Anti-Bullying at North Muskegon Elementary A guide for Students, Parents, and Staff

What is "Bullying"?

At North Muskegon Elementary, we use the following research-based definition and description of bullying as presented by Dr. Marcia McEvoy (2013):

"Bullying is a form of aggression that is intentional, repeated, and involves an imbalance of power between the students involved."

Bullying can take the form of a look, gesture, word, or action.

The bully always has more power than his or her target (e.g., more popular, more friends, better verbal skills, more physically attractive, more money or nice clothes, more athletic, bigger, taller, stronger, etc.)

During the bully-target aggression, there is usually a difference in affect displayed by the bully and the target. The bully may show little or no emotion. The target is usually upset, and often displays anger, sadness, fear, or frustration.

The video encourages a child experiencing aggressive behavior to "tell an adult, NOW." At North Muskegon Elementary, we often put it this way:

“If your body or feelings are hurt so bad that you cannot handle it by yourself by firmly telling the other child to stop, you need to report it to the nearest adult.”

Tell the Nearest Adult

Telling the NEAREST adult is crucial. The nearest adult could be a lunch aide, a teacher in the hallway, the Principal, your teacher, a paraprofessional, etc. But, it needs to be the nearest adult. This procedure allows us as adults to most efficiently and most accurately handle the situation. For example, a student should not wait to tell his/her classroom teacher or to come to the office about an incident that occurred at recess.

You should say, “I need to report something . . .”

The adult receiving the report might ask, “Did you report this to the nearest adult?”

Then, it is your job as a reporter to do as the adult instructs you. He/she may have questions for you or may send you on your way to class, to play at recess, etc.

Once you have reported the incident to the nearest adult and he/she releases you, you have done your job. If your teacher, the Principal, or the office needs you, you will be called down at a later time.

Be a Good Bystander

If you are a bystander that hears or sees mean or aggressive behavior that cannot be handled by another child, quickly and safely get help from the nearest adult by saying, “I need to report something . . .”

Never join in or simply watch behavior that is not North STARS behavior. Sometimes too, if you feel it is safe, it is helpful for you to say something like, "Stop. That is not nice."

Or, you may want to reach out to the victim in other ways. Take a look at this video:

Once you have reported the incident to the nearest adult and he/she releases you, you have done your job. If your teacher, the Principal, or the office needs you, you will be called down at a later time.

Adult Intervention

Adults at North Muskegon Elementary want what is best for all children. We work within a system of positive behavior supports, better known as the North STARS.

Safety, Think, Attitude, Respect, and Success

Our job is to distinguish between mean, aggressive, and bullying behaviors so all students are safe and also receive the necessary guidance for social and emotional growth and development.

Yes, this includes children who may have been mean, aggressive, or engaging in bullying behaviors.

Once an incident is reported by a student, North Muskegon Elementary staff are trained to handle the next steps which may include intervention, de-escalation, investigation, documentation, a verbal warning, immediate consequences, a written referral, etc.


While it is human nature for students (and sometimes parents) to want to know the consequences that the staff member implemented based upon a student report and/or investigation by staff, it is not always possible, appropriate, or legal.

You may find the video above, "An Introduction to PBS," helpful in understanding why consequences and plans of action for the "bully" need to remain confidential under law.

We appreciate that you trust NME staff to make the best decisions for the safety and well-being of all of our students.

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Steve Sanocki
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