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Peer Conflict and Bullying: What is the Difference?

The idea of “Bullying” is very much in the news and social media these days. Our students appear to have difficulty differentiating between conflict and bullying, so we wanted to address this and remind parents how we deal with both.

Bullying is defined a way of using power aggressively in which a person is repeatedly subjected to intentional, unwanted and unprovoked hurtful verbal, written, physical, and/or electronic actions to which they feel powerless to respond.

At E.G. Ross, we use the  Bully Proofing Your School curriculum.  This is a comprehensive school-wide intervention program designed to reduce bullying behaviors in schools and to increase students' sense of safety at school. 

The students know at least three options they have when they see or hear someone being mean at school, to themselves or someone else.  They know the difference between tattling and getting adult help.  If they are being bullied, they need adult help.  Remind your children that if the problem is not reported to school staff, we cannot help.

What happens much more often than bullying is peer conflict.  Conflict is defined as disagreement or opposition of ideas or opinion.  Conflict happens when people have a disagreement.  The people involved in a conflict have equal power to solve the problem.  They are not purposefully trying to hurt each other.  Conflict is a natural part of life.  

At E. G. Ross, we use the NM Center for Dispute Resolution's Mediation in the Schools curriculum.  This Program is a two-part model which includes curriculum/instruction school-wide, as well as peer mediation skills for a select group of students.  Together this forms a comprehensive program that teaches skills that young people will use throughout their lives as they deal with conflict.

Through our Mediation Program, E. G. Ross students learn conflict resolution based on the awareness that in a world of differences, conflict is inevitable.  Learning conflict resolution skills now helps prepare elementary school children for life.  Having an adult solve all children's problems can be dangerous.  The students do not gain the skills and confidence they will need later to navigate the conflicts of adolescence and adulthood.  With practice, children can develop the skills necessary in order to solve their own conflict peaceably.  Children must learn that they have choices other than passivity or aggression.  It takes slowing down, listening, expressing you own needs and looking for a "win-win" solution where both sides get what they need.

Just as reading and writing are essential skills for leading a productive life, so too are conflict resolution skills.  Just like adults, children need to be able to communicate effectively, appreciate the consequences of their actions, generate and evaluate alternative solutions to problems, and co-exist with people with whom they disagree,  Peer mediation teaches these fundamental skills and attitudes to both mediators and those who come to mediation.  Just as teachers do not teach students math by solving problems for them, adults do not teach students the skills to resolve conflicts by doing it for them.  Peer mediation teaches students the skills and them encourages them to resolve their own conflicts (under supervision).

In review, conflicts happen daily, and we encourage the students to resolve these amongst themselves with the skills they have been taught.  If bullying occurs, please report it immediately to the Principal, Mrs. Stavig, so that it may be dealt with.

If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact the School Counselor, Mrs. Moulton

College and Career Readiness- What is it All About?

graduates throwing hats

The ultimate goal of the Common Core State Standards is to have ALL students College and Career ready by the time they graduate from high school. This process begins in kindergarten. At E.G. Ross we have a fun way to promote college readiness with our students. 

Wednesdays are College A"wear" ness Days and all students and staff are encouraged to wear a shirt representing a college or university. 

Let’s see how many people we can get to participate and all the different colleges we can promote!