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What Can Be Done To Stop Bullying – Schools Responsibility

What Can Be Done To Stop Bullying – Schools Responsibility

 Schools Responsibility

 

What can schools do about bullying?

(Source: http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/schools.html)

Children go to school to learn, and they need to be in a safe environment in order to do so. All kids deserve protection at school. Therefore, it is every school’s responsibility to make sure that their students are safe and protected.

Experts say that the best anti-bullying programs are the ones that are school-wide and involve the whole school community of staff, students, and parents. In other words, a school can’t just deal with an individual bully and victim. Also, a school can’t just have a one-time bullying assembly, but instead has to develop an ongoing program that starts and never ends. Research shows that bullying decreases in schools that use this kind of school-wide approach.

Many bullying prevention campaigns first conduct a student survey about bullying in order to find out about the specific bullying behaviors in their schools. It is best if the students do not have to put their names on the surveys. Results of the surveys will show what types of bullying are happening, where the bullying is happening, when the bullying is happening, how much bullying is happening, etc. This information will help the schools figure out the best way to deal with the bullying problem.

 

Anti-bullying Programs

There are several great anti-bullying programs that schools can use. Many of them are based on an excellent program called “The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.” This program was developed in the 1980′s by a psychologist in Norway named Dan Olweus. The program tries to prevent and lessen bullying, help kids get along better, and make the school environment more positive. Over a dozen countries worldwide have used the Olweus program. Studies show that the occurrence of bullying in schools that use this program decreased by 50% within two years. Olweus developed this program due to his concern about the fact that several students committed suicide after being bullied. A main part of his program is encouraging witnesses, or the “Caring Majority” of students who are neither bullies nor victims, to speak up when they see bullying.

Another program is called “Bully Proofing Your School,” and it consists of three separate parts. The first part teaches the students about what bullying is, as well as its effect on victims. It also involves developing classroom and school rules that show that bullying will not be accepted. The second part of Bully Proofing teaches students how to decrease the chances that they will become victims of bullying, and also teaches them ways to handle it if they are bullied. Finally, the last part of this program, like the Olweus program, aims to reach the “Caring Majority” in a school to teach them that they must report bullying whenever they see it happening.

“Stop Bullying Now” is another excellent resource for schools to use. It was developed by the United States Government’s Department of Health and Human Services, along with 17 other organizations. It is the biggest anti-bullying effort developed by a government, and it includes information for students, parents, school staff, law enforcement, and community. A “Youth Expert Panel,” made up of youth ages 9-18, also helped create this program. The program includes print materials and a DVD with “webisodes” of bullying situations, public service announcements, and video workshops for law enforcement, schools, mental health workers, etc. This program is available free of charge to schools.

What Kids Need to Know About Bullying

As mentioned in the “Bully Proofing Program Your School” program, students need to be taught a lot about bullying in order for a program to be successful. Also, experts say that bullying education must begin at a young age, like kindergarten, in order to be most effective. Kids need to know the following:

 

What bullying is

  • Different types of bullying
  • How to deal with bullying if they are a victim
  • How to deal with bullying if they are a witness
  • Why they must report bullying
  • Why they should include kids who are alone and more likely to be bullied
  • The difference between tattling and telling
  • Also, kids can practice what they’ve learned by role playing scenes about how to deal with bullying.

When everyone in a school uses the same language about bullying (i.e. ”bully,” “victim,” ”witness,” “respect,” “reporting,” etc.), it is more likely that the school’s bully proofing efforts will be successful.

 

Staff Members and Parents Need to Know About Bullying

Kids are not the only ones who need to know about bullying prevention. School staff members also need to be taught about bullying behaviors and how to deal with them. Finally, parents must be made aware of the anti-bullying program, too, so that they can support what is happening at school. They could be informed by newsletters, P.T.A. meetings, parent-teacher conferences, etc. This way parents will be able to help their kids at home, whether they are bullies, victims, or witnesses.

 

Create a School Bullying Prevention Policy

Also, experts suggest that schools should create a policy about bullying. According to the Scottish Council for Research in Education in Glasgow, Scotland, research proves that a bullying policy which is known and supported by everyone in the school, and that is enforced on a consistent basis, is very helpful in the fight against bullying. The policy should include:

  • How the school will attempt to prevent bullying
  • How the school will educate students about bullying
  • How the school will supervise the areas where bullying occurs most frequently
  • How the school will deal with bullying when it happens
  • How students and parents will also get involved in order to prevent and deal with bullying
  • In summary, as mentioned earlier, programs that are school-wide and involve students, parents, and staff are most effective. Also, anti-bullying campaigns should be continuous from year to year and should be a regular part of what happens in a school. Student surveys and bullying policies are other actions that should be taken in the school’s fight against bullying.

