DASA & Peer Interactions
Help, my child is struggling with peer interactions!
Middle school can be one of the most socially challenging times for our children. We know that conflict, rude, and mean behavior frequently occurs between middle school aged children, however, these behaviors are easily addressed. We also recognize that students can engage in bullying/harassing behavior which can have a much more harmful influence on the target.
Our middle school staff is committed to making middle school a positive experience for all of our students. We ask that you encourage your child to approach any adult in the building to help them navigate any of these difficult social interactions; the sooner an adult knows, the sooner we can address it. Here are four short summaries of the types of negative social interactions frequently encountered and to whom students/parents can report them:
Conflict between students is not planned and occurs in the heat of the moment. Conflict results in all parties being upset and wanting to work things out. An effort is made by all parties to solve the problem by accepting responsibility for their part in the interaction. Counselor(s) can help students resolve their conflict through mediation. If your child is experiencing conflict with another student, please encourage them to talk to a teacher/monitor or their counselor [Mrs. Mayo (A-M) or Ms. Bujnicki (N-Z)].
Rude behavior is spontaneous and unintentional. This behavior can cause hurt feelings or leave the recipient feeling upset. Rudeness is based in thoughtlessness, poor manners, or the offender felling that they’re better than the other person in some way. This type of behavior is curtailed when the rude person accepts responsibility for their actions and may require some social skill building (usually with the help of their parents and counselor). If your child is struggling with another student’s rude behavior, please encourage them to talk to a teacher/monitor or their counselor [Mrs. Mayo (A-M) or Ms. Bujnicki (N-Z)].
Mean behavior is intentional. This behavior can hurt others deeply and is based in anger or impulsive cruelty. Mean behavior is often regretted by the offender, but needs to be addressed and should not be ignored. If your child is experiencing mean behavior from another student, please encourage them to talk to a teacher/monitor or their counselor [Mrs. Mayo (A-M) or Ms. Bujnicki (N-Z)].
Bullying/Harassment (physical, verbal, and/or psychological) is done on purpose and involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. The target of the bullying/harassment is upset and the person doing the bullying/harassing (in person or online) is trying to gain control (emotional, physical, or social) over the target and often blames the target for why the behavior is occurring. This creates a hostile environment by conduct, threats, intimidation, or abuse that would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance, their mental/emotional/physical well-being or causes a student to fear for their safety. The target wants to stop the behavior, but the person doing the bullying/harassment does not want to stop. Bullying/Harassment usually cannot be resolved through mediation.
We take all reports of bullying/harassment very seriously and encourage any student, who believes that he/she is being subjected to these behaviors, as well as any other person who has knowledge of or witnesses any possible occurrence of bullying/harassment, should report the behavior to any staff member, the Dean of Students or the Building Principal. Parents may also complete a DASA report and turn it in to the main office or email it to the Dean of Students or the Principal.
A summary of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) and a copy of the district's DASA policy can be found here: Dignity for All Students Act Summary