September 30, 2020
National Bullying Prevention Month 2020: Understanding Today’s Challenges
Bullying prevention continues to be a major focal point for school districts, staff, and parents, and the current COVID-19 pandemic adds a layer of complexity to bullying prevention. Traditional bullying that took place in hallways, after school, or on the bus may have been reduced in recent months as a result of school closures and social distancing guidelines, however as students spend more time online, the risk of cyberbullying is a growing concern. In an online learning environment, it may be more difficult for school staff to recognize potential bullying behaviors or signs that a student has been the victim of bullying.
Bullying Prevention Best Practices
In our Bullying Prevention resource guide, Dr. Scott Poland, internationally recognized expert on school psychology issues and expert SafeSchools Training course author offers several recommendations educators can implement to improve their prevention efforts, no matter the environment:
- Implement a school-wide program where all staff cooperates towards the common goal of reducing bullying.
- Survey students to determine the extent and nature of the problem and to solicit student recommendations to reduce bullying.
- Recognize that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth are often the target of bullying and increase support for those students.
- Implement programs designed to reach bystanders and to gain a commitment from them to take action to stop the bullying instead of standing by and allowing bullying to take place. Research has found that the more bystanders are present then the less likely it is that someone will intervene.
- Teach staff to recognize bullying and to take immediate action to stop bullying when it occurs.
- Increase staff supervision in areas where bullying occurs the most.
- For more in-depth instructions, review evidenced-based bullying prevention programs listed on the U.S. Department of Education website at www.stopbullying.gov.
Strategies for Educators to Address Cyberbullying
While many students and staff are learning and working remotely, ensuring that everyone is well-informed about digital media and cyberbullying, what to look for to identify cyberbullying, and key prevention strategies is more important than ever to help reduce cyberbullying. The Cyberbullying Research Center provides top tips for educators for cyberbullying prevention. Some of those tips include:
- EXPLAIN to students that all forms of bullying are unacceptable, and that cyberbullying behaviors are subject to discipline.
- SPECIFY CLEAR RULES regarding the use of laptops, phones, and other electronic devices. Acceptable Use Policies tend to be commonplace in school districts, but these must be updated to cover online harassment (and other teen technology issues).
- TEACH social and emotional learning skills. Research shows that teaching students how to more effectively manage their emotions and relationships with others can be useful in preventing interpersonal conflict.
- EDUCATE your community. Utilize specially-created cyberbullying curricula, or information sessions such as assemblies and in-class discussions to raise awareness among youth.
How Vector Solutions Can Help
The SafeSchools Online Training System includes a variety of expert-authored courses dedicated to helping your staff and students prevent incidents of bullying.
- Bullying: Recognition & Response*
- Conflict Management: Student-to-Student
- Making Schools Safe for LGBT Students
- Making Schools Safe & Inclusive for Transgender Students
*State-specific versions of this course are available.
- Bullying & Cyberbullying
- Digital Citizenship
- Resolving Disagreements
- Healthy Relationships
We also offer our SafeSchools Alert Tip Reporting System that allows students, staff and parents to confidentially report safety concerns to your administration 24/7/365 via mobile app, text, phone, email, and website. Studies show that 57% of students would not report an incident if they could not do it anonymously. Track bullying incidents, see important trends, monitor repeat offenders and keep an eye on at-risk students through one online system.
Together we can all make a difference to help end bullying and its devastating consequences!
To learn more about our SafeSchools Staff or Student Training or our Tip Reporting System, request a demo online.