 

Example of a Program and its Content

(Source: http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/content.html)

Core components of the program are implemented at the school, classroom, and individual levels.

 

School-level components include:

  • Formation of a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee
  • Distribution of an anonymous student questionnaire assessing the nature and prevalence of bullying
  • Training for committee members and staff
  • Development of a coordinated system of supervision
  • Adoption of school-wide rules against bullying
  • Development of appropriate positive and negative consequences for students’ behavior
  • Holding staff discussion groups related to the program
  • Involvement of parents

Classroom-level components include:

  • Reinforcement of school-wide rules against bullying
  • Holding regular classroom meetings with students to increase knowledge and empathy
  • Informational meetings with parents
  • Individual-level components include:
  • Interventions with children who bully
  • Interventions with children who are bullied
  • Discussions with parents of involved students

The measures which Olweus (1993) considers being crucial in the effectiveness of an anti-bullying program are as follows: (Source: http://www.lfcc.on.ca/bully.htm)

•         Awareness and involvement on the part of adults, with regard to bully-victim problems.

•         A survey of bully/victim problems at the start of the implementation.

•         A school conference day devoted to bully/victim problems.

•         Better supervision during recess and lunch hour by adults.

•         Consistent and immediate consequences for aggressive behaviour.

•         Generous praise for pro-social and helpful behaviour by students.

•         Specific class rules against bullying.

•         Class meetings about bullying.

•         Serious individual talks with bullies and with victims.

•         Serious talks with parents of bullies and victims.

•         A meeting of the school parent-teacher (home and school) organization on the topic of bullying.

 

Notes on Implementation of Anti-Bullying Measures

(Source: http://www.lfcc.on.ca/bully.htm)

Implementation is a process which usually takes time. Often teachers find that implementing measures such as increased supervision in the schoolyard and hallway can increase workload at first. More incidents are usually dealt with at first, because many incidents of aggression and bullying were previously ignored, or not acted on. When the threshold of what will be tolerated is increased, there are initially more incidents to deal with. However, after a few months of this increased vigilance and intervention, the pay-off for the increased effort becomes evident. Fewer incidents, especially fewer serious incidents, occur. The school climate becomes more positive, as everyone can feel safer and more relaxed at school.

Better supervision of students, greater awareness and sensitivity among teachers, administrators, students and parents, and developing a positive, safe, and pro-social school makes for a better learning and teaching environment. Teachers often find that the professional development they receive with regard to anti-violence and conflict resolution also has positive effects on their own interpersonal and family relationships.

 

Classroom Activities and Resources

(Source: http://www.lfcc.on.ca/bully.htm)

  • Classroom activities on and ongoing basis are important to an anti-bullying program. At least seven measures can be taken in the classroom:
  • Developing a class code of conduct with regard to treatment of other students, with specific reference to bullying and exclusion of other students. Both desirable and unacceptable behaviour should be simply and clearly defined and written down, with student input.
  • Following up with immediate, consistent, non-violent consequences for all bullying and aggressive behaviour.
  • Recognizing and praising positive, friendly, and supportive behaviours of students toward one another on a frequent basis.
  • Teaching of non-violent, non-racist, and non-sexist ideas, values and behaviours, as a core part of the every-day curriculum.
  • Teaching social skills, including communication, making friends, accepting feedback from others, conflict resolution, appropriate assertiveness, and problem-solving.
  • Modelling by the teacher of positive, respectful, and supportive behaviour by the teacher, toward students.
  • Using co-operative learning groups to include less popular, more timid children in small, positive, and accepting social groups.

 

Developing a Class Code of Conduct

(Source: http://www.lfcc.on.ca/bully.htm)

 

A class code of conduct could be started by holding several lessons on awareness of both bullying and friendly and co-operative behaviours. The class could begin by reading an appropriate story for their age level, or having it read to them. For the youngest (kindergarten and primary) age group, a book in the Berenstain Bears series, called Trouble with the Bully is available in many libraries. For intermediate age groups, the book Don’t Pick on Me is a possibility. For older age groups, Lord of the Flies is one possibility. The school librarian or resource centre may have other suggestions. See the references section of A.S.A.P. for references and additional ideas.

