullying?

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t bully or hit your child - it will make the situation worse.
  • Try to find out why your child is behaving this way.
  • Explain that bullying is wrong and try to get your child to understand what it’s like for the victim.
  • Talk about how your child might stop bullying and show them how to get along with others without bullying.
  • Praise your child when he/she interacts appropriately with others.
  • Set realistic, firm guidelines to help your child control behaviour.
  • Talk with a teacher, guidance counsellor or principal at your child’s school.
  • Model non-violent behaviour at home. If appropriate, consider an anger management program for yourself and your child.
  • If the situation is serious, enlist the help of a counsellor or psychologist.

Cyberbullying

There are steps you can take at home, with your child, to help protect them from cyberbullying.

Encourage your child to speak up:

  • If someone sends them a text, tweet or email that makes them uncomfortable they should TELL SOMEONE THEY TRUST (family member, teacher, police personnel, friend).

Control your child’s online presence:

  • Increase your child’s security settings online
  • Encourage them hide or deactivate their profile and/or block users. This can be done through the setting options on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Save the evidence:

  • As hurtful as it may be, save offending messages, pictures or copies of conversations. This can be used by authorities during investigations.

Report serious forms of cyberbullying:

  • Inform the appropriate authorities (teachers, principals, police personnel).

HRP Bullying Hotline

The Bullying Hotline was established under the direction of the Community Relations/Crime Prevention Section in September 1999. Calls, texts and emails are answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, with an answering machine taking messages after hours and on weekends.

Call 490-SAVE (490-7283)

Text 233-SAVE

Email bullyhotline@halifax.ca

Who can call?

  • Students - You don’t have to leave your name, call when you want...you don’t need permission to call.
  • Parents and Teachers - Can call the line for assistance if they have concerns about bullying in school or in their homes.

Reasons to call

  • If there is a bully in your school or class that causes bad feelings toward you or a friend.
  • If you know a fight is going to happen and where.
  • If you think you may be a bully and don’t know who to talk with for help.

What will happen when you call?

  • Police will not ask for your name, but if you call after hours and want a call back, please leave your name and number.
  • The bully team will listen and talk with you.
  • If there’s a fight, police will respond by calling the school, and try to talk with the people involved before the fight takes place.
  • A meeting or mediation between the victim and bully, with teachers and parents present will take place.

Resources