Step 1: Set the Scene

What is bullying?

SCENARIO: A student in your class approaches your student teacher to say that she is being bullied: she has discovered a Facebook page about her with all sorts of accusations about her reputation with boys. She wants help from the student teacher. The student teacher approaches you to ask what she should do.

1You suggest to the student teacher that she let the student know that she is aware the situation is very serious, but the school cannot intervene since the problem is not occurring on its property.

You’ve let the student know that you and your student teacher consider the situation to be serious. This demonstrates your compassion for the student’s predicament.

In fact, according to the new definition of bullying in Ontario, cyberbullying is recognized as a form of bullying. Furthermore, schools do in fact have a legal mandate and responsibility to interrupt this form of peer assault.

You have communicated a message of powerlessness to the student and to the student teacher. Since the school staff will not be involved in the process, the situation will not be effectively resolved. The bullying will continue, no support is provided to the targeted student, and the students who are responsible for the bullying will not change their behaviour.

2You tell the student teacher that according to the new definition of bullying, cyberbullying is the responsibility of the school and there are steps to be taken in order to deal with the situation.

3You let the student teacher know that this is definitely a bullying situation and you reinforce how difficult it must be for the student. You affirm that it is important to let the parents know as soon as possible so that they can deal with it.

Explanation of the recommended response.