Wednesday, May 30, 2012

8 Ways Schools Can Stop Bullying

Bullying is an epidemic that starts from a young age and continues into adulthood. What was once considered a harmless part of growing up and a rite of passage is now being viewed as a very serious problem that causes lifelong emotional distress to victims. Bullying occurs most often at school, where students are teased and threatened in front of their peers. Victims of school bullying report feeling unsafe and uncomfortable at school and often have trouble focusing on their schoolwork. Now more than ever, schools are taking a stand to address bullying and develop new ways to stop the harassment before it starts. With these eight tips, more schools can join the movement to stop bullying and make our schools safer.

  1. Form safety teams:

    Bully prevention is a team effort and schools can better address these issues when they form a safety team composed of various school figures. If schools were to design their safety teams after those required by New Jersey’s Anti-bullying Bill of Rights, they would include the school principal, a teacher, a parent of a student, and other members appointed by the principal. Together, the safety team works to foster a positive, bully-free environment, while addressing all incidents of harassment and bullying.

  2. Get students involved:

    From the bus to the hallways to Facebook, kids see bullying everywhere. Students may witness bullying and know it is wrong, but they are often too afraid to intervene or tell an adult because they don’t want to look like a rat or be the next victim. It’s important for schools to get students involved in all aspects of bullying prevention and teach them the difference between telling and tattling. The sooner a student reports bullying, the sooner adults can step in to stop it. Bullies and their victims can benefit greatly from talking to someone their own age and the details they disclose to their peers will help school members, parents, and law enforcement better address the problem.

  3. Educate students on bullying and bullying laws:

    In order for students to truly understand what constitutes bullying, how it harms others, and what the consequences are for this behavior, schools need to educate students at a young age. It’s important for schools to teach students about bullying and how that behavior hurts others. They should reinforce the rules of the school and teach students that bullying will not be tolerated in any form. Considering the increase in the number of suicides and deaths caused by bullying over the past few years, it may also be beneficial to educate students on state bullying laws and punishments.

  4. Increase adult supervision:

    Bullying often takes place outside of the classroom and in front of peers. Hallways, buses, and locker rooms are common areas for bullying because there are fewer adults on guard. Schools can help deter bullying by increasing the amount of teachers and adult supervisors in these bullying hotspots. These individuals should be vigilant and pay close attention to students’ behaviors and intervene when they see fit. Increasing adult supervision around schools will help teachers and staff stop bullying as it is happening and hopefully prevent it from occurring again.

  5. Change the climate and culture of the school:

    To stop bullying, schools need to get to the root of the problem and it often begins with addressing the school climate and culture. Schools may need to interview students or give anonymous questionnaires to students, teachers, and staff to see when, where, and how often bullying occurs in the school. Another way schools can change their climate and culture is to reinforce academic achievement and involvement in sports, clubs, and other school groups.

  6. Make early interventions:

    Bullying may start with a rumor or name calling and escalate to violence in no time. Schools don’t always know when and how often bullying occurs, but as soon as it’s brought to their attention, action must be taken. Schools can help resolve bullying incidents and deter it from happening again by making early interventions. Early intervention begins in the classroom. Teachers can teach specific skills and values to students to nurture self-respect and respecting others. This also includes teaching problem-solving, conflict resolution, and peer mediation. Even before bullying occurs, schools should make early interventions by holding parent meetings and getting them involved in their children’s education both at school and at home.

  7. Use consequences to teach:

    Studies show that zero tolerance strategies just don’t work for bullying. Rather than using a "three strikes, you’re out" approach or suspending or expelling students, schools can use consequences to teach students who engage in bullying. According to the federal website,, schools can turn a negative situation into a positive one by using consequences that foster learning and building empathy. For instance, teachers can lead class discussions about how to be a good friend, read books about bullying, do a project about bullying, and give a presentation about the effects of gossip and how to respect one another.

  8. Notice and praise acts of kindness:

    To improve school climate and deter bullying, schools should make an effort to notice and praise acts of kindness. When students demonstrate what it means to be a good friend and show respect for their peers, teachers and faculty members should take notice and make it known to others. When students see their peers being praised, they may be more likely to model this behavior and not bully.

Taken From Online Classes

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