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Don't let anyone dull your sparkle! Conflict vs. Bullying

Written by Lenard Murray
Executive Head of Schools

As Head Teacher of SIS Semarang, I find myself very lucky to lead a school where cases of bullying are extremely rare. Bullying is an important issue and one that we must always be proactive about, monitoring situations as closely as possible and making Health and Safety for students our priority.

At SIS Semarang we have a zero bullying policy and are very effective at curbing behaviour we deem as having bullying tendencies. By educating our students about bullying from a very young age we can ensure awareness and understanding by underlining the importance of integrity and caring. It is also extremely important to define and classify normal conflict - essential to developing children - and actual bullying.

We have a school-wide commitment to teach students how to interact in a healthy manner but we also need students to recognise that not every negative interaction should be considered “bullying”.  Below is a useful video for differentiating between normal, regular conflict and bullying.

For further reading on the difference between conflict vs. bullying, please see this informative article on the subject from Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Centre out of the United States.

We ask our children to be strong, have an opinion and to persevere, yet we also ask them to demonstrate respect, behave nicely and show caring with integrity. From time to time, children can be pulled or drift a little too much in either direction. It is up to us as educators and as parents to find a healthy middle ground. In general our students are really, really good kids, who only need some redirection from time to time. Teachers, parents and students need the ability to differentiate between a negative interaction, tit-for-tat conflicts and actual bullying.