Top 5 Ways Educators Can Stop Bullies

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.

StopBullying.gov LogoBelow 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.

1. Create a Safe and Supportive Environment

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.

2. Manage Classrooms to Prevent Bullying

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.

3. Stop Bullying on the Spot

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.

4. Find Out What Happened

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.

5. Support the Kids Involved

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.

Watch Secretary Duncan announce the new StopBullying.gov, and visit the site for other great tips.

Cameron Brenchley is Director of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of Education

12 Comments

  1. Far too many negatives are displayed on tech toys today. Mostly negative character development of reality shows, political criminals, wall street/corporate thieves, religious authoratative molesters of children, misrepresentation of sanctuary values,
    celebrity misfits of insanity, and disappointing game players lead our children into uncompromising paths of self destruction of oneself and others. What does our country do to stabilize this inflated egoism? Will this country return to the patriotic values that birth the democracy of the people, by the people and for the people the right to pursue liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Notwithstanding this right
    denigrates and depersonalize the inward core of a valued human being. It doesn’t begin at school, it doesn’t begin at home… for it lies dormant like the aids epidemic; painfully waiting to strike the lack of perception …who might have thought this human frailty piece of_____…was his or her friend. Only to find that this person purposely set out to ineffectually defame his/her or a groups self worth. Are we a country thats so engrossed in fame , fortune, celebrity, popularity, and “itness” that we’ve lost the development of the whole person in our educational pool of high achievers. ONCE UPON A TIME, our education system overemphasize development of the WHOLE CHILD…that’s history…tha’ts ancient…because we have become a hall of academic testers…less or sometimes no teaching…just test…test…test and more test. We’re even testing students over material that they know little or none of…and that’s putting it mildly. Digressing into the crux of whats really going on…mixtures of CULTURES in a country that know little about each other…know nothing of each others LANGUAGE…fighting for status on jobs, politics, wealth, health, religion and power. What state of defense that wouldn’t come abroad – except bullying to make the other feel powerless in the scheme of mental survival and economic control? Should this be another bullet for the WHITE HOUSE, THE SCHOOL HOUSE, THE HOUSE WHERE FAMILIES ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE, THE CHURCH HOUSE, THE HOUSE WHERE THE SICK ARE HOUSED(HOSPITAL) THE DOGHOUSE, THE BIRD HOUSE, THE MANY HOUSES AT THE ZOO, THE APARTMENT HOUSES?…too many houses and no resolves …The teacher can’t be everywhere at the schoolhouse…the PRESIDENT has to leave something for the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION to sort out at the WHITE HOUSE…the PARISHIONERS left prayer out of the order of discipline for schools in the Sunday School…WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT? And now, on our quest for discipline and order in the arena of the destruction of children’s character in the home, school, church and public venues, there’s a public outcry to undertake drastic measures to eliminate this bullying plague. ASK NOT WHAT CAN BE DONE, ASK NOT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOING SOMETHING, RATHER, ASK WHAT SHALL I DO TO SPREAD A POSITIVE FLOW OF KINDNESS, POLITENESS, CONCERNS FOR OTHERS WELFARE OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, THE BROTHERS KEEPER SPIRIT, THE SHARING OF COMMON THREADS OF CONDUCT WHERE ONE WINS AND ONE LOSES. WE WILL NEXT TIME…IN THE SWEET SPIRIT OF FAIR COMPETITION.

  2. Teaching for 35 years has allowed me to write an educated documentation of the
    pysche of the bully being anyone in the world. Every human being is a target of the
    bully and every human being has personalities bordering on bully tactics at some point and time in his/her life. Publishing this document is the rites of passage for
    anyone who is not clear on who, what, when, where and how bullying has become
    the “it” conversational piece. Being the sole proprietor of “BRAINS, BEAUTY and TALENT” has afforded me the business and educational experience to counsel with thousands of students, parents, educators over the past 40 years. Understanding why students, people and unnatural human beings formulate their bully personalities is all a part of the illegitimate low life societal specifications of our global world. My business is to tap into the questionable purpose of what frustrations, idiosyncrasies,
    low self-esteem, abandoment issues, family problems, etc, etc causes people to crawl into attack mode of another human being. Violence is an indication of home environments that breed fear, anger management issues, low, low self-esteem, financial degradation are elements that fertilize bully personalities.

  3. I was severely bullied all through elementary school and middle school…. to the point in which it got so bad that I switched school districts. I’m finally opening up on my new blog, belittlethebullies, to try to help kids who may be in my shoes today. Bullying will not stop until we all start actively advocating to end it.

