Ways To Prevent Bullying
Putting An End To Bullying Makes School Safer For Everyone
How can we stop bullying?
Although schoolyard bullies have probably been around as long as schools have been in existence, this question is one that has taken on great significance in recent years as violence in our society has escalated, incidents of bullying have multiplied, and many such incidents have led to tragic results. In order to make school a safe environment for everyone, steps must be taken to address the subject of bullying and put an end to it once and for all.
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Have you ever been bullied in school?
About how many times have you been bullied throughout your school years (i.e., from elementary through high school)?
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How were you bullied?
If you were ever bullied in school, how did it most commonly take place?
Where were you bullied?
Where did most of your worst school-related bullying generally take place?
How did you respond?
If you were ever bullied in school, what was your typical response?
Preventing bullying must be a communal effort if it is to be truly successful. That means everyone needs to be involved, including students, teachers and parents. Parents play a particularly important role as most bullying actually begins at home. The majority of bullies come from households where violence is a common and accepted reaction. They then carry this behavior over to the schoolyard, continuing the cycle.
In order to make parents aware of the need to curb bullying, the subject should be openly discussed at PTA meetings and parent/teacher conferences. The more parents understand the impact of bullying, the more they will be motivated to change their own approach and warn their children against the effects of violence.
Within schools themselves, there are many ways to prevent bullying, starting with making an outward effort to create an atmosphere that promotes peaceful resolution of problems. Adopting a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying can help to make all students feel safer and more confident, which in turn will make them more likely to report cases of bullying.
Counselors can be hired to speak directly to the subject by offering support to victims of bullying and to the bullies themselves. More often than not, bullying behavior is a cry for help and a trained counselor can help to identify and address the underlying problems that are causing a child to become a bully. Something as simple as having someone to talk to can make a huge difference in a bully's life.
Since teachers are usually the first line of defense, it is important that they are aware of the signs of bullying and help to foster an environment where all students feel comfortable coming to them when they are being bullied. Teaching students about bullying and emphasizing that it is not a behavior that should be tolerated can help to open a productive dialogue on the subject.
If you are wondering how can we stop bullying in our schools, then consider implementing an anti-bullying program. Clearly stating anti-bullying rules and encouraging students to report instances of bullying can help to promote a safer, healthier and more peaceful learning environment for everyone.
No child should EVER have to feel trapped in a bullying situation. Violence of any kind should never be tolerated and children should know that they have someone to turn to for support. Working together as a community, you can make a real difference and help stem the tide of bullying once and for all.
What do you consider to be the worst type of bullying?
Looking back on your school years, what do you consider to be the worst type of bullying (whether you were the target of a bully or have ever witnessed bullying)?
Bullying Intervention/Prevention Programs In Schools - A Short History
Once dismissed as "just a part of growing up," bullying in schools used to be a forbidden subject that was hardly talked about, much less addressed. In more recent years, some lip service was given to this problem, but little was accomplished to get at the root causes. With increased violence in schools and student suicides resulting from bullying, more and more schools across the nation are now starting to take more proactive measures and desperately seeking solutions.
Bullying intervention/prevention programs are emerging in popularity as a way to address the problem of bullying head-on. The history of these programs dates back to late 1982 when three boys in northern Norway from different schools committed suicide following extreme bullying by their classmates. These suicides, which all occurred within roughly the same week, shocked and outraged the country. Soon after, Norway's Ministry of Education began a national campaign against bullying in all of Noway's schools and commissioned Professor Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen to conduct a large-scale research and intervention project on bully-victim problems. This work resulted in the development of a systematic school-based bullying intervention program which was tested with more than 2,500 students in Bergen, Norway ranging in age from 11-14 years. Within two years, incidents of school bullying had dropped by an astounding 50 percent.
Rather than just leaving it up to the students to "work things out for themselves" when it comes to situations involving bullying, Professor Olweus's program involves the entire school community - everyone from teachers, administrators, and parents to students, bullies, victims, bystanders, coaches, bus drivers, and even the janitors - in creating a more hospitable school climate that is not conducive to bullying. His program is comprehensive and entails a long list of tasks to be carried out at the school, classroom, and individual levels. Some key components are more adult supervision throughout the school, a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, and training in bullying intervention for bystanders.
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An Overview of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
Designed for students in grades 1-8, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today.