This proactive respect based anti-bullying program asserts that the culture within a building or organization that allows bullying and disrespectful behavior must be addressed. In a school setting, we see there are many participants in disrespectful behavior. Most people are quick at identifying a "Bully" and a "Victim" but in so doing fail to take ownership in their own roll. We also recognize that a person isn't always a "Bully" but rather the behavior that they are exhibiting in the moment is actually "Bullying Behaviour".
The program requires explicit teaching of students in a classroom environment of the terms we use and the rolls that are played out in almost any situation. A person exhibiting bullying behavior is called the "perpetrator". A person receiving the disrespectful behaviours is called the "Victim". Perhaps most importantly, in this program, people that are witnesses to disrespectful behaviours are called "Bystanders". Bystanders have so much more relational power in a bullying situation than they ever think they have. Just like a flame will suffocate without air, bullying behavior reduces when the larger group refuses to accept it and not endorse it by inaction.
The program offers three simple steps for each roll in any scenario. First, [STOP] a strong hand signal and clear language telling someone to stop disrespectful behavior… This can be done by a victim or a bystander. If the behavior stops, problem solved. If the behavior continues then the perpetrator is specifically choosing to escalate their behaviours (which brings consequences). [Second] At no point is any student or staff expected to accept someone continuing to harass them once they have firmly asserted their need for it to stop. All victims and bystanders are encouraged to leave the situation and remove themselves from the harassment. Social refusal to accept the behavior is key to deterring it from recurring and a unified response indicates to a perpetrator that they are, in fact, in that roll (as seen by others). [Third] all involved, perpetrators, victims and bystanders are encouraged to report what just happened. Perpetrators can report that they received a hand signal and left the person alone for a cool down period. Victims can report that someone chose to continue to disrespect them even when given an opportunity to stop. Bystanders can report what they witnessed to make sure that everyone in the school can feel safe and respected.
We use the analogy of how we deal with other adults in the real world. If you have a neighbour that is up late hosting a party and you have to work early the next day, what do you do? Do you call the police without first talking with your neighbor? Do you set his car on fire? Do you cut down her tree? No. You will likely communicate with the neighbor and state your need. If they listen and stop making noise, problem solved. If they don't, you likely call the police and allow the authorities to deal with it. Any of the earlier actions would make you the one to escalate the situation and the police would be knocking on your door, not the neighbours. It works, it really does. WHS is eager to establish Stop Walk Talk as a fundamental in our school culture. Feel free to check out our STOP WALK TALK Process Poster on the Website! These are also posted all around our school as reminders for students!