Take Action: Anti-Bullying Resources for Teachers
Anti-Bullying in Schools
Bullying is a highly-damaging experience that can be challenging to identify and prevent. Teachers can help stop bullying in schools and online by paying attention to their students, reporting problematic incidents, providing support to students as needed, and discussing anti-bullying in the classroom. From the first day of class, teachers should communicate with students not only about academics, but about events and behavior outside of the classroom.
Classroom activities and discussions on bullying and related issues can create safe places for students to talk about their experiences. The Center for Disease Control reported that bullies, victims, and witnesses are more likely to have high levels of suicide-related thoughts or behaviors than those who are not exposed to it.
The more anti-bullying resources and outlets students have, the more likely they are to seek help instead of hiding problems and facing physical and emotional consequences on their own. This concept applies to both the targets of bullying and those who bully.
On a larger scale, schools should have a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy in place. Students should always feel safe on school grounds, and schools do not want to wait until an incident happens. Clear anti-bullying policies will also help students become more knowledgeable about bullying and willing to step up if they see it happening.
Anti-Bullying Awareness for Teachers
There are many forms of bullying, and the signs can be subtle, particularly when it comes to cyberbullying. When faced with an uncomfortable or harmful situation, students are afraid they will get in trouble, make it worse, or experience backlash from peers by telling an adult. Another reason that students shy away from reporting bullies is not wanting to be perceived as weak, with some targets even believing it is their fault.
Being aware of warning signs of bullying will help teachers react quickly to incidents and prevent future bullying. The physical effects of bullying include symptoms like stomach pain, unexplained injuries, or destruction to clothing or possessions. A child who is bullied may display poor academic performance and even fake illness due to loss of interest in school. Changes in habits such as eating, sleeping, and socializing less are also common.
A child who is bullying likely gets into frequent verbal and physical fights at school, blames others for their behavior and wrong actions, and gains possession of new items without a good explanation.
Anti-Bullying Prevention Strategies
When bullied students approach teachers for assistance, studies show that teachers should avoid telling students to fix it themselves or ignore the behavior. Students need support from the school to help stop bullying quickly and effectively.
Everyone involved in bullying needs support – from bullies to teachers to bullying bystanders. The targets of bullying, in particular, require immediate help to prevent long-lasting damage to their mental and emotional health. Talking about their experiences can help students work through it, but if the bullying was exceptionally aggressive or long-lasting, teachers can work with parents to obtain professional help for students.
By implementing zero-tolerance policies, schools can help ensure that bullies are held accountable for their actions. Teachers can work with parents and counselors to uncover potential causes of the bullying and devise solutions for avoiding harmful behavior in the future.
Teachers can attend in-person trainings and utilize anti-bullying resources for adults such as videos and handouts to know how best to support those who are being bullied or who are bullying. As teachers, it is crucial to talk to children about bullying and explain how to reach out for help.