No school district is immune to bullying and threats of violence. In fact, every 7 minutes a child is bullied at school and 1 in 3 teens report being bullied in their lifetime, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Dan Olweus, one of the international pioneers in bullying prevention defined that a person is bullied when they are exposed repeatedly to negative actions on the part of one or more persons. The bullying may be physical or verbal and the pattern is repeated over time and involves an imbalance of power.
Bullying Prevention for Schools
Bullying prevention has become a major focal point for school districts, staff, and parents over the last few years, and many states have even created laws to help stop bullying. But many school districts are still seeking solutions to help prevent bullying within their district.
Dr. Scott Poland, internationally recognized expert on school psychology issues and expert K-12 SafeSchools Training author offers the following recommendations educators can implement to improve their bullying prevention efforts:
- Implement a school-wide bullying prevention 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. Excellent resources are available from the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network at www.glsen.org
- Implement bullying 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. It has also been suggested that the term bystander is too passive and it should be replaced with the term witness as that term implies a responsibility to at least document what you observed.
- Cyberbullying is a new phenomenon and a challenge for schools and families. Schools have been reluctant to get involved but the key question is did the cyberbullying disrupt learning? The answer is almost always yes and the administration needs to investigate the messaging, involve parents and maybe even law enforcement. The investigation will include interviewing the victim, perpetrator and any witnesses and will likely result in consequences for the perpetrator.
- Teach staff to recognize bullying and to take immediate action to stop bullying when it occurs. Ensure that staff members do not try to make the bully and victim work it out. Ideally bully and victim should be separated and the bully given consequences and the victim given support. School staff should emphasize to the victim that it is not your fault and you do not deserve to be treated this way and we are going to get the bullying stopped.
- Increase staff supervision in areas where bullying occurs the most. The survey of students will let schools know not only the scope of the problem but the area where it most occurs. Survey results have often found that bathrooms, hallways and buses are the places where the most bullying occurs.
- For more in-depth instructions, review evidenced-based bullying prevention programs listed on the U.S. Department of Education website at www.stopbullying.gov
How SafeSchools Can Help with Bullying Prevention
Here at SafeSchools, we’re dedicated to making your district an even safer place to work and learn. No child should go to school in fear and we believe that technology can be an important part of the solution.
The SafeSchools Online Staff Training System includes a variety of expert-authored courses dedicated to helping your staff and students prevent incidents of bullying, including:
*State-specific versions of this course are available.
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 prevent and end bullying and its devastating consequences!