Bullying Policy

Deerfoot United Football Club is committed to providing players and staff with a positive and caring environment where everyone feels safe and respected.

Therefore, bullying is unacceptable at any time and in any situation and will not be tolerated at DUFC.
Bullying conflicts sharply with the DUFC’s Mission and the Code of Conducts.
Resources:

UNDERSTANDING BULLYING

According to Alberta Education, “bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate, repeated and hostile activity marked by an imbalance of power, intent to harm and/or threat of aggression. It can be verbal (name-calling, put-downs, threats, homophobic bullying, social (exclusion, gossip, ganging up), physical (hitting, damaging property) or cyber bullying (using the computer to harass or threaten)”. It can occur within a peer group or between groups. It can occur at school and in sports.

Bullying is NOT a normal part of growing up, and it does not build character. Bullying is a form of abuse. It is a learned behavior that hurts everyone—those who get bullied, those doing the bullying, and the people watching. Bullying damages schools, teams, communities and society at large. Bullying affects children’s psychological well-being and academic performance.

Bullying is a relationship problem. It is the assertion of interpersonal power through aggression. Bullying is a series of issues and interactions and communication break downs that lead to hurt and damage.
Bullying involves:
  • repeated and consistent negative actions against another.
  • an imbalance of power between the bully and the target.
  • a contrast of feelings between the bully and the target as a result of the bullying episode (the child who bullies may feel excited, powerful or amused, while the target feels afraid, embarrassed or hurt).
The four most common types of bullying are:
  1. Verbal Bullying—name calling, sarcasm, teasing, spreading rumors, threatening,making references to one’s culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, unwanted comments.
  2. Social Bullying—mobbing, scapegoating, excluding others from a group, humiliating others, gestures or graffiti intended to put others down.
  3. Physical Bullying—hitting, poking, pinching, chasing, shoving, coercing, destroying, unwanted sexual touching.
  4. Cyber Bullying—using the Internet (Social Networks such as FaceBook) or text messaging to intimidate, put down or spread rumors about someone
Parents and coaches are generally unaware of the extent of bullying among children. Many players who have been bullied or been bullied do talk to their coaches or parents about the problem; yet, many players downplay or hide bullying incidents, often, because they fear retaliation, feel pressure to deal with their own problems or feel that adults are unable to protect them from future bullying.
Bullying behaviors cross all age groups, sometimes beginning as early as two or three years of age and reaching into adulthood. Although the forms of bullying may change as people get older, the issues of power and control remain the same. Similarly, boys and girls are involved in bullying at about the same rate, but how they bully may differ. For boys, bullying is more likely to take direct, often physical forms—kicking, hitting, pushing, shoving and threatening. Among girls, bullying is more likely to be indirect, involving acts of social alienation such as spreading rumors, withdrawing friendship or ignoring.

EFFECTS OF BULLYING

Bullying can have serious consequences for the individual players involved, the team community and society. Players who are bullied may experience physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches and nightmares, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. They may also experience social isolation, develop a negative view of themselves, sport and school, and have in creasing difficulty with school and sport achievement. Widespread bullying creates a team environment of fear and hostility that negatively impacts the feelings and learning of all players. Bullying is increasingly understood as a form of trauma that negatively affects individuals’ ability to make friends, belong to groups, deal with authority figures and relate to loved ones. Long-term effects for Targets include feeling shame, believing they are unlikable, thoughts of revenge, difficulties with anger, anxiety (especially in social situations) and depression.
Bullying can also be a precursor to other aggressive behaviors with serious social effects. Without intervention, bullying behaviors tend to remain constant or escalate rather than improve as the child gets older. Bullying behavior that is ignored may progress into gang attacks, physical or sexual assault, dating violence, marital violence, workplace harassment, and child or elder abuse.

OBSERVING BULLYING

Bullying is very much a group phenomenon, with 85 percent of bullying taking place in the presence of others (including social media). When players observe bullying, several things commonly happen:
  • Aggressive behaviors are modeled by someone who appears to be more powerful
  • More positive peer attention is paid to the player who bullies than the player who is bullied
  • The presence of others makes it seem that several people are involved.
These factors reduce the feelings of guilt of the players who engages in bullying and lower the inhibitions of the players who are observing. As a result, even though most players report that watching bullying makes them feel uncomfortable, observing these incidents may actually make players more likely to engage in bullying themselves.
On the other hand, when onlookers do intervene, they are often effective in stopping bullying.  Furthermore, if the team community values and encourages active intervention in bullying situations, players are more likely to challenge bullying behaviors. By providing players with the skills and confidence to intervene in bullying situations, players can take a significant step towards stopping bullying behavior.

