What kind of school programs should I advocate for to stop bullying at my child’s school?
- Programs that educate children. Research shows that “zero-tolerance” policies aren’t effective unless they’re paired with ongoing educational programs that help create a healthy social climate in the school. This means teaching kids at every grade level how to be inclusive leaders and teaching victims effective resistance techniques.
- Programs that focus on the social environment of the school. To reduce bullying, it is important to change the climate of the school so that students understand bullying is not a normal part of school life.
- Programs where bullying prevention is not the sole responsibility of an administrator, counselor, teacher—or any single individual at a school. To be most effective, bullying prevention efforts require a buy-in from the majority of the staff and from parents.
- Programs that name clear rules and policies related to bullying. Although many school behavior codes imply that bullying is not allowed, it is much stronger to explicitly use the term bullying. Rules and codes about expectations for kindness should also be clear.
- Programs to increase adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs. Bullying tends to thrive in locations where adults are not present or are not vigilant.1
Tips for Parents and Teachers to Prevent Bullying on the Playground
- It could be useful to tell and remind children to:
- Establish a “go to” or point person at school, such as a teacher or playground supervisor
- Avoid bullying hotspots at school (e.g., less well supervised areas on the playground)
- Participate in structured and supervised activities during school-recess
- Make good decisions about which activities or groups of friends to join
- Be nice and kind to others
- Inform school personnel if a child is being bullied.2
Lower rates of bullying are associated with the following teacher behaviors:
- Caring for students
- Using effective teaching practices
- Monitoring student behavior
- Appropriately intervening in cases of student misbehavior.3
Next Article: Why is bullying hard to change?
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