A class discussion of the effects of bullying for the victim, for the bully, and for the class as a whole, could be the next step. Students can then be asked what rules they would like to see in the class for behaviour. The teacher may want to give examples of what other classes have done. The language should be simple and clear for all students. For example,

•         We don’t want any hitting, punching, or kicking.

•         We don’t want any name-calling or put-downs.

•         We want to include everyone when we do group activities.

•         We want to have a friendly class, and help other students if they are bullied.

Classroom activities on and ongoing basis are important to an anti-bullying program. At least seven measures can be taken in the classroom:

Developing a class code of conduct with regard to treatment of other students, with specific reference to bullying and exclusion of other students. Both desirable and unacceptable behaviour should be simply and clearly defined and written down, with student input.

Following up with immediate, consistent, non-violent consequences for all bullying and aggressive behaviour.

Recognizing and praising positive, friendly, and supportive behaviours of students toward one another on a frequent basis.

Teaching of non-violent, non-racist, and non-sexist ideas, values and behaviours, as a core part of the every-day curriculum.

Teaching social skills, including communication, making friends, accepting feedback from others, conflict resolution, appropriate assertiveness, and problem-solving.

Modelling by the teacher of positive, respectful, and supportive behaviour by the teacher, toward students.

Using co-operative learning groups to include less popular, more timid children in small, positive, and accepting social groups.

 

Developing a Class Code of Conduct

(Source: http://www.lfcc.on.ca/bully.htm)

A class code of conduct could be started by holding several lessons on awareness of both bullying and friendly and co-operative behaviours. The class could begin by reading an appropriate story for their age level, or having it read to them. For the youngest (kindergarten and primary) age group, a book in the Berenstain Bears series, called Trouble with the Bully is available in many libraries. For intermediate age groups, the book Don’t Pick on Me is a possibility. For older age groups, Lord of the Flies is one possibility. The school librarian or resource centre may have other suggestions. See the references section of A.S.A.P. for references and additional ideas.

A class discussion of the effects of bullying for the victim, for the bully, and for the class as a whole, could be the next step. Students can then be asked what rules they would like to see in the class for behaviour. The teacher may want to give examples of what other classes have done. The language should be simple and clear for all students. For example,

•         We don’t want any hitting, punching, or kicking.

•         We don’t want any name-calling or put-downs.

•         We want to include everyone when we do group activities.

•         We want to have a friendly class, and help other students if they are bullied.

 

The part played by bullies in violence in school

(Source: http://www.nssc1.org/the-part-played-by-bullies-in-violence-in-school.html)

There are kids and students who fight among themselves for petty things and end up hurting each other physically which results in school violence. These kids at times try to dominate the other kids by bullying them. These bullies could be either kids from very unstable home environment or brats from a very rich household who has no interest in studies or good things the school has to offer. He is one of the main causes for school violence.

These bullies destroy the peace and environment of the students by bullying them and threatening them wherever they see them. And if there is retaliation from the students side, then it causes even more trouble. The students who are being bullied try to keep calm and not respond to any bullying activity against them. But it is a cause of concern as these students can explode at anytime and cause even more violence when their anger culminates and reaches the top level. There are students who become so fed up of constant bullying and threatening that they take the extreme step to run away from the bullying.

The bully is the person who takes control of the other student and forces the student to come with him wherever he goes. The kids who are bullied and threatened feel humiliated and insulted but they do not retaliate. These bullies at times get hold of the nerds in the class and force them or threaten them to do their home works and threaten them with dire consequences if not complied.

If at all bullying had to be got ridden off, then the parents, teachers and students must come together and fight it. There should be complaint boxes kept in every school where the students could post their complaints relating to violence against them or their friends. The school should look into the matter and interact with the offenders. And if there is good enough proof or witnesses who are willing to testify against the offender, then appropriate action should be taken by the school and should be ensured that such things do not happen in the future. They should also be made to realise the ill effects of their actions and if there is a need then the parents of these students should also be met.

When the student deals with the bully, it is important that they do not humiliate them or hurt them by talking to them aggressively. Instead they should approach them with love and affection so that the reasons for their actions could be known and such actions could be avoided in the future as well. Even after the bully refrains from continuing such violent activities, then he should be suspended from the school or must be told to bring their parents to school for further talks and ask them to send their kids to some rehabilitation centres or find other ways of punishing them. All these things are done just to avoid violence in school and to safeguard the rights of the other students.

