Bullying Prevention

Thank you for visiting our bullying prevention web page. Dickinson High School takes reports of bullying very seriously. The District and Board of Education are committed to providing a safe, secure, respectful and nurturing learning environment for all students in school buildings, on school grounds, school buses and at school-sponsored activities. The District consistently and vigorously addresses bullying behavior so that there is no disruption to the learning environment and learning process.

The first step for all negative interactions is to investigate, interview those involved, including witnesses, and distinguish bullying from other unkind, mean, and harmful behaviors. Calling someone a name, being rude, or arguing or fighting with someone is not necessarily bullying. These behaviors are addressed but may have different consequences and interventions so distinction is critical (for details regarding consequences, please refer to the student code of conduct). The goal of school discipline is to assist all students in successfully participating in their educational and social environments and providing a safe learning environment. Discipline aims to promote positive behavioral change. School staff uses an array of interventions to support students. In all cases, the privacy of all students will be upheld in accordance with FERPA; this will include the consequences and district actions taken with your child and other students involved in an incident.

Bullying is defined as repeated actions or threats of action directed toward a person by one or more people who have or are perceived to have more power or status than their target in order to cause fear, distress or harm. Bullying can be physical, verbal, psychological or any combination of these three. It’s more important now than ever before for parents, educators and youth advocates to start the conversation early about bullying.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: People who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

According to Stopbullying.gov, bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Every Conflict Isn’t Bullying

What Bullying is...

  • Repeated aggressive behavior
  • Intended to cause harm (physical or emotional)
  • An attempt by one or more individuals to gain power over another
  • Physical: Hitting, kicking, pushing, destroying property
  • Verbal/Written: Threatening, name-calling, teasing, taunting
  • Social/Emotional: Terrorizing, spreading rumors, intimidating, humiliating, blackmailing, isolating
  • Cyber-bullying: Using technology to bully others verbally, emotionally and/or socially.

What Bullying is Not...

  • Not liking someone
  • Accidentally bumping into someone
  • A single act of telling a joke about someone
  • Expression of unpleasant thoughts or feelings regarding others
  • Arguments or disagreements
  • Being excluded from a game or group on the playground (unless being done regularly and with intention to hurt the feelings of another)
  • Isolated acts of harassment, aggressive behavior, intimidation or meanness

Parent Resources

Reporting an Incident

Students, parents, and community members are encouraged to notify school staff when students are experiencing negative interactions including being bullied by another student(s).  When the circumstances involve cyberbullying, individuals with information about the activity are encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages sent to them that they feel constitute cyberbullying.

To support your child’s sense of control and response to negative interactions it is important to distinguish with your child bullying from other kinds of unkind, mean and harmful behaviors. The following quadrant is used in schools to help support students to engage in the process.

Types of Bullying

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures

(Source: Stopbullying.gov)

Warning Signs of Bullying

  • Signs a Child Is Being Bullied

    • Unexplainable injuries
    • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
    • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
    • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
    • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
    • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
    • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
    • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
    • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
  • Signs a Child is Bullying Others

    • Get into physical or verbal fights
    • Have friends who bully others
    • Are increasingly aggressive
    • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
    • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
    • Blame others for their problems
    • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
    • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

(Source: stopbullying.gov)

Who is at Risk of Being Bullied?

Children at risk of being bullied generally have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”
  • Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem
  • Are less popular than others and have few friends
  • Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention

There are two types of kids who are more likely to bully others:

  • Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.
  • Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.
  • Children who have these factors are also more likely to bully others;
  • Are aggressive or easily frustrated
  • Have less parental involvement or having issues at home
  • Think badly of others
  • Have difficulty following rules
  • View violence in a positive way
  • Have friends who bully others

(Source: stopbullying.gov)


Cyberbullying is the intentional and repeated mistreatment of others through the use of technology, such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.

While you may not be able to monitor all of your child’s activities, there are things you can do to prevent cyberbullying and protect your child from harmful digital behavior:

  • Monitor a child’s social media sites, apps, and browsing history, if you have concerns that cyberbullying may be occurring.
  • Review or re-set your child’s phone location and privacy settings.
  • Follow or friend your child on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms, and digital slang used by children and teens.
  • Know your child’s user names and passwords for email and social media.
  • Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content, and apps.
  • Use parental control and monitoring software to help them set up systems that are less invasive to their children.

There are free software options and apps available to help parents restrict content, block domains, or view their children’s online activities, including social media, without looking at their child’s device every day. Most of the free software options provide some features for free, but charge for more robust insight. A parent should consider a child’s age, device use, and digital behavior when selecting software – what is suitable to restrict for a ten-year old may not be useful for a teenager. (Source: stopbullying.gov)

Video & Social Media Resources

Click here for video and social media resources from stop bullying.gov.