Table of Contents
What is Student Bullying?....................................8
Conflict vs. Bullying.............................................9
Bullying vs. Harassment....................................10
How to Help My Child........................................12
What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied.............15
What to Expect When Making a Report.............16
Bullying Prevention at MMSD...........................18
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Ron Brent, Publishing
Hallie Funk, Layout & Graphics
American Family Insurance
is the Proud Sponsor of the
Safe Schools in MMSD Booklet
We believe every person deserves the opportunity
to pursue their dreams, which is why we’re taking
the lead in protecting people of all ages and invest-
ing in the communities you call home.
The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD)
is committed to creating safe and supportive
learning environments to ensure that every school is
thriving and every child graduates ready college, career
and community ready.
We will continue to embrace a culture of excellence
with equity - one where we insist on holding high
expectations for every child and adult no matter the
circumstance, while providing the unique support they
need to meet and exceed those high expectations.
Bullying can have harmful social, physical, psychological
and/or academic impact on students who are targeted,
those who engage in bullying behaviors, and bystanders
who observe acts of bullying.
We believe that long-term substantial change to our
school environments occurs when teachers, students,
families, school administrators, and school staff alike
are committed to improving their school community.
MMSD is committed to:
• Providing assistance with developing school-
based systems that create welcoming environ-
ments for all students and families.
• Offering professional development training for
educators and school-based staff.
• Engaging in disciplinary consultations with ad-
ministrators and staff who investigate acts of
bullying that occur on school grounds.
• Sharing educational materials on the MMSD
website to inform parents about MMSD’s an-
ti-bullying policies, procedures, and reporting
• Educating school staff on how to identify acts
of bullying and the appropriate interventions
necessary to address them.
What is Student Bullying?
Bullying is the intentional action by an individual or
group of individuals to inflict physical, emotional
or mental harm or suffering on another individual or
group of individuals when there is an imbalance of
real or perceived power. Bullying behavior creates an
objectively hostile or offensive environment. Such an
environment may cause, or be likely to cause, negative
and harmful conditions.
-Madison Metropolitan School District Board
Policies 4510 (Student Bullying)
MMSD’s definition of bullying does not
require actions to be repeated.
lying manifests itself in
various forms, such as:
hurtful name-calling and
physical attacks, all of
which occur in our schools
and our larger communi-
ty. Furthermore, bullying
impacts not only the tar-
geted student, but the
student who engaged in
the behavior, bystanders
and the greater school
Conflict 0r Bullying?
What is conflict?
Conflict occurs when two or more students disagree.
As our students grow and form relationships,
conflicts may naturally arise. While a person’s feelings
may be hurt, conflict may not be bullying.
How bullying differs from conflict.
Both parties are in part One party is primarily
responsible for the problem. responsible for the problem.
• Students playing a board • Some students make
game a argue about who fun of another student
gets the blue token. because his clothes are
old and dirty.
• While playing soccer, one
student calls another • A student teases a
student a cheater. classmate because she
has trouble reading.
Source: National Bullying Prevention Center, www.pacer.org
Bullying or Harassment?
Harassment is unwanted, deliberate or repeated
unsolicited comments (oral or written), gestures,
graphic material, physical contacts, verbal/nonverbal
or physical conduct directed to a student because of
the student’s membership in a protected class.
Here is a list of Protected Classes:
•Age •National Origin
•Ancestry •Parental Status
•Gender Expression •Retaliation
•Gender Identity •Sex
•Homelessness •Sexual Orientation
Madison Metropolitan School District’s Non-Discrimination
policy, MMSD School Board Policy 4620
Bullying and harassment BOTH involve behavior that
• Offends or humiliates others
However, bullying is not necessarily linked
to a target’s protected class.
While actions that are considered bullying may also be
harassment. Harassment and discrimination only occur
when the actions against a student are influenced,
at least in part, by the student’s membership, or
perceived membership, in a protected class.
How to Help My Child
A child who is a target of bullying may display one or
more of the following behaviors at home:
• Appears sad or depressed, or shows unexpect-
ed mood shifts, irritability, disrupted sleep,
and sudden outbursts of temper.
• Seems socially isolated, with few — if any —
real friends; is rarely invited to parties or to the
homes of other kids.
• Appears afraid or reluctant to go to school in
the morning, complaining repeatedly of head-
aches or stomach pains.
• Loses interest in school work, and their grades
• Chooses varied routes and times when going
to and from school.
How to help:
1. Talk with your child-- It is important to provide your
child with a safe supportive place to discuss their feel-
• Ask open-ended questions like: “What hap-
pened? How did that make you feel?”
2. Support and empower your child -- Assist your
child in developing an action plan to address this prob-
• Ask questions like, “What do you think you can
say next time? What do you think might work?
What would you like to see happen?”
3. Be aware of and monitor your child’s use of tech-
nology -- Cyberbullying is a common form of bullying.
Monitoring your child’s use of social media keeps you
informed of the social interactions that may impact
your child’s well-being.
4. Understand your rights -- Check your MMSD’s An-
ti-Bullying policy which you can get from your child’s
5. Reach out to your child’s school-- Working collab-
oratively with school staff is important. Sometimes,
staff may be unaware bullying is occurring, therefore
it is important to tell them.
• Say things like: “My child is coming home and
talking about this.” And then say, “This is how
it’s impacting my child.”
• Ask to fill out a Bullying Reporting Form so
that your concern is clearly documented and
• When addressing the school’s response, ask
things like: “When can I expect to hear back
from you about what you’ve done? What are
the next steps?”
Source: National Bullying Prevention Center, www.pacer.org
What To Do if You Believe Your
Child is Being Bullied or Harassed?
Speak with someone from your child’s school.
• Contact a teacher, school staff member, or
• Contact the District’s Title IX Investigator,
• Contact the Coordinator of Progressive
• For more information please visit MMSD.org/
What to Expect
When Making a Report
When an incident of bullying is suspected
and reported to a MMSD staff member,
the procedure to address the matter is
The result of the investigation will be communicated
to parents/guardians in a timely manner. Whether the
incident under investigation is found to be bullying
or not, school-based staff will develop a support plan
for the students who were targeted by the behavior,
engaged in the behavior, and witnessed the behavior.
MMSD strives to support students in
demonstrating positive behaviors. When a
student does not meet these expectations, supports
are provided to respond to student needs. Student
Services staff are available in all MMSD school
buildings to work with students struggling to meet
Bullying Prevention at MMSD
The Madison Metropolitan School District
(MMSD) strives to create welcoming learning
environments for all students, free of bias, bullying and
Developing a strong school community in which adults
and students feel a sense of belonging is the first step
to prevent bullying. If respect and empathy are the
norm, bullying behavior is less likely to occur.
• Prevention is the key!
MMSD is committed to implementing school-wide
programs and practices aimed at creating a positive
MMSD’s community-building programs and strategies
• Restorative Approach
• Welcoming Schools
• Developmental Designs
• Second Step
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