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How to Stop Bullying in School

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Bullying is a problem all schools - even yours - will face at some point. This lesson will give you strategies (and examples of strategies at work) for curbing a bullying problem in your school.

The New Principal

Mrs. (or Mr., if you prefer) Smith is about to start her first principal job at XYZ Elementary. As a new principal, Mrs. Smith knows she will face many obstacles, ranging from ensuring all of her teachers are giving their best effort every day to managing budgets for each school year. However, there is one obstacle Mrs. Smith is the most nervous about - how to implement a school-wide plan to prevent bullying. Mrs. Smith does have some tools, though, because she read the very same strategies you are about to read.

According to the website Bullying Statistics (www.bullyingstatistics.org), among K-12 students, nearly half will be victims of bullying at one time or another. While this is a large and alarming statistic, it is by no means insurmountable. Using several strategies that range from the micro (student) level to the macro (school-wide) level will make your school a safe environment for all students.

These strategies will help you stop bullying in your school.

Create a School Policy

Mrs. Smith knows that the only way to begin the process of eliminating bullying in her school is to address the subject with the entire student body. So during the second week of school, Mrs. Smith calls an assembly that every student has to attend. During this assembly, Mrs. Smith speaks honestly and clearly about bullying with her students and makes it clear to them that bullying of any kind will not be tolerated in the school. Finally, at the end of the assembly, each student is given a copy of the school's bullying policy, which they are required to take home, read over with their parents, sign, and return to school.

The most important thing to remember when addressing bullying in your school is that the only way to talk about bullying is in a direct, open, and honest way. Students should have no doubt about what bullying is and should be able to identify if they or a classmate is being bullied. Gathering the whole student body to discuss bullying ensures that the prevention of bullying becomes a school-wide effort as each student will be held responsible for the prevention of bullying. By sending home information about bullying, including the school bullying policy, parents will also be held responsible for bullying in school. Accountability at every level in the school is key for the mitigation of bullying and ensuring your school does not add to the statistic.

A school assembly will help you discuss bullying with all students.

Train Your Teachers

Though making every student responsible for the prevention of bullying is an important step toward making her school a safe place, Mrs. Smith knows that the adults in the building also need to be educated about bullying. Specifically, teachers should know how to deal with bullying in the classroom and understand what steps to take if the issue becomes more than they can handle. By providing on-site training to all staff members, opportunities for professional development regarding bullying, and resources for teachers to engage in their own training, Mrs. Smith knows her faculty will be well equipped to deal with bullying.

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