Bullying affects at least one in every four students. That number may be even higher in reality because those affected are often ashamed or afraid to report the abuse. Your school may already have an anti-bully policy in place, but these five tactics can ensure that your classroom is a place for learning and positive social interactions.
Bullying Prevention at School: 5 Tactics to Try This Year
A 2013 Congressional study found that school bullying prevention programs have a significant impact on reducing bullying incidents. Here are 5 ways you can help to create a classroom space that is safe and welcoming for all your students.
Hold Regular Classroom Meetings
Periodic, brief classroom meetings serve two key purposes: they provide a time to remind students of the rules and to discuss bullying topics or behavioral concerns. They also create a sense of cohesiveness — kids feel like they’re part of the team.
What to do: Pick a weekly time for a short “class meeting” and set clear expectations. As the teacher, you’ll facilitate the discussion, but allow kids to participate in age-appropriate ways.
Focus on Accountability
While bullying prevention often focuses on bullies and their victims, it’s important to impress upon your students their role as bystanders. A 2001 study found that peer intervention stopped 57 percent of bullying incidents. This not only provides more eyes watching out for bullying behaviors, it also gets kids in an empathetic state of mind.
What to do: Teach students that it’s wrong to stand quietly by and watch someone else being hurt or picked on, and that if they’re not comfortable intervening themselves, they should find the nearest adult. Model appropriate ways to handle situations.
Create Safe Communication Channels
An alarming 64 percent of kids don’t report bullying behavior. Create a safe way for kids to report these incidents without fear of reprisal or being perceived as a tattle-tale.
What to do: Set up a box with bullying report forms, or you could schedule a regular time for kids to approach you with any problems. You should also encourage kids to report things they have seen happening to other people.
Parents are an important part of the anti-bullying equation, but they often lack the tools to recognize and deal with bullying. Your insight is valuable and parents may not have the same opportunities you do to observe how their child interacts with others.
What to do: Send information material home with students or giving presentations at PTO meetings. Help parents understand signs that their child may be a bully as well as signs of a victimized child.
Be Your Students’ Best Resource
It’s a tall order, but as a teacher, you’re in a unique position to deal with school bullying. Show your students that you are a trustworthy adult who will help and support them.
What to do: Make sure you set clear expectations, and follow through with consequences when a child is caught bullying another student. Talk to the bully and victim separately, and provide follow-up support for both parties.
More Bullying Prevention Tips and Ideas
If you are looking for more ways to teach your students about the importance of both reporting and preventing bullying, be sure to read the other content on the Bullying Prevention tag page. You’ll find useful tips, lesson plans, and inspirational activities to try with your students.