WRIGHT COUNTY WAVE SWIM CLUB ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

 PURPOSE – The Wright County Wave Swim Club (the “Club”) is committed to providing a safe, caring and friendly environment for all of our members hence bullying of any kind will not be tolerated. Bullying is counterproductive to team spirit and can be devastating to a victim.  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, team manager or a board member.
 
WRIGHT COUNTY WAVE SWIM CLUB ANTI-BULLYING OBJECTIVES
 
1. To make it clear that the Club will not tolerate bullying in any form.
2. To define bullying and educate coaches, swimmers and parents the types of behavior that constitutes bullying.
3. To inform coaches, swimmers and parents that there is a policy and protocol should any bullying issues arise.
4. To make clear the responsibility of all Club members to report bullying.
5. To communicate that the Club takes bullying seriously and that 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 (“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).
 
REPORTING PROCEDURE - An athlete who feels that he or she has been bullied is asked to do one or more of the following things:
 
Talk to his or her parents;
Talk to a Coach, Board Member, or other designated individual;
Write a letter or email to a 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 stop the bullying behavior and to make sure that memories are fresh and the behavior can be accurately recalled.
 
HOW WE HANDLE BULLYING - 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 bullying by finding out what happened and supporting the athletes involved using the following approach:
 
FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED – Get the facts by using the following pointers:
1. Keep all the children separate.
2. Get the story from several sources (adults and kids) and gather all information regarding the circumstances under which the incident occurred.
3. Listen without blaming.
4. Don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.
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DETERMINE IF IT’S BULLYING - There are many behaviors that look like bullying but require different approaches. To determine whether the situation is bullying or something else review the USA Swimming definition of bullying; and ask the following questions:
 
1. What is the history between the kids involved?
2. Have there been past conflicts?
3. Is there a power imbalance? Remember that a power imbalance is not limited to physical strength and it can include things like the “popularity” of the kids involved.
4. Has this happened before? Is the child worried it will happen again?
 
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.  Once you have determined if the situation is bullying, support all kids involved.
 
SUPPORTING THE KIDS INVOLVED – Below are steps to support all the kids involved including the victim, the child who bullied and the bystanders. 
 
1. Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show how you want to help. Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.
 
2.  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:
a.  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.
b. 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.
 
3. 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. Sometimes children bully to fit in or just to make fun of someone is a little different form 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 may also have been bullied. These kids need 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 Redlands Swim Team, 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 that don’t work. Swimmers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or getting kids kicked off the team is the consequence.  Similarly, conflict resolution and peer meditation 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 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 teammate.
 
4.  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.