It is important to determine if it is indeed bullying, or an instance of conflict.
Bismarck Public Schools defines bullying as someone being attacked physically, socially, and/or emotionally, hurt on purpose, something that happens more than once over time, or an unequal power balance.
If your child is being harassed over social media or text, it is important to remind them not to engage.
“If somebody is syiang mean things, text messages, social media is to not respond. What police are telling us is that if you respond back with mean words, that is a conflict and not bullying anymore,” says Hope Rush a counselor for Bismarck Public Schools.
If your child is being bullied, Rush says you should report the problem to the school, starting with your child’s teacher.
BPS has formal bullying procedures to address such problems. More importantly, Rush urges parents to try taking a step back first before getting involved.
“We want parents to urge kids to solve it themselves first, and if that doesn’t work, ask questions, what happened, things to help kids think of situation, try to change it and if doesn’t work, maybe go on to other friend. Kind of hard for parents to step back and take that,” Rush says.