• Bullying or Conflict?

Bullying is a reality in schools, but misplaced reactions to the day-to-day conflicts that occur in life will also not serve to help our students become problem solvers. I have noticed in my classroom (and around the school hallways) that any situation that involves one student disagreeing with another is being referred to as bullying. I had to really reflect on how to handle this scenario to ensure that the right approach is being taken to benefit all. I searched out information I could use to help clarify the misconceptions that were being developed by my students and came across an amazing resource entitled ‘We All Belong – A Multimedia Toolkit For Parents and Schools’. It was developed by the Centre Ontarien De Prevention Des Agressions (COPA). It is a very comprehensive tool for schools, teachers, parent councils and families to use as they work to develop a culture of inclusiveness within their community.

This resource helped me frame a strategy on how to move my students forward in their thinking. The Bullying Prevention Guide in the kit clearly explained that conflict is a disagreement or difference of opinion between two parties who are relatively equal in social status and thus there are two sides to a story. Bullying is not a natural part of daily life and is a targeted and planned act by a person or group of people in a position of power or social status and is often carried out over a period of time. If a bullying scenario is dealt with using conflict resolution strategies I have added to the harm done by the bully because I have now forced the victim to spend more time face-to-face working it out and have concluded that he/she is part of the problem.

The kit is a very rich resource that includes a Bullying Prevention Guide, The Capsule Families Get Involved and a DVD of short entertaining vignettes to be used. There are two volumes to the DVD with one targeting Parent Engagement and the other Bullying Prevention. The versatility of the kit has made it an option that can help bring families and schools closer in their battle against bullying. I am currently spending more time familiarizing myself with the resource as there are other options on how I may use it.

COPA – 457 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P1
(416) 466-8975 or infocopa.com




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