It is the time that we take strict measures against bullying and students indulging in bullying in school before it is a bit too late.

 

How Bullying Can Ignite School Violence

(Source: http://www.nssc1.org/how-bullying-can-ignite-school-violence.html)

Knowingly or unknowingly, school violence has become a force to reckon with across the globe. As some children get injured by engaging each other in a combat, others either arrogate bullies upon themselves to harass the weaker ones; while some are bullied out of the class. It is undeniable that a bully is one of the easiest reasons that sparks off violence. Bullies are very common among the children that come from homes where abusive language, drugs and alcohols and fighting have becoming a way of life. We can also have bullies rise from different but spoilt home.

The bully’s harassment is manifested while the school is on break. It can even be before or after school hours. No student dares retaliation because of the fear of merciless beating. As these continue, it increasingly making life difficult for the less privilege students to attend school or concentrate on his/her studies. Some of them that forcefully bear the harassment secretly nurse revenge towards the bullies and everyone else. At the fullness of time when he could no longer swallow the insult, he becomes so wild that either attempt to kill everyone around him including the bully or in extreme cases commits suicide.

Worst still, bully often force another student to do things not necessarily convenience to his captive, including going to toilet together. In some other cases, other bullies get their own assignments done for them by the other brilliant ones. As some get hurt for using abusive language, others are boiling within but could not voice out for the fear of maximum beating. What a humiliation and human degradation!

It is essentially required that the parents, teachers, school authorities and students come to round table to eliminate this social menace and modern slavery. The authorities are required to make available some boxes under lock and keys where students are encourage dropping the complaints anonymously. As the boxes are open at least twice a week, the accused student bully should be invited along with evidences. If found guilty of the allegation, his/her parents should be informed while appropriate action ranging from interrogation to counseling for re-orientation and reformation.

Clearly speaking, the bully student should not be subjected to humiliation or abusive. Love and respect should rather be showered on such student. By this treatment, it is most likely that he is receptive to the counsel and guide and possibly renounces his old ways of behaviour. Where after all these the bully refuse to change then urgent action needs to be taken against him. This includes suspension or dismissal before polluting and destroys other students with them. The parents could even be advised to send him to a rehabilitation homes for reformations.

The time has finally come to disseminate information about school violence and the impact of bullying. Urgent and strict steps should then be taken to eliminate the menace.

 

Dealing with Bullying Situation/Incidents

Each school board or district (or in some cases, individual school) has its own policies and procedures for dealing with discipline and violent incidents at school. These policies and procedures should be reviewed at the start of an anti-bullying, in order to find out if adequate measures are in place for dealing with perpetrators of bullying and supporting victims. This should be done in addition to implementing school-wide prevention measures.

 

Suggested Steps for Intervening in Bullying Situations:

  • Intervene immediately: stop the bullying behaviour as soon as you see it or become aware of it.
  • Talk to the bully, and talk to the victim, separately. If more than one child is involved in perpetrating the bullying, talk to each of the perpetrators separately, in quick succession.
  • If a peer mediation program is in place, be very careful in referring cases where there is bullying, as the power imbalance will likely make this a very intimidating situation for the victim. The victim’s communication and assertiveness skills may be very low, and will be further eroded by the fear resulting from past intimidation and fear of future retaliation. Your may wish to exclude such cases from peer mediation.
  • Consult with administrator and other teachers, as well as staff, to get a wider reading on the problem, and to alert them to the problem. Get advice as to how this situation fits with school and board policies, and/or refer to written guidelines.
  • Expect that the perpetrator(s) will minimize and deny his/her/their actions and responsibility. Refer to school and class codes of conduct in telling the bully why their behaviour was unacceptable. Tell them what behaviour you do expect of them. Inform the bully(ies) of the sanctions which will be imposed and that their parents will be involved.
  • Reassure the victim that all possible steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence.
  • Inform the parents of the bully and of the victim as soon as possible. A quick call to the home the same day is preferable, followed by an appointment at school for the parents, if it is deemed necessary. Better results are obtained when parents are involved early in a bullying situation, before behaviour patterns are entrenched and extremely serious.
  • Involve parents in designing a creative plan of action, whenever possible.
  • For victims, involving them in groups and situations where they can make appropriate friends and develop their social skills and confidence is important. An example of this is a peer support group, new student orientation group, a co-operative learning group in class, or a special activity group or club. Parents can also arrange for these kinds of opportunities outside of school. The goals should be to develop the child’s peer support network, social and other skills and confidence. Specific instruction in assertiveness skills may also be helpful.
  • For the bully(ies), specific re-education, as to his/her/their behaviour, is important, in addition to sanctions such as removal of privileges, detention, etc. Some schools have had good success with in-school detention situations where aggressive students must complete social skill modules designed to reduce aggressive behaviour and develop empathy for others.
  • Follow up in communicating with parents and with other teachers and administrators about the situation, until it is clearly resolved.
  • Monitor the behaviour of the bully and the safety of the victim on a school-wide basis.
  • If the bully(ies) will not change their behaviour, despite concerted efforts by school personnel, they, and not the victim, should be the ones who are removed from the class or school, or transferred to another program. Consequences for the perpetrators will be of considerable interest to all students, and will set the tone for future situations.

