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Reaching Consensus About Behavioral Expectations in Schools (page 2)

By — Stop Bullying Now!
Updated on Jan 8, 2009

Meeting two

Review the Green/Yellow/Red concept. Post (on easel paper) a list of peer aggressive behaviors. Below is one such list that you might use as a starting point:

  • Punching, kicking, and pushing down
  • Running into others roughly
  • Slapping, grabbing, and pushing
  • Shoving and shouldering
  • Touching or grabbing private parts of others’ bodies
  • Starting or spreading rumors (truthful or false- statements that are likely to embarrass)
  • Low-level name-calling (“You’re mean”; “You’re no good at kickball” “Doofus”)
  • Name-calling related to academic ability, body shape, or appearance
  • Name-calling related to family income or family characteristics
  • Name-calling related to gender, sexual orientation, race, or ethnic background
  • Other sexual comments
  • Saying: “I’m a faster runner than you are.”
  • Use of words relating to sexual orientation or race or gender as general derogatory comments not aimed at person (“That test was so gay” “ The Red Sox played like girls this season” etc…)
  • Threatening comments or gestures
  • Cutting in line
  • Taking possessions
  • Saying: “I don’t want to play with you today”
  • Exclusion: Telling other people not to play with someone
  • Mimicking, making faces, following without threats

NOTE: The fact that a behavior is on this list does not mean that that behavior is against the school rules. Some of these behaviors will be included on the school’s GREEN list, which means that staff are likely to ignore that behavior instead of stopping it.

Read staff the list. What aggressive behaviors need to be added? Do not let this question turn into a discussion of how any of these behaviors will be dealt with. The only goal of this brainstorming is to add aggressive behaviors commonly seen at your school to the list. In adding behaviors, edit staff suggestions so everything on the list is described specifically (e.g. “Tripping” rather than “unsafe physical actions”), so no behaviors listed include a description of the person’s intention (e.g., “starting or spreading rumors” instead of “maliciously starting rumors”), and so no behaviors listed are defined by the target’s reaction (e.g. “name calling about health conditions” instead of “unwanted name calling”). Using poorly defined behaviors on the list will lead to confusion. Defining unwanted behaviors in terms of intention or effect will lead to inconsistency, since some students will not tell us the truth about intention or impact. When the list is complete, give staff members either stickers or markers of all three colors (red, yellow, and green). WITHOUT DISCUSSION of which category each behavior falls into, ask staff to place one sticker or marker dot of any one of the three colors next to each behavior. Alternatively, the lists might be posted in the staff room for a week so staff can place the stickers. At the end of either process, the chart will now look something like this:

[SEE PICTURE Fig 9]

(Note: this picture is in color. If you are seeing it in black and white, it shows almost all the staff placing red stickers near the first behavior, almost all staff placing yellow stickers near the second behavior, and an even mix of green and yellow stickers near the third behavior.)

In this example, the staff is close enough to consensus about the first two items. As with the third item on this list, there will be divided opinions about some items. In this case, the behavior is not well defined. The other likely possibility is that teachers at a higher grade level are rating the behaviors differently than teachers at a lower grade level.

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