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GUSA Anti-Bullying and Zero Tolerance Policy



Statement of Intent

The Goochland United Soccer Association (GUSA) is committed to providing players a fun, positive, and secure environment in which to learn and enjoy the game of soccer. First and foremost, our purpose is to promote good sportsmanship, teamwork, achievement of excellence, and self-confidence. This Anti-Bullying Policy is intended to guide all coaches, players, volunteers, parents, guardians, and spectators in their behavior at GUSA sanctioned games, practices, events, complexes, and fields. 

GUSA maintains a Zero Tolerance Policy to bullying. Bullying not only leads to anxiety and low self-esteem in youth who are targeted, but also causes other youth to feel unsafe. Players of all ages and abilities deserve the right to feel safe and supported through their affiliation with GUSA. We promote a TELLING atmosphere. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is taking place is expected to report the incident. Players and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is defined as repetitive or intentional conduct, gestures, or comments which are insulting, intimidating, humiliating, hurtful, malicious, degrading or otherwise offensive to a player, group of players and/or teammates, and which create a hostile or intimidating environment, or which negatively affects a player’s physical and/or emotional well-being. Bullying involves power imbalances which can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – Verbal, Social, and Physical:

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. It includes derogatory comments, teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, or threatening to cause harm.

  • Social/Emotional bullying involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. It includes leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public.

  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. It includes pushing, kicking, hitting, punching, taking or breaking someone’s things, or making mean or rude hand gestures.

Additional ways a person can be bullied include:

  • Being attacked because of their race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or any classification protected by local, state, or federal law.
  •  Misuse of technology such as unwanted camera and video usage and social networking exposure.

No amount of bullying is acceptable. Not all joking or horseplay is bullying, but when the intent or effect is to cause distress, continuation or repetition of such behavior is bullying and will not be tolerated.

Signs and Symptoms

While some children are prone to report bullying to their parents, coaches or adults, others will not, due to fear, intimidation, or other factors. Coaches and parents should be aware of possible signs indicating that bullying may be taking place. These signs and behaviors could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.

For a list of potential signs of bullying please consult this list.

Procedures for Reporting Bullying

Immediately report the bullying incident(s)/behavior(s) to GUSA. A complaint should be communicated in writing via email to the Goochland United Soccer Association Board President at [email protected]. GUSA will take every concern seriously, investigate the issue, and report back to you in a timely manner.

If a coach receives a report of alleged bullying, they shall immediately inform the GUSA President. If a GUSA Board Member is informed about alleged bullying, they are required to report all allegations directly to the GUSA President immediately.

Consequences of Bullying

Penalties for violating the Zero Tolerance Policy can range from a permanent suspension from GUSA, suspension for a specified period, and a probationary period where the individual can continue with GUSA. The Board will work with collaboratively with all relevant parties to decide the appropriate course of action. All decisions are final.

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