HIB 101

Let's Chat about Conflict vs. Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying

Conflict
is a MUTUALLY competitive or opposing action or engagement

Conflict occurs naturally as we interact with one another. It may cause us stress and can hurt, conflict is not bullying. It can be accidental and a normal part of growing up. Conflict happens between individuals that have two different points of view about what's going on. It is normal part of life to not always agree with other people about things we want, what we think or what we want to do.

Harassment 
can happen in many ways and it is against federal law when it is based on the protected categories such as someone's race, national origin, gender identity/expression, sex, disability or religion.

Bullying behavior can meet the threshold of harassment when a student is being verbally "bullied" with demeaning language about any of the protected categories stated above.

Harassment differs from conflict and bullying: it doesn't matter if the harasser intends to harm or not.

Example: comments are made to Jewish students and those who people think are Jewish insulting their culture. One student is threatened by another student that she is going to be beaten up for wearing a Star of David necklace. This is harassment that is based on national origin and religion.


Bullying is a very different behavior than conflict. It is a behavior that is intended to cause harm. The person doing the bullying purposely says or does something to hurt the target, even intimidate them.

Intimidation is when an individual frightens or makes someone timid or threatens another person, usually in order to persuade the person to do something they do not wish to do.



Do parents have the right to deny school staff the permission to interview their child as a part of an HIB Investigation? 

No. According to NJ's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, schools have the right to interview students without parents being present. 


What to do?

  • Take the situation seriously, but do not over or under react 
  • Get all the information
  • Work with the school 
  • Many allegations turn out to be normal conflicts and can be resolved through a mediator, counselor or administrator.

Check out our Other Resources and Character Education pages and go to the section that pertains to you to view helpful websites and tips.


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