A conflict is a disagreement, argument, fight or other action between people when they want different things and everyone is equally involved. During a conflict, name-calling, threats and other conduct that might look like bullying can occur. However, a conflict and bullying are very different.
Unlike bullying, during a conflict people are equally involved in some type of disagreement. Conflict is considered mutual, meaning everyone is more or less evenly involved.
Bullying, on the other hand, involves one or several people (the bullies) intentionally committing a mean or violent act against another person(s) or group of people (the victims). When bullying occurs, there is no mutual participation in a disagreement; it is one-sided. Bullying victims have a hard time defending themselves. The victims want the bullying to stop, but the bully continues the behavior.
Conflicts and bullying can interrupt the school day, damage property and cause injuries to the people involved. However, when the behavior involves a conflict, the school will take action based on its code of student conduct instead of the HIB policy.
Conflict vs. HIB
|Involvement||Is mutual and reciprocalBoth parties participate in the conflict, everyone is more or less evenly involved||Is one-sidedNo mutual participation, one or more students are victims of one or more person’s uninvited aggression, needs, or interest.
|Power||Involves people with similar degrees of real or perceived power||Involves an imbalance of power
|Responsibility||Both parties are responsible for wrongdoing||Bully is responsible for wrongdoing
|Intent of Behavior||Each party intends to (negatively) resolve a problem through a mutually competitive or opposing action when they want different things and everyone is more or less equally involved. It is a normal part of growing up and of life.||Bullies: Intention is to cause physical or emotional harm to the victim(s). Involves intentionally committing a mean or violent act against another person(s) or group of people (the victims) motivated by a desire to physically or emotionally hurt the victim(s), for the sake of doing so, not in an attempt to address or resolve a mutual problem.
Victims: Have a hard time defending themselves and want the bullying to stop, but the bully continues the behavior.
|Behaviors Exhibited||Can range from simple disagreement to a verbal arguments, or physical fight. During a conflict, name calling, threats, and other behavior that may look like HIB can occur||Verbal – Includes name calling, taunting, constant teasing or making threats
Physical – Includes hitting, punching, shoving, spitting, or taking or damaging personal belongings
Psychological – Includes spreading rumors, purposefully keeping people from activities and breaking up friendships or other relationships
Electronic/Cyber – Includes using the internet, mobile phone or other electronic equipment to intentionally harm others.
|Resolution||Typically can be fairly resolved by compromise or negotiationWhen the behavior involves a conflict, the school will take action based on its code of student conduct instead of the HIB Policy||A fair resolution involves a change in behavior of the bully; the victim has no concession to makeWhen the behavior is HIB, the school will take action based on the HIB policy|
|Determining if Conflict or HIB||
Determining whether an incident is a conflict or HIB requires an examination of the individual facts of each incident. but the ABR does not apply
An incident that is found to be bullying could lead to a conflict in the future. If a conflict is the result of bullying, a school is required to follow its HIB policy when dealing with the bullying aspect of the incident. To decide whether a behavior is bullying, the school officials must think about all of the facts during an investigation.
New Jersey Department of Education – Guidance for Schools on Implementing the
Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act – December 2011
New Jersey Department of Education – – Guidance for Parents on the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act –
New Jersey Department of Education – Parent Tutorial on the Anti-bullying Bill of
Rights Act (ABR): Part 2 About Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB). http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/behavior/hib/tutorials/ParentTut2.pdf