  4. I applaud all efforts (proactive and reactive) that schools take to create and maintain safe schools for children. Our school (primary level) has invested significant resources to create a safe and nurturing learning community for children and adults. The five points shared in this article are foundational pieces to our approach. My concern is that bullying seems to be viewed as a school issue, when in fact it is a cultural/society issue that seeps into all aspects of our daily lives. Children are bombarded with unkind, disrespectful, and often vicious behavior far beyond the classroom or schoolyard. You only have to look at political campaigns, reality shows, stand in line at the Supermarket, social media, have someone cut you off while driving, etc. to see/hear examples of inappropriate, vicious, and disrespectful behavior. Children are not born bullies, but learn this behavior from the world around them. Often the seeds are planted long before they enter school, then reinforced through our culture of intolerance. All adults, whether school personnel or not, need to take responsibility for modeling appropriate behavior in every aspect of their lives, if we are ever going to shift the tide. Children are always watching/listening. Our unspoken messages are often more powerful than the spoken. Schools are a key player in addressing the problem, but approaching the problem only from the school angle will never make a sustained or measurable difference.

  5. All of the above tactics to battle bullying are excellent ideas, but I don’t see peer mediation as a tactic. Throughout my entire public school career peer mediation was a way to solve all our problems and at the student level. If mediation had heated consequences then a teacher was usually present. Students are able to learn easily from one another. Solving problems with your peers can result in a strong relationship outcome, and your peers can relate to what you’re going through. An adult should monitor these sessions and step in if necessary, but talking about these issues with an adult is not always the most comfortable environment for them. Students bullied need to feel that they can open up and reveal their emotions, and what better way to do that then with a friend.

    • Thank you for your comment Allan,

      The following information comes from http://www.stopbullying.gov and addresses peer mediation:

      Conflict resolution and peer mediation are common strategies for dealing with conflicts among students. Many schools also use peer mediation and conflict resolution to address bullying problems, but this is not recommended. Why?

      • Bullying is a form of victimization, not conflict. It is no more a “conflict” than are child abuse or domestic violence.
      • Mediating a bullying incident may send inappropriate messages to the students who are involved (such as, “You are both partly right and partly wrong,” or “We need to work out this conflict between you”). The appropriate message to the child who is bullied should be, “No one deserves to be bullied, and we are going to do everything we can to stop it.” The message for children who bully should be, “Your behavior is inappropriate and must be stopped.”
      • Mediation may further victimize a child who has been bullied. It may be very upsetting for a child who has been bullied to face his or her tormenter in mediation.
      • There is no evidence to indicate that conflict resolution or peer mediation is effective in stopping bullying

      Cameron Brenchley
      Office of Communications and Outreach

  6. I echo points 1 and 5 in particular. Each classroom and school has a culture and a tone. It seems that environments in which children feel safe, respected, and good about themselves (despite abilities) are not conducive to bullying.

    I also thinks that in order to support those involved, you can only really do that if there is a strong and trusting relationship in place. Bullies bully for a reason. They need to trust that in supporting them, you are not out to punish, but to help them develop as people…to help with those underlying issues.

    Great tips…thanks for sharing.

  7. I would recommend keeping written documentation on the incidents. This is one of the best ways to provide information to help resolve the problem. A written record would help to show frequency and give details of what actually happened. I have found that this helps when the parents are discussing the issue with teaching personnel.

  8. Effective preventions for bullying in any environment (workplace or school) has similarities with workplace safety and health in my opinion, that is, a top down down approach must be taken. Without the full and visible influence of the Principal in every area of the school, from meetings to class room to playgrounds, bullying will continue. I applaud the stopbullying.gov website for their “Top 5 ways educators can stop bullies”. This approach, fully integrated throughout the school, including in all interactions with parents, i.e. parents meetings etc, will work. By including everyone in this approach, including full consultation with the parents and with the children to let everyone know what, how and when this is going to happen, will improve the “safety culture” across the whole spectrum of the school.

    However this approach will not work if it is introduced in a piecemeal manner or without the visible and dedicated influence of the Principal of the school. In my opinion :)

  9. How to respond when it happens. The information comes from the recently re-launched federal website http://www.StopBullying.gov. Visit the new site for even more valuable resources for teachers, parents and students.
    Finally somthing hapen to help Stop Bullies!!!!

  10. If a child is a persistent bully would it maybe be an idea for their behaviour to be a reported on their school records? I know students who are straight A students but they bully others. Children seem to get away with it as there are no strong deterrents in place. Nothing ever seems to happen to the bully. I appreciate that there would need to be very firm guidelines in place to ensure the system doesn’t come down hard on mild offenses but is this something that could be considered? It’s just a thought and I am sure many will not agree but somehow the bullies need to know their own life could be affected and not just the life of the victim. Maybe they would think twice before they act.

  11. I Am So Glad To Finally See Some Schools And Goverment Sites Getting Involved And Taking This Horrible Epidemic Serious. We Are Losing Way To Many Children To Bullycide As Seeing No Way Out Of Their Tragic Situation … I Believe “Bully” The Movie Should Be A Mandated Assembly For Students, Teachers, Administrators And Parents To Watch. It Should Also Be Viewed By All Church Congregations And Government Officials Also. SOMETHING DRATIC HAS TO HAPPENED TO HELP CHANGE THINGS! … “TOGETHER WE CAN!”

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