Director's Dispatch: Preventing Bullying and Harassment



Bullying and harassment is a serious issue facing all schools. Research shows that between 20% (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015) to 33% of all students (Unesco, 2018) will experience bullying and harassment.  Bullying and harassment are serious violations of the ISD standards of conduct.  Students engaging in or supporting this behavior will face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from school.  Students, parents, teachers, and administrators can all take steps to stop this type of behavior.


It is important for all members of our community to be able to recognize bullying and harassment.  The ISD Parent-Student Handbook defines harassment as “any unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile educational or work environment that interferes with learning or social-emotional well being.” Bullying is defined as “deliberate, repeated, hurtful behavior involving an imbalance of power that makes it difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.”Bullying and harassment can occur in many ways including hitting, teasing, deliberately excluding someone from a group, writing offensive notes, and spreading rumors.


Swift intervention is key to stopping bullying and harassment.  Students who experience this type of behavior are strongly encouraged to report it to a teacher, counselor, or administrator. If the students are reluctant to share the information with a school staff member, parents are welcome to contact a counselor or administrator.  The reports can be made in person, by phone, or by email.  If the students or parents feel more comfortable speaking in a language other than English, the school will arrange for a translator. The school has strict guidelines on how to respond to complaints of bullying and harassment. All ISD staff members who receive a report of this behavior are required to report it to a school counselor or administrator. The school administrators will then investigate the report by talking with all the students and staff who may be involved or have witnessed the behavior and take appropriate action.


The students receive instruction throughout the school year of how to manage conflict through advisory and Social-Emotional Learning lessons developed by the school counselors.  It is natural for students to explore different types of behavior as they grow older. The goal of these lessons is to help the students recognize bullying and harassment and the negative effects it can have on the other students.  Another goal of the lessons is to teach students what they can do to help stop this behavior including standing up to students who engage in bullying behavior by telling them it is not right, supporting students who are being harassed, and, equally important, not joining in the inappropriate behavior.  If a student witnesses bullying, a simple but effective way for the student to help is to walk up to the student who is experiencing the harassment and say, “let’s go” and walk the student away from the situation.  If a whole group of students walked away with the person experiencing bullying, it would send a powerful signal to the student doing the harassing. The students should then report the behavior to an adult.


If your child is experiencing bullying or harassment, please contact your child’s school counselor or administrator, listed below. If you have done so and you feel the situation has not been addressed to your satisfaction, please contact me, Alan Knobloch, Director, (alank@faculty.isd.sn).


Elementary School

Kelly Chumrau, Principal, (kellych@faculty.isd.sn)

Jody Rodine, Assistant Principal, (jodyr@faculty.isd.sn)

Shandra Hall, Elementary Counselor, (shandrah@faculty.isd.sn)


Secondary School

Lorne Bird, Principal, (lorneb@faculty.isd.sn)

Eric Rodine, Dean of Students, (ericr@faculty.isd.sn)

Kayla Bishop, High School Counselor, (kaylab@faculty.isd.sn)

Eileen Knobloch, Middle School Counselor, (eileenk@facuty.isd.sn)


The safety and security of our students is our number one priority.  We can stop bullying and harassment if the students, parents, teachers, and administrators work together.

The International School of Dakar

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