Panorama Community Schools

Bullying Prevention & Community Responsibility

Situational Awareness
  1. Each of the colored roles below will be best handled if we are practicing our use of situational awareness
    1. "Situational Awareness" is a term often used by people who think a lot about keeping U.S. citizens safe - like the Department of Homeland Security, or police and fire fighters.
      1. Consider this description of situational awareness from a security expert, Scott Stafford, " It is important to note that situational awareness — being aware of one's surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations — is more of a mindset than a hard skill. Because of this, situational awareness is not something that can be practiced only by highly trained government agents or specialized corporate security teams. Indeed, it can be exercised by anyone with the will and the discipline to do so. Situational awareness is not only important for recognizing terrorist threats, but it also serves to identify criminal behavior and other dangerous situations " (A Practical Guide to Situational Awareness - comparison to driving levels of focus)
    2. It is our responsibility to be fully aware of our surroundings throughout our day. In this way we can look for cues about how safe our environment is for us and others. In general, public places require more situational awareness. 
    3. Determine whether the event you noticed, or that surprised you, has led your nervous system to have a false alarm, or if the alarm you feel is reasonable and you need to pay attention to take in as many details as possible.  
      1. Compare Stafford's 5 Levels of Situational Awareness to your own experiences - 
        1. tuned out - similar to when you are driving in a very familiar environment or are engrossed in thought, a daydream, a song on the radio or even by the kids fighting in the backseat. Increasingly, cellphone calls and texting are also causing people to tune out while they drive. Have you ever arrived somewhere in your vehicle without even really thinking about your drive there? If so, then you've experienced being tuned out.
        2. relaxed awareness - is like defensive driving. This is a state in which you are relaxed but are also watching the other cars on the road and are looking at the road ahead for potential hazards. For example, if you are approaching an intersection and another driver looks like he may not stop, you tap your brakes to slow your car in case he does not. Defensive driving does not make you weary, and you can drive this way for a long time if you have the discipline to keep yourself from slipping into tuned-out mode.
        3. focused awareness - is like driving in hazardous road conditions. You need to practice this level of awareness when you are driving on icy or slushy roads — or the pothole-infested roads populated by erratic drivers that exist in many developing countries. When you are driving in such an environment, you need to keep two hands on the wheel at all times and have your attention totally focused on the road and the other drivers around you. You don't dare take your eyes off the road or let your attention wander. There is no time for cellphone calls or other distractions. The level of concentration required for this type of driving makes it extremely tiring and stressful.
        4. high alert - This is the level that induces an adrenaline rush, a prayer and a gasp for air all at the same time. This is what happens when that car you are watching at the intersection ahead doesn't stop at the stop sign and pulls out right in front of you. High alert can be scary, but at this level you are still able to function. You can hit your brakes and keep your car under control. In fact, the adrenaline rush you get at this stage can sometimes aid your reflexes.
        5. comatose - is what happens when you literally freeze at the wheel and cannot respond to stimuli, either because you have fallen asleep or, at the other end of the spectrum, because you are petrified. It is this panic-induced paralysis that concerns us most in relation to situational awareness. The comatose level is where you go into shock, your brain ceases to process information and you simply cannot react to the reality of the situation. Many times when this happens, a person can go into denial, believing that "this can't be happening to me," or the person can feel as though he or she is observing the event rather than actually participating in it. Often, the passage of time will seem to grind to a halt. Crime victims frequently report experiencing this sensation and being unable to act during an unfolding crime.
    4. Our public agencies often rely on the situational awareness of regular citizens to identify crime and danger.  Trust your situational awareness skills and report concerns to local authorities.  Tell whoever is responsible for the area you have the concern (school/teacher, swimming pool/life guard, mall/security, state park/park officer, etc).
      1. Call 9-1-1 for an emergency - any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance. See webpage source for below lists; Examples include:
        1. A fire
        2. A crime, especially if in progress
        3. A car crash, especially if someone is injured
        4. A medical emergency, especially symptoms that require immediate medical attention
        5. Important: If you're not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, officials recommend calling 911 and letting the call-taker determine whether you need emergency help.
      2. When you call 911, be prepared to answer the call-taker's questions, which may include:
        1. The location of the emergency, including the street address
        2. The phone number you are calling from
        3. The nature of the emergency, (describe what you saw and heard)
        4. Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency
    5. Supplemental reading - "How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne", Bret & Kate McKay, February 5, 2015, Manly Skills, Tactical Skills


