River Valley has one Registered Nurse who serves all of the students of our district.
"School Nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success, and lifelong achievement and health of students" (National Association of School Nurses). The primary role of the school nurse is to support student learning by acting as advocate and liaison between the home, the school and the medical community regarding concerns that affect a student's ability to learn. The goal of the River Valley nurse is to keep students healthy, in school and ready to learn.
The school health program includes the following components: comprehensive health services, health education, safe environment, nutrition, physical activity, mental health, parent and community involvement and staff wellness.
To be compliant with State Guidelines, updated immunization records must be in to the school office by of the start of the school year. Kindergarten students require a series of immunizations. Please contact your medical provider for a list of these immunizations. The 7th grade students are required to have a Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) booster. Senior students also need a meningococcal immunization. Documentation must be provided to the school before October 1 or your child will not be able to attend school until it is received.
The following forms are posted for your convenience:
What Is Bullying?
Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself. Usually, bullying is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms, such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by phone or computer e-mail (cyberbullying).
Effects of Bullying
Bullying can have serious consequences. Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to
- Be depressed, lonely or anxious
- Have low self-esteem
- Be absent from school
- Feel sick
- Think about suicide
Reporting Bullying to Parents
Children frequently do not tell their parents that they are being bullied because they are embarrassed, ashamed, frightened of the children who are bullying them, or afraid of being seen as a “tattler.” If your child tells you about being bullied, it has taken a lot of courage to do so. Your child needs your help to stop the bullying.
What to do if Your Child is being Bullied
1. First, focus on your child. Be supportive and gather information about the bullying.
- Never tell your child to ignore the bullying. What the child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore it. If the child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.
- Don’t blame the child who is being bullied. Don’t assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying. Don’t say, “What did you do to aggravate the other child?”
- Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying. Ask him or her to describe who was involved and how and where each bullying episode happened.
- Learn as much as you can about the bullying tactics used, and when and where the bullying happened. Can your child name other children or adults who may have witnessed the bullying?
- Empathize with your child. Tell him/her that bullying is wrong, not their fault, and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it. Ask your child what he or she thinks can be done to help. Assure him or her that you will think about what needs to be done and you will let him or her know what you are going to do.
- If you disagree with how your child handled the bullying situation, don’t criticize him or her.
- Do not encourage physical retaliation (“Just hit them back”) as a solution. Hitting another student is not likely to end the problem, and it could get your child suspended or expelled or escalate the situation.
- Check your emotions. A parent’s protective instincts stir strong emotions. Although it is difficult, a parent is wise to step back and consider the next steps carefully.
2. Contact your child’s teacher or principal.
- Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to school officials, but bullying may not stop without the help of adults.
- Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child’s experience of being bullied including who, what, when, where and how.
- Emphasize that you want to work with the staff at school to find a solution to stop the bullying, for the sake of your child as well as other students.
- Do not contact the parents of the student(s) who bullied your child. This is usually a parent’s first response, but sometimes it makes matters worse. School officials should contact the parents of the child or children who did the bullying.
- Expect the bullying to stop. Talk regularly with your child and with school staff to see whether the bullying has stopped. If the bullying persists, contact school authorities again.
3. Help your child become more resilient to bullying.
- Help to develop talents or positive attributes of your child. Suggest and facilitate music, athletics and art activities. Doing so may help your child be more confident among his or her peers.
- Encourage your child to make contact with friendly students in his or her class. Your child’s teacher may be able to suggest students with whom your child can make friends, spend time or collaborate on work.
- Help your child meet new friends outside of the school environment. A new environment can provide a “fresh start” for a child who has been bullied repeatedly.
- Teach your child safety strategies. Teach him or her how to seek help from an adult when feeling threatened by a bully. Talk about whom he or she should go to for help and role-play what he or she should say. Assure your child that reporting bullying is not the same as tattling.
- Ask yourself if your child is being bullied because of a learning difficulty or a lack of social skills? If your child is hyperactive, impulsive or overly talkative, the child who bullies may be reacting out of annoyance. This doesn’t make the bullying right, but it may help to explain why your child is being bullied. If your child easily irritates people, seek help from a counselor so that your child can better learn the informal social rules of his or her peer group.
- Home is where the heart is. Make sure your child has a safe and loving home environment where he or she can take shelter, physically and emotionally. Always maintain open lines of communication with your child.
Published Online: February 2009
When Your Child is a Bully
It can be difficult to discover and to acknowledge that your own child is a bully.
Bullying other students is obviously not something a child will talk about at home. But if the descriptions below fit your child, you should take this seriously and look more closely into the matter.
- Has a marked need to dominate or manipulate others
- Is aggressive, nasty, spiteful and generally in opposition
- Seems to like to insult, push around or tease other children
Bullying can be seen as a part of a general pattern of anti-social and rule-breaking behavior. Children who are bullies during their school years are at a much higher risk of later becoming involved in crime, misuse of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. If your child is bullying others, it is important to break this pattern, not just for the sake of the victim, but also for your own child’s sake.
What Can You Do If Your Child Is a Bully?
You will need to work closely with the school to resolve the situation. Being informed by the school or another source that your child is bullying other students may be a difficult fact to face. Making excuses and playing down your child’s behavior will not help him or her. On the contrary, you should act quickly for the sake of the victim and for your own child’s future. As mentioned earlier, children who are aggressive toward their peers are at high risk for what is known as anti-social development, including criminality and misuse of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs at a later stage in their lives. It is, therefore, important to take time now to guide your child on to positive paths.
Steps You Can Take
- Make it quite clear that you take bullying seriously and will not accept the continuation of this behavior. If both you and the school show consistently negative reactions to the child’s bullying, the chances that your child will change are increased.
- Try to set up some simple rules for family interactions. Whenever your child follows the rules, praise him or her. If your child breaks the rules, consistently enforce some kind of negative consequence (for example, the withholding of allowance or other benefits/privileges).
- Spend 15 minutes or more of quality time with your child every day. Gain thorough knowledge into who he or she is spending time with and what they are doing. It is easier for children or young people to change their aggressive behavior if they feel they are reasonably well liked and listened to by their parents/caregivers.
- Help your child use his or her energy and need to dominate in a more positive way, for example, by encouraging him or her to participate in a sport like basketball or soccer, in which one must play by the rules. Explore any particular talents your child may have that can be further developed to enhance his or her self-esteem.
If these kinds of measures, and the plan that has been set up with the school, have not resulted in noticeable changes in your child’s behavior after some time, then you should get in touch with a mental health professional for more help.
Department of Health and Human Services. Excerpted from, “Bullying Is Not a Fact of Life.”
Publish Date: 2003