Bullying includes cyber bullying and means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. It is further defined as unwanted and repeated written, verbal, or physical behavior, including any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, by a student or adult that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment; cause discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation.
The St. Johns County School District’s School Board Rule 3.21 is designed to help ensure all of our students feel safe and respected while attending school.
If your child exhibits one or more of these warning signs, he/she may be a victim of bullying. Talk with your child to explore further whether or not he/she is being bullied.
- Withdraws socially, has few or no friends
- Feels isolated, alone, and sad
- Feels picked on or persecuted
- Feels rejected and not liked
- Frequently complains of illness
- Doesn’t want to go to school; avoids some classes or skips school
- Brings home damaged possessions or reports them “lost”
- Cries easily; displays mood swings and talks about hopelessness
- Has poor social skills
- Talks about running away; talks of suicide
- Threatens violence to self or others
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Takes, or attempts to take, “protection” to school (a stick, knife, gun, etc.)
- Displays “victim” body language – hangs head, hunches shoulders, avoids eye contact
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
- Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
- SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices
- Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
Warning Signs a Child is Being Cyberbullied or is Cyberbullying Others
Many of the warning signs that cyberbullying is occurring happen around a child’s use of their device. Some of the warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying are:
- Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting
- A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device
- A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device
- Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear
- A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past
- A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities
Visit our Safe and Drug Free Schools website for information on bullying prevention and filing a report.