Letter to the Editor: Bullying vs. conflict
I am the parent of a Lincoln school 5th grader. I want to remind the parents and educators that there is a significant difference between conflict and bullying. Conflict is a normal part of the routine in school and arises constantly when two or more children do not see things from the same perspective such as perceived unfairness, jealousy over friendships, and teasing back and forth. Conflict by far represents the majority of problems between students in school systems.
Bullying is much rarer, must show an imbalance of power and usually is a verbally or physically aggressive behavior meant to cause harm to another. Determining the difference between conflict and bullying is the responsibility of the school and is usually done through an investigation guided by that particular school’s policies, which are publicly available.
As a parent, when conflict and bullying issues arise, it is important to keep in mind that you will not have all the information regarding the event, as information relating to other students will be confidential. In other words, only school officials have the complete story in these cases.
As a parent of a child who has been involved in conflicts and been both bullied and accused of being a bully, I have found every interaction with Lincoln school officials to be fair and thorough. We receive regular communication, in email and newsletter form, regarding the way that conflict is handled by Lincoln School and how to report any concerns you have. There is a process for reporting and investigating bullying concerns, which are taken very seriously.