DEVELOPING A SUPERVISION PLAN

The single most effective deterrent to bullying is adult presence and supervision. Since most bullying behaviors occur during break times, well-planned supervision at these times is critical to reducing bullying incidents. Strategies that may reducing bullying through supervision include:
  • Provide close supervision in areas where bullying most frequently occurs (washroom/locker rooms, hallways, parking lots).
  • Teach appropriate activities that players can participate in at practices or during breaks

 

DEALING WITH BULLYING

What Targets should do:
  • Realize that they are not alone.
  • Realize that it not their fault.
  • Talk about it with a trusted adult. (Parents, teachers, coaches, administrators and other team personal MUST respect the anonymity of the Target and/or reporting players. Until players trust that this will happen, bullying will go unreported, and bullies will continue to thrive. The most effective intervention against bullying is adult involvement.)
  • Be polite, firm and assertive with the bully.
  • Report the incident to a team official (either verbally or written to a caoch or the team manager)
What Bystanders should do:
  • Befriend the friendless. (A casual greeting and an occasional conversation can communicate to the whole team that this person is more than a target for bullies.)
  • Don’t gossip. (Gossip can further relational bulling when gossip is used to keep someone on the ‘outside’.)
  • Don’t watch and don’t react. (Bullies love an audience and are looking for support.)
  • Offer verbal support in private or in front of the clique leaders.
  • Tell a parent or teacher.

 

What Players who have Bullied should do:

  • Learn how to handle and control their anger and behavior.
  • Ask, “Why am I doing this?”
  • Get help to feel better about themselves.
  • Try to stop picking on someone for just one day.
  • Talk to another bully and discuss their behavior.
  • Think about how they would feel if they were the Target.
  • Try to get attention by doing something good.
  • Cut it out, confess their wrongs, and make it right.

 

What Parents should do:

  • Wait for their child’s timing. (Use open-ended questions and be patient for them to share their pain.)
  • Listen carefully. (Don’t jump into the problem-solving mode. Ask them questions and try to get as complete a picture as possible.)
  • Offer advice only when it is requested. (Don’t tell your child what to do and force a solution on them. Ask them how you can help. Empower them to solve the problem on their own so they can gain confidence in their abilities to resolve conflict. You are teaching them life skills, and you don’t want to miss the lesson on how to deal with bad things in their lives.)
  • Empathize. (Put yourself in their shoes and feel their pain.)
  • Validate their experience. (Take the complaint seriously and let them know you are on their side. You are their ‘safety net’ in times of trouble. Even if it turns out to be routine peer conflicts, your child needs to know you will protect them.)
  • Help them make friends.
  • Affirm and admire. (Tell your child what you like about the way she is handling the bullying situation. Affirmation is the best reinforcement and encouragement tool you have at your disposal.)
  • Empower. (Start with your child’s strategies and build on them. Help your child avoid the situation that expose them to the bullying. Point out places your child can go for help. Develop a list of friendly kids.)
  • Protect and advocate. (In select situations, it is important to talk to other parents, coaches, club administrators, teachers and school administrators. Do this with your child’s input. Review the results together. Keep a written record of what happened.)
  • Be open to seeing the whole story. (It is natural for parents to jump to their children’s defense when they are threatened. Yet, it is possible that their children may not have provided the full story on the first telling.)
  • Don’t break confidentiality unless absolution necessary. (It is vital for you to have an open and trusting relationship with your child. If he or she does not want you to contact others, then respect and follow those wishes if it is at all possible to do so and it is in the child’s best interest. Sometimes bullying situations can become dangerous and even life threatening, and you will feel compelled to contact the proper authorities for the sake of your child’s safety. Make sure you first explain to your child why it is necessary to break his or her confidentiality.)
  • Don’t tell your child to ‘hit them back’. (This may be the worst advice you can give. Physical resistance can breed revenge and more attacks. As a rule, physical coercion is not a good problem-solving technique.)
  • Don’t emotionally crowd out your child’s feelings with your own anxiety.(Parents must model the emotional maturity they want their child to emulate. The also much provide a safe, nurturing context for their child to share his or her thoughts and feelings. If children see their parents becoming emotionally charged every time they report a problem they will stop sharing their feelings.)
  • Communicate with the club and schools. Give the clubs and school the benefit of the doubt. Develop a strategy for your call or meeting. Bring a written summary of the incidents. Request that additional supervision and/or monitoring be provided in the target bully areas. Follow up with club and school personnel about progress and difficulties.
  • Be a positive role model. Set a good example, reinforce positive behavior and create constructive leadership situations.