Two of Kesser Torah College’s core values are Derech Eretz and Nurturing.  As part of our commitment to these values, Kesser Torah College wants to be a place where students and staff are treated with respect, feel safe, and can study and do their work without being bullied. 

What is bullying?
Bullying is when a person acts in a mean, nasty or unfair way that makes someone else feel frightened, threatened or upset.

Often the person who does the bullying is bigger or stronger or older – but not always.
For example, it might be bullying if someone:

  1. teases you or calls you names
  2. says nasty things about where you were born, your family, your shul/synagogue or community, your food or the way you look or dress
  3. sends nasty or threatening text messages or emails to you
  4. spreads rumours or talks or sends messages about you behind your back
  5. posts something about you (including embarrassing photos or video clips) on the internet including on sites like msn, facebook and myspace
  6. makes you do things you don’t want to do
  7. tries to take your friends away from you; or tries to stop you from becoming friends with others or being part of a group
  8. makes threatening or rude signs to you
  9. damages or hides your things; or steals your things or your money, or hits, kicks, pinches, bites, pushes or shoves you.

It is also bullying if someone threatens to do any of these things.

Some people might think that bullying is a joke, or shows that they are tough.  This is not true.  It is not funny or brave to make someone feel sad, confused, worried or frightened or to hurt them or push them around.  Bullying goes against Kesser Torah College’s values of Derech Eretz and Nurturing.

What can you do about bullying?

Bullying is never OK. 

Sometimes, bullies will stop if their behaviour doesn’t get them the reaction they want.  So, if you just walk away and show that you are not frightened, the bully might stop.  In many cases, though, ignoring the bully doesn’t work – and you will need to do something to make it stop. 

You can choose what to do about it:

  1. you can talk to the bully: say that you do not like what the person is doing and tell him or her to stop.  Explain exactly what you mean. 

  2. you can tell a teacher about the bullying: if telling the person to stop doesn’t work – or if you just want an adult’s help – tell your class teacher or a Coordinator or the Principal.
  3. you can tell your parent or caregiver: if you feel more comfortable, tell your parent or caregiver about the bullying and ask that person to help you or speak to your teacher or a Coordinator or the Principal about it for you.

Some people might think that telling a teacher or parent or caregiver about bullying is a kind of ‘dobbing’ – that it is the wrong thing to do.  This is not true.  Bullying is a problem.  Telling the truth about bullying is the right thing to do.  It can help to stop you being bullied, and to stop other people being bullied in the future.

You might also think that things will get worse if you tell a teacher or parent or caregiver.  But if you don’t do something about it, the bullying may never go away.  Bullying often happens away from teachers and other adults, so they do not know it is happening.  Your teacher or another adult should be able to help sort out the problem.
You should not try to hit back or gang up on someone who is bullying you.  Doing this may make the situation worse, not better, and you may end up being a bully too.  There are better ways to solve problems and handle your feelings.

If you see somebody else being bullied, you should also speak up and say that what is happening is wrong.  Often, if a person who is watching tells a bully to stop, the bully will stop.  You could also tell a teacher or Coordinator or the Principal – this will help Kesser Torah College to stop bullying from happening.  It is a mitzvah to help someone who is unhappy – including because that person is being bullied. 

What will Kesser Torah College do about bullying?

Kesser Torah College wants to stop any bullying that happens here.  If you tell us (by telling a teacher, a Coordinator or the Principal) about something that you think is bullying, we will talk to you and maybe to the bully, and we might punish the bully.  We will also check with you later that you are not having any more problems. 
If you bully other people, then Kesser Torah College might punish you, including by suspending or expelling you.  You may also be required to go to counselling or a behaviour management program.

What are the signs that my child is being bullied?
Many children will not tell their parents or caregivers directly if they are being bullied.  Some may hint or allude to a problem about bullying, and others may show signs that they are being bullied.
The signs that children may be being bullied might include:

  1. fear of going to school or regularly complaining they are too ill to go to school
  2. change in usual route to school or not wanting to go on the school bus
  3. beginning to do poorly in school work where there have not been problems before
  4. lack of friends
  5. damaged or missing belongings
  6. unexplained bruises, scratches or cuts, or torn clothing
  7. unexplained requests for extra money
  8. increased fearfulness and anxiety which may manifest as reduced appetite, crying themselves to sleep or wetting the bed
  9. becoming withdrawn and lacking confidence
  10. becoming more emotional, aggressive or unreasonable
  11. beginning to bully other children or siblings, or
  12. threatening or attempting suicide.

What should I do if I think my child is being bullied?
If you think your child is being bullied, but he or she will not discuss it or denies it is happening, you should inform your child’s class teacher or a Coordinator about your concerns.

If your child tells you that he or she is being bullied, you should let your child know that you are pleased the child has told you about it, that you believe the child and that it is not his/her fault.  It is important not to trivialise what is happening.

You should then:

  1. report the bullying to the College: where appropriate, encourage your child to report the bullying to his/her class teacher or a Coordinator.  You should then call Kesser Torah College to check that your child has spoken to someone about the problem.  Otherwise, you should tell your child that you are going to report it, and then do so
  2. support and encourage your child: explain to your child that you will be involved as necessary and appropriate, and reassure your child that his/her teacher or a Coordinator will help develop a response to improve the situation, and
  3. be involved in the process: be willing to attend any meetings or interviews and work with Kesser Torah College to ensure any measures implemented are effective and adequate.  In some cases, it may be necessary to organise counselling for your child.
    You should not encourage your child to retaliate or hit back if he or she is being bullied.
  4. What should I do if my child shows bullying behaviour?
    You may also need to be prepared to accept that your child may be bullying someone else.  Children and young people who bully others often have trouble in their relationships with others in later life.
    Kesser Torah College aims to treat all students accused of bullying fairly.
    If your child is accused of bullying, or you think your child has been bullying others, you should:
    • take the matter seriously: you should make it clear to your child that (if it has happened) this kind of behaviour is not acceptable, and
    • be involved in the process: be willing to attend any meetings or interviews and work with Kesser Torah College to:
      help discover the truth about the allegations, and
      ensure any measures implemented are effective and adequate. 

In some cases, it may be necessary to organise counselling for your child.

Any questions?
If you have any questions about what bullying is or how to deal with it at Kesser Torah College, please talk to your teacher or a Coordinator as soon as possible.

To view all of KTC's policies for students, please click here to open the Student Handbook.