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Best Practices in Bullying Prevention and Intervention (page 2)

— Stop Bullying Now! U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HRSA
Updated on Sep 29, 2010

5. Train your staff in bullying prevention.

All administrators, faculty, and staff at your school should be trained in bullying prevention and intervention. In-service training can help staff to better understand the nature of bullying and its effects, how to respond if they observe bullying, and how to work with others at the school to help prevent bullying from occurring. Training should not be available only for teaching staff. Rather, administrators should make an effort to educate all adults in the school environment who interact with students (including counselors, media specialists, school resource officers, nurses, lunchroom and recess aides, bus drivers, parent volunteers, custodians, and cafeteria workers).

6. Establish and enforce school rules and policies related to bullying.

Although many school behavior codes implicitly forbid bullying, many codes do not use the term or make explicit our expectations for student behavior. It is important to make clear that the school not only expects students not to bully, but that it also expects them to be good citizens, not passive bystanders, if they are aware of bullying or students who appear troubled, possibly from bullying. Developing simple, clear rules about bullying can help to ensure that students are aware of adults’ expectations that they refrain from bullying and help students who are bullied. For example, one comprehensive program, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (see resources section on the Web site) recommends that schools adopt four straightforward rules about bullying:

  • We will not bully others.
  • We will try to help students who are bullied.
  • We will make it a point to include students who are easily left out.
  • If we know someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.

School rules and policies should be posted and discussed with students and parents. Appropriate positive and negative consequences also should be developed for following or not following the school's rules.

7. Increase adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs.

Bullying tends to thrive in locations where adults are not present or are not vigilant. Once school personnel have identified hot spots for bullying from the student questionnaires, look for creative ways to increase adults’ presence in these locations.

8. Intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying situations.

All staff should be able to intervene effectively on the spot to stop bullying (i.e., in the 12 minutes that one frequently has to deal with bullying). Designated staff should also hold sensitive follow-up meetings with children who are bullied and (separately) with children who bully. Staff should involve parents of affected students whenever possible.

9. Focus some class time on bullying prevention.

It is important that bullying prevention programs include a classroom component. Teachers (with the support of administrators) should set aside 20-30 minutes each week (or every other week) to discuss bullying and peer relations with students. These meetings help teachers to keep their fingers on the pulse of students' concerns, allow time for candid discussions about bullying and the harm that it can cause, and provide tools for students to address bullying problems. Anti-bullying themes and messages also can be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.

10. Continue these efforts over time.

There should be no "end date" for bullying prevention activities. Bullying prevention should be woven into the entire school environment.

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