Dolphins Action Plan to Address Bullying
The following plan is modeled after the USA Swimming provided model in line with the proper implementation of the USA Swimming anti-bullying resolutions. This plan is provided to assist members of our program understand how to address bullying and develop a plan that has been agreed to by all constituents of our program.
Bullying of any kind is unacceptable with the Dolphin Swim Club of the Hudson Valley (hereafter referred to as 'Dolphins') and will not be tolerated. As a family driven organization, one of the most critical values we hold for our program are unconditional acceptance and support for one another and a general positive regard for all members of our program. The Dolphins are 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 Captain.
Objectives of the Dolphins' Bullying Policy and Action Plan:
1. To make it clear that the Dolphins 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 the Dolphins takes bullying seriously and that all swimmers and parents can be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
WHAT IS BULLYING?
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:
i. causing physical or emotional harm to the other member or damage to the other member's property;
ii. placing the other member in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property;
iii. creating a hostile environment for the other member at any USA Swimming activity;
iv. infringing on the rights of the other member at any USA Swimming activity; or
v. 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 please do one or more of the following things:
- Talk to your parents
- Talk to a board member
- Write a letter or email to the Head Coach or your primary group coach
- 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 staff and board 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.
HOW WE HANDLE BULLYING
We ask ALL members of the Hudson Valley including the families to help us stop STOP BULLYING ON THE SPOT during any team related functions using the following steps:
1. Intervene immediately. If you are a swimmer witnessing bullying a swimmer, it is OK to stop what you are doing and get a coach or adults attention immediately. The subsequent steps apply to any adults who may be asked for support.
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 bullying by FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED and SUPPORTING THE KIDS INVOLVED using the following approach:
1. First, we get the facts.
- Keep all the involved children separate.
- Get the story from several sources, both adults and kids.
- Listen without blaming.
- Don't call the act bullying while you are trying to understand what happened.
- 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 information.
2. Determine if it was 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. Review the definition of bullying by USA Swimming and gather 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 (such as age, program group, athletic ability, or social status)
- Has this happened before?
- Is the child worried it will happen again?
Remember that it does not matter who started it, but that kids being bullied may be seen as annoying or provoking, but this does not excuse the bullying behavior involved.
SUPPORTING THE KIDS INVOLVED
3. Support the kids who are being bullied
- Listen and focus on the child. Learn what's been going on and show you want to
- Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. Assure the child that bullying is not their fault. Coaches, parents, and fellow team members may all have valuable input. It may help to:
- Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and keep an open dialogue to be sure the issues have been resolved
- Ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe.
- Allow any reasonable accommodations, keeping in mind the point below.
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.
4. Address bullying behavior
- Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully need to learn that their behavior is not acceptable
- Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated
- Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied.They may be in need of additional support
- Involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation.
The goal is to help the kids see themselves as others do. They should learn their behavior is wrong and harms other. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem. For example:
- 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, and may also need more guidance 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 our community.
- Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.
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 teammate.
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. All Dolphins swimmers should do their best to:
a. Be a friend to the person being bullied
b. Tell your parents, coach, or a 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.
Do not stay silent. Our team is more than a team, it is a family that we all value. To keep it that way we need to work together and stop any behavior that harms the people involved in our program.