Conflict Resolution vs. Bullying Prevention

Worksheet for Teachers and Other School Staff

To illustrate the appropriate use of conflict resolution, the following examples describe situations in which conflict resolution (CR) is – or is not – an appropriate response.

Nyra and Ayla, two girls in Grade 8, are very competitive with each other. Recently, during the school science fair, one of the girls accused the other one – in front of a group of other girls – of copying her science project. The next day, during a class discussion about the fair, the accused girl talked about what had happened and started crying because she felt so humiliated.

Two children – Athia in Grade 3 and Tarandeep in Grade 5 – were playing together when they both spotted, at the same time, a very popular toy left behind by someone in the playground. This lost toy was announced in the school over a period of several days, and no child came forward to claim it. Both children want to keep the toy. A student in Grade 9, Shamar, tells you that his friend’s money is stolen by another student on a regular basis. The next day he comes with his friend, Cosmin, who reluctantly admits that this is true and begs you not to get him into trouble with the student who is stealing, as he is scared of the consequences. You approach the accused student who vehemently denies the accusation, asserting that the other was lending him money and that this was an agreement between them. He will pay him back the money and he wasn’t stealing it. Dennys, a very popular boy in Grade 6 initiates and organizes different games at noon every day in the playground. All the children play, if they wish, except one boy. This boy, Tyler, is small for his age and very shy. The boy who organizes the games says he doesn’t want to play with this child, and they’re his games, since he organizes them, so he gets to choose. Tyler sits all alone during the games and looks very sad and unhappy. A gang of boys in Grade 9 harass a boy in their class on a regular basis. They call him a “fag” and they beat him up. He is obviously terrified of these boys. He avoids them whenever he can – he doesn’t even look at them if he can avoid it. A girl in Grade 3 has accused a boy in her class of stealing the dessert from her lunch. She told him off for this in front of all the kids in the lunchroom and he argued back that he hadn’t stolen it. Then she went to tell the teacher. Amit, a boy in Grade 1, was approached by another boy, Deepak, in his grade and invited to play. Amit told Deepak that he did not want to play with him. Since that time, Deepak has approached Amit every day for two weeks to ask him to play. Deepak has few friends and seems desperate to make friends with Amit. Amit is beginning to feel harassed by Deepak. One day a boy in Grade 8 does not return to class after lunch. School staff is sent out to look for him and he is discovered tied up to a tree in the school yard. He is angry and upset, but he refuses to divulge the names of the students who did this to him. However, witnesses inform school staff who did it. When staff members attempt to discuss the matter with him, he claims it was a joke and that the perpetrators are friends of his. A group of about eight close-knit girls in Grade 4 spend a lot of time together, playing together at recess and having sleepovers on the weekend. During a recess conversation, Andjela becomes furious about a comment made by Taia, which she perceives to be an insult. The next day, Andjela and all the other girls in this circle of friends refuse to speak with or look at Taia. Over the course of the following week, the group of girls bands together to ignore and freeze out this girl. Taia becomes increasingly quiet and withdrawn and begins to miss days at school. Michael and Lazar, two boys in Grade 10, are good friends – they hang out together on weekends and generally spend a lot of time together. One day the two boys have a verbal fight when Michael borrows Lazar’s leather jacket and does not return it. Lazar decides he no longer wishes to be friends with Michael. Seeing that Lazar has rejected him and will no longer talk to him or interact with him, Michael becomes furious. He begins a campaign of revenge, vandalizing Lazar’s locker, jumping on him on his way home from school and fighting him, and writing graffiti about him. Lazar retaliates and the level of aggression gradually escalates until school staff steps in.