A new documentary film, “BULLY,” follows several students to show how bullying happens in schools—and how educators often struggle to put a stop to it. A safe and supportive school climate can be one of the best tools in preventing bullying. Whether it’s the classroom, the cafeteria, the library, the restrooms, on the bus, or on the playground, children need to feel safe—or they can’t focus on learning. Working together, everyone at school can help create a climate where bullying is not acceptable.
Below are five tips to help teachers, administrators and other school personnel prevent bullying from occurring in school, as well as how to respond when it happens. The information comes from the recently re-launched federal website www.StopBullying.gov. Visit the new site for even more valuable resources for teachers, parents and students.
Establish a culture of inclusion and respect that welcomes all students Monitor bullying “hot spots” in and around the building. Set a tone of respect in the classroom.
Develop rules with students so they set their own climate of respect and responsibility, and reinforce the rules by making expectations clear and keeping requests simple, direct and specific.
Intervene immediately. It’s OK to get another adult to help. Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately, and don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
Get the facts, keep all the children involved separate, listen without blaming and don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.
All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying—can be affected. It is important to support all kids involved to make sure the bullying doesn’t continue and effects can be minimized.
Cameron Brenchley is Director of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of Education