 

What can be Done – For Teachers

(Source: http://www.kzoo.edu/psych/stop_bullying/for_teachers/what_can_be_done.html)

As teachers, it is important that we do not provide the conditions in which bullies and victims are able to manifest themselves. Easier said than done, right?

 

Things that we can do:

  • Create a peer environment that sanctions against, rather than ignores or condones, the kinds of continuing hurtful actions that occur in bully/victim relationships.
  • Take into account the fact that many factors help to maintain the bully/victim relationship, therefore the most successful interventions take place simultaneously at the individual, dyad, peer, classroom, school and family levels.

Suggestions for all teachers and administration:

  • Schedule a full staff meeting to raise awareness and knowledge.
  • Find out what other schools have done
  • Find out existing programs or initiatives in your school
  • Develop an anti-bullying school policy (see section below titled “A School Policy on Bullying”).
  • Consultation between teachers, students, parents and other school personnel
  • Backed up by curriculum work and existing policies
  • Playground improvements
  • Peer support services such as peer counselling.
  • Increase adult supervision at key times (lunch, recess, etc.)

Create a short questionnaire or survey given to students and adults:

  • Ascertain the level and nature of bully/victim problems in school
  • Create awareness of extent of problem
  • Discuss at staff meetings and with children and parents

Raise parental awareness:

  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Parent newsletters
  • PTA meetings
  • Explore possible SST (social skills training) programs:
  • Develop empathy among all children
  • Develop anger management skills for bullies
  • Effective conflict-resolution skills for bullies
  • Assertiveness training for victims

In the classroom:

  • Classroom discussion – agree on classroom rules regarding bullying
  • Role play exercises – how to assist victims, etc.
  • Give clear message that bullying is not acceptable at school
  • Consistently use agreed upon rules and punishment
  • Encourage reporting of bullying
  • Praise for avoidance of bullying
  • Excellent creative activities to raise awareness about bullying can be found at Stop Bullying Now from Education World.

 

Try this example of an effective classroom discussion from Bullying Online:

“The teacher or whoever is leading the session could ask for words that describe bullying and write them on a chart. Then they could ask for words that describe how someone being bullied/bullying might feel, and then finally for ways they think bullying could be stopped in their own school. It could also involve asking people in the room to suggest what people witnessing bullying should do about it.”

Teach students this creed against bullying in your classroom (Olweus, 1993):

  • We shall not bully other students
  • We shall try to help students who are bullied
  • We shall make a point to include students who are easily left out

 

Developing a school policy on bullying:

(source: Bullying at School: Action Against Bullying: A Support Pack for Schools 1992)

Research shows that having a policy helps to combat bullying if:

  • Everyone knows what the policy is
  • The policy is applied consistently
  • Everyone believes in the policy
  • Things to discuss in developing a policy:
  • What counts as bullying in your school?

What are the aims of your policy?

  • Think about
  • Preventing bullying
  • Dealing with bullying if it occurs
  • Building on your school discipline policy
  • Fitting in with your social education policy

What will the policy consist of?

  • Raising awareness through the curriculum
  • Giving pupils opportunities to talk about bullying in general
  • Supervision of key areas of the school
  • Procedures for investigating incidents
  • Guidelines for listening to victims, witnesses and bullies

Who is going to do what?

  • Can you identify specific responsibilities for specific people: teachers, pupils, parents, and staff?
  • How are you going to communicate the policy to all concerned?
  • How will people be encouraged to be committed to the policy?
  • Can you involve the school board, teaching/non-teaching staff, pupils and others in discussions?

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