By Kinea Epps
Hello, Rams Families! October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and I would like to take a few moments to share some information with parents regarding bullying.
First, bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time,” according to the website www.stopbullying.gov. Bullying can happen in different ways. It can be physical, like pushing and shoving, or it can be verbal, like name-calling and teasing. And perhaps one of the most hurtful ways in middle school is social bullying or relational bullying. Research defines this as intentionally spreading rumors, getting others to gang up on someone or excluding someone intentionally.
Unlike when we were growing up, students today have the added pressure of technology, which can lead to cyberbullying. It is important that you know the sites your child is visiting and the friends they have on social media. (Mark your calendars for a cyberbullying program at RMS at 6 p.m. Oct. 29. We will have a speaker from the Department of Justice providing information to parents and answering questions.)
As you help your child navigate middle school and the social changes that come with this transition, it is important to have open conversations about what is going on within peer groups and to encourage your child to stand up if he or she sees someone being mistreated. Be on the lookout for changes in your child’s behavior or if your child loses interest in school. Research states some students who are being bullied have a change in attitude and can appear moody or sad.
At RMS, students can report anonymously to their teachers and counselors and also administration if there is a concern. We also encourage parents to make us aware of things that are happening so they can be addressed. Our first priority is making sure students are safe within the school environment. For more information on bullying and ways to support your child, visit the RMS Counselors website, www.rmsschoolcounselors.weebly.com and click under the personal/social tab. You can also find additional information at the Wake County schools’ website, www.wcpss.net, and click under the parents tab. Together, let’s Stand Up and Speak Out!
Kinea Epps is lead school counselor at RMS.