Stress Management
  1. When you decide your body has over reacted (heart beat increases, breathing quickens, blood supply automatically goes to bigger muscles), then you need to manage that stress by relaxing (chill). Count to 10, tune other stimulus out, Focus on slower sustained breathing, let your shoulders drop and relax your muscles. 
    1. In most situations, our thinking is more critical than our ability to take physical action, focused thinking can help us with panic and angered emotions and the physical responses our body is having to stress.  
    2. Practice Managing Stress before you experience it
      1. Use Visualization, Progressive Muscle Relaxation,  Autogenic Relation or other strategies as described in this Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle article, "Stress Management"
      2. Read how we can manage stress and have fun playing the video game on this University of Texas Counseling Dept webpage
    3. Use stress management strategies daily so you can be a critical thinker and solve problems.
      1. You know your best thinking is needed often in life, like when driving, completing an exam, care taking of others, asking someone for a date, or performing to an audience.
      2. Stress management is a skill we can become better at with practice
When someone targets you to become a victim - verbally hurting your feelings or physically is "out of bounds" toward you -
  1. Situational awareness - if you are concerned about a threat, stay alert, think about escape routes and sources of help.
  2. Safety first - choose your first strategy: get away, get help, be assertive, or defend yourself
    1. Get away from the threat. Go towards a trusted adult, supervised, or well light area. Think about what happened and decide what further action to take or let it go and not worry about it.
    2. Get help by getting someone else involved. Communicate you want help.
    3. Be assertive and face the threat by communicating confidently you don't want the threat to continue, say or yell "Stop!" depending on your evaluation of the mean insult, aggressive language, or threat.
      1. Use an "I message" response with all or any of these cue statements (see more at Utah State University Extension):
        1. " I think ________________ " (your thoughts about the situation),
        2. " I feel _________________ " (express your feeling about that has occurred, include their action as an example),
        3. " I want ________________ " (give your solution to the situation),
      2. Use body language that matches the intent of your speech.  Sometimes we can smile or giggle when we are nervous, surprised, or confused. If you find yourself giving false body language like that, then you probably should not be trying to communicate assertively.
      3. If the aggressor listens to you, try to resolve the problem with them.  If you both are willing to consider the other's point of view, then there is good chance you will come to a solution.
      4. In a more controlled settings, like schools or on the job, giving both of you a way out of the situation immediately, like just saying, "we can come back to this later", allows us a chance to desscalate emotions and nervous system alarms, then later come back together with "cooler heads" to talk the issue through...Often a third person will be happy to facilitate that communication, such as an educator or supervisor.
    4. The only time to "fight", or use physical force, is when there are no other options to be safe.    
      1. In majority of situations, our thinking is more critical than our ability to take physical action.
      2. Take the physical action needed to be safe and then get away!
      3. Knowing we could take action physically brings us a sense of confidence and reassurance.  
        1. If you are not comfortable with your ability to defend yourself, consider becoming more physically fit and getting involved in activities that combine physical fitness with self defense (school sports or reputable private organizations offering classes for karate or self defense). 
  3. Follow through - share your experience and/or get help
    1. Spoken words are important for our mental health. A "think aloud" with a trusted adult can help us reflect and learn from our experience (you may need to explain that to the adult listener - often the listener may want to help by taking action you are not wanting or needing them to do). 
    2. Get help if you feel overwhelmed. Ask a trusted adult for their help with an issue.  There is no reason to go it alone.
    3. If you hear back from a friend or trusted adult that more action should be taken, be open to doing that too.
Prepare to take action as a bystander when bullying occurs
  1. Situational awareness - look for clues to know if someone becoming a victim, like emotional reactions of being shocked, shielding themselves, or being fearful
  2. Get involved, improve the situation - review the reference for the following at Role of Bystander, 
  3. Appropriate responses of bystander -
    1. Ask the recipient if they are ok, offer to help.
    2. Make it clear you are not a contributor to bullying in your daily habits;
      1. Be a good role model and treat people with respect, especially those you see others treated poorly
        1. We can be kind while keeping personal judgements to ourselves
    3. When friends shares negative gossip with you, or are trying to influence you to have contempt for others, you can use body language and words to communicate...
      1. Act uninterested with expressionless face saying, "Whatever, not interested."
      2. Confront nicely - make eye contact while lowering your chin slightly, sounding sad say, "Maybe thinking about them (peron's name) so much isn't good for you."
      3. Confront assertively - stand your ground body pose and using lowered voice say, "When you talk that way you sound like monster, I'm out", then leave.
        1. See more assertive examples using a 3 Part message from
    4. Move the focus for the potential victim/receiver by changing the subject, or asking them to move to another location with you
  4. Observe and report to trusted adult
    1.  Leave your opinion out when you share what you saw or heard it can help to write it down & give paper to trusted adult
      1. Review above under Situational Awareness how to speak to dispatcher with calling 9-1-1
  5. Practice responding to different bystander situations -
    1. brainstorm bullying incidents (as class or large group)
    2. triad grouping (split up in groups of 3)
    3. try all three roles (aggressor/bully, potential victim/receiver, & bystander) and act out improvisational role plays
      1. Example 
        1. Jackie/Bully insults, leans towards Jen, "You're so ugly, I'm sick of you, take a bath!"
        2. Jen/Receiver acts shocked, Leans back, "What?"
        3. Jill/Bystander intervenes, Taps Jen on the shoulder, motions her to come her way, givers her an out, "Can I talk with you?"
When you have impulse to be aggressive with someone and let them have it
  1. Situational awareness - THINK! STOP FEELING! THINK IT THROUGH!
  2. Take 10 - give yourself a break, find a place and chance to be thoughtful person, you are not a monster.
  3. Take corrective action - be assertive to address the concern in the right way (see 3 Part message from
  4. Not sure, confused, then seek trusted adult for consultation - no reason to go it alone.