Club Policy on Bullying

Action Plan of the Porter Valley Polar Bears(PVPB) to Address Bullying


Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at PVPB and will not be tolerated. Bullying is counterproductive to team spirit and can be devastating to a victim. PVPB is committed to providing a safe, caring and friendly environment for all of our members. If bullying does occur, all athletes and parents should know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. Anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a coach, board member or athlete/mentor.


Objectives of the Club’s Bullying Policy and Action Plan:


1. To make it clear that PVPB will not tolerate bullying in any form.

2. To define bullying and give all board members, coaches, parents and swimmers a good

understanding of what bullying is.

3. To make it known to all parents, swimmers and coaching staff that there is a policy and

protocol should any bullying issues arise.

4. To make how to report bullying clear and understandable.

5. To spread the word that PVPB takes bullying seriously and that all swimmers

and parents can be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.



The USA Swimming Code of Conduct prohibits bullying. Generally, bullying is the use of

aggression, whether intentional or not, which hurts another person. Bullying results in pain and


Source: – a federal government website managed by the U.S.

Department of Health & Human Services


The USA Swimming Code of Conduct defines bullying in 304.3.7. Bullying is the severe or

repeated use by one or more USA Swimming members of oral, written, electronic or other

technological expression, image, sound, data or intelligence of any nature (regardless of the

method of transmission), or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at

any other member that to a reasonably objective person has the effect of:



 causing physical or emotional harm to the other member or damage to the other

member’s property;


placing the other member in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage

to his/her property;


creating a hostile environment for the other member at any USA Swimming activity;


 infringing on the rights of the other member at any USA Swimming activity; or


materially and substantially disrupting the training process or the orderly operation of

any USA Swimming activity (which for the purposes of this section shall include,

without limitation, practices, workouts and other events of a member club or LSC).


An athlete who feels that he or she has been bullied is asked to do one or more of the following


  • Talk to your parents;
  • Talk to a Club Coach, Board Member, or other designated individual;
  • Write a letter or email to the Club Coach, Board Member, or other designated individual;
  •  Make a report to the USA Swimming Safe Sport staff.

There is no express time limit for initiating a complaint under this procedure, but every effort

should be made to bring the complaint to the attention of the appropriate club leadership as

soon as possible to make sure that memories are fresh and behavior can be accurately recalled

and the bullying behavior can be stopped as soon as possible.



If bullying is occurring during team-related activities, we STOP BULLYING ON THE SPOT using

the following steps:

1. Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.

2. Separate the kids involved.

3. Make sure everyone is safe.

4. Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.

5. Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.

6. Model respectful behavior when you intervene.

If bullying is occurring at our club or it is reported to be occurring at our club, we address the


following approach:


1. First, we get the facts.

a. Keep all the involved children separate.

b. Get the story from several sources, both adults and kids.

c. Listen without blaming.

d. Don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.

e. It may be difficult to get the whole story, especially if multiple athletes are involved

or the bullying involves social bullying or cyber bullying. Collect all available


2. Then, we determine if it's bullying. There are many behaviors that look like bullying but

require different approaches. It is important to determine whether the situation is bullying

or something else.

a. Review the USA Swimming definition of bullying;

b. To determine if the behavior is bullying or something else, consider the following


  • What is the history between the kids involved?
  • Have there been past conflicts?
  •  Is there a power imbalance? Remember that a power imbalance is not limited to physical strength. It is sometimes not easily recognized. If the targeted child feels like there is a power imbalance, there probably is.
  • Has this happened before? Is the child worried it will happen again?

c. Remember that it may not matter “who started it.” Some kids who are bullied may

be seen as annoying or provoking, but this does not excuse the bullying behavior.

d. Once you have determined if the situation is bullying, support all of the kids



3. Support the kids who are being bullied

a. Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to

help. Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.

b. Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child,

parents, and fellow team members and coaches may all have valuable input. It may

help to:



 Ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe.

Remember that changes to routine should be minimized. He or she is not at

fault and should not be singled out. For example, consider rearranging lane

assignments for everyone. If bigger moves are necessary, such as switching

practice groups, the child who is bullied should not be forced to change.


Develop a game plan. Maintain open communication between the Club and

parents. Discuss the steps that will be taken and how bullying will be

addressed going forward.


c. Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and

consistently support the bullied child.


4. Address bullying behavior

a. Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully

must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.

b. Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not

be tolerated. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem.

c. Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied. For



 Sometimes children bully to fit in or just to make fun of someone is a little

different from them. In other words, there may be some insecurity involved.


Other times kids act out because something else—issues at home, abuse,

stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids

may be in need of additional support.

d. Involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation. The goal is to help them see how their actions affect others. For example, the child can:


Write a letter apologizing to the athlete who was bullied.


 Do a good deed for the person who was bullied, for the Club, or for others in

your community.


Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.

e. Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences:


Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work.

Suspending or removing from the team swimmers who bully does not reduce

bullying behavior. Swimmers may be less likely to report and address bullying

if suspension or getting kicked off the team is the consequence.


 Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not

a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing

those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.

f. Follow-up. After the bullying issue is resolved, continue finding ways to help the

child who bullied to understand how what they do affects other people. For

example, praise acts of kindness or talk about what it means to be a good


5. Support bystanders who witness bullying. Every day, kids witness bullying. They want to

help, but don’t know how. Fortunately, there are a few simple, safe ways that athletes can

help stop bullying when they see it happening.

a. Be a friend to the person being bullied;

b. Tell a trusted adult – your parent, coach, or club board member;

c. Help the kid being bullied get away from the situation. Create a distraction, focus

the attention on something else, or offer a way for the target to get out of the

situation. “Let’s go, practice is about to start.”

d. Set a good example by not bullying others.

e. Don’t give the bully an audience. Bullies are encouraged by the attention they get

from bystanders. If you do nothing else, just walk away.