Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
The Vashon Island School District mission is to “Equip every student to engage, thrive, and contribute in an ever-changing world.” Our commitment is to achieve this mission within a culture of caring and compassion. We understand the psychological impact of harassment, intimidation, bullying or sexual harassment (HIB) on students. In our schools there is zero tolerance. Period.Michael Soltman, Superintendent of Vashon Island School District
The Vashon Island School District mission is to “Equip every student to engage, thrive, and contribute in an ever-changing world.” Our commitment is to achieve this mission within a culture of caring and compassion. We understand the psychological impact of harassment, intimidation, bullying or sexual harassment (HIB) on students. In our schools there is zero tolerance. Period.
Student safety and providing for the emotional well-being of students is the highest priority of each teacher and administrator in our district. Any reports are taken very seriously. An investigation is undertaken immediately and discipline is administered as appropriate. Students subjected to harassment or discrimination are provided support.
We expect our staff to be vigilant and our district provides annual training and education regarding the expectations and laws regarding HIB. However, our commitment to a culture of caring and compassion takes us way beyond that. Through partnerships with Vashon Schools Foundation, The DOVE Project, and VARSA we’ve implemented a social skills curriculum, suicide prevention programs, and many parent education opportunities.
In addition to adding two counseling support positions at Chautauqua and a counseling position at both the high school and middle school, we have recently adopted a new sexual harassment policy, reviewed and approved by the Office of the State Superintendent of Instruction.
We are always looking for opportunities to improve our practices and procedures. If you become aware of incidents of harassment, intimidation, bullying or discrimination please contact the school's principal or VISD Title 9 Coordinator, Paula Cummings, at 206-463-8532. If you wish to make an anonymous report please use our Anonymous Alert Reporting System.
What to do if your child has been harassed or bullied
Be supportive and gather information about the bullying.
Never tell your child to ignore the bullying. What the child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore it. If the child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.
Don’t blame the child who is being bullied. Don’t assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying (“What did you do to aggravate the other child?”)
Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying. Ask him/her to describe who was involved and how each bullying episode played out.
Learn as much as you can about the bullying tactics being used, and when and where the bullying happened. Can your child name other children or adults who may have witnessed the bullying?
Sympathize with your child. Tell him/her that bullying is wrong and that you are glad he/she had the courage to tell you about it. Ask what he/she thinks can be done to help. Assure him/her that you will think about what needs to be done and you will let him/her know what you are going to do.
If you disagree with how your child handled the bullying situation, don’t criticize him/her.
Do not encourage physical retaliation (“Just hit them back”) as a solution. Hitting another student is not likely to end the problem, and it could get your child suspended or expelled.
Check your own emotions. A parent’s protective instincts stir strong emotions. Although it is difficult, a parent is wise to step back and consider the next steps carefully.
Contact your child’s teacher and/or principal. Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to school officials, but bullying probably won’t stop without the help of adults at your child’s school. Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child’s experience of being bullied—who, what, when, where, and how. Emphasize that you want to work with the staff at school to find a solution to stop the bullying, for the sake of your child as well as others.
Do not contact the parents of the student(s) who bullied your child. This is usually a parent’s first response, but sometimes it makes matters worse. School officials should contact the parents of the child or children who did the bullying.
Expect the bullying to stop. Talk regularly with your child and with school staff to see if the bullying has stopped. If the bullying persists, contact school authorities again.