Best Practices in Bullying Prevention and Intervention
Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Often, it is repeated over time and can take many forms. In many respects, research on bullying prevention is still in its infancy. Although researchers have documented success of some comprehensive programs in reducing bullying, we still have much to learn about which aspects of these programs are most important.
However, a review of existing bullying prevention programs and feedback from educators in the field led us to suggest ten strategies that represent "best practices" in bullying prevention and intervention.
1. Focus on the social environment of the school.
To reduce bullying, it is important to change the climate of the school and the social norms with regard to bullying. It must become "uncool" to bully, "cool" to help out students who are bullied, and normative for staff and students to notice when a child is bullied or left out. This requires the efforts of everyone in the school environment- teachers, administrators, counselors, other non-teaching staff (such as bus drivers, nurses, school resource officers, custodians, cafeteria workers, and school librarians), parents, and students.
2. Assess bullying at your school.
Intuitively adults are not always very good at estimating the nature and extent of bullying at their school. Frequently we are quite surprised by the amount of bullying that students experience, the types of bullying that are most common, or the "hot spots" where bullying happens. As a result, it is often quite useful to assess bullying by administering an anonymous questionnaire to students about bullying. What are the possible benefits of conducting a survey of students?
- Findings can help motivate adults to take action against bullying;
- Data can help administrators and other educators tailor a bullying prevention strategy to the particular needs of the school; and
- Data can serve as a baseline from which administrators and other educators can measure their progress in reducing bullying.
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