Giving Teachers Tools to Stop Bullying: Free Training Toolkit Now Available

Over the past three years, at our annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summits, we have heard the same call by educators-– teachers want to help stop bullying, but they don’t know how. Most try to help, but few receive training on how to do so. There are bullying prevention trainings available for teachers, but many are very expensive or not based on the best available research.

Save and Respectful LogoThat is why the Department of Education and its Safe and Supportive Technical Assistance Center, set out to create a free, state-of-the-art training for classroom teachers on bullying. The two-part training aims to help teachers know the best practices to stop bullying on the spot and how to stop it before it starts.  The training toolkit consists of PowerPoints, trainer guides, handouts, and feedback forms that school districts, schools, and teachers can use free of charge. Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers gave feedback on the modules and made suggestions on what teachers would find most useful.

The research-based training gives teachers practical steps to take to respond to bullying. These skills include how to deescalate a situation, find out what happened, and support all of the students involved. The training also shows the importance of building strong relationships in the classroom, as well as creating an environment respectful of diversity, in order to prevent bullying.

The classroom teacher toolkit is based in part on a toolkit specific to bus drivers, released in June 2011. Many states and school districts have used that toolkit; it has been used to train over 100,000 of the nation’s estimated 550,000 school bus drivers in the past year. Trainees have reported feeling better equipped to address bullying on their school buses following the training.

We hope that the districts, schools, and teachers will use this toolkit as a resource. When more people know how to stop bullying, the more likely we will be to ensure that all students are able to learn in a safe and supportive school.

Deborah Temkin is a Research and Policy Coordinator for Bullying Prevention Initiatives at the Department of Education

5 Ways to Help Your Child Prevent Bullying this School Year

As children head back to the classroom, now is a great time for parents and guardians to talk with your kids about bullying. Here are five tips to help your child prevent bullying and to help them deal with bullying:

Back to School Logo1)     Establish lines of communication and talk for at least 15 minutes a day. Bullying can be difficult for parents to talk about, but it is important that children know they can talk to you, before they are involved in bullying in any way. StopBullying.gov and our partners at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have easy tips and tools that can help start the conversation.

2)     Make sure kids know safe ways to be more than a bystander. When kids witness bullying, it can affect them too. Helping kids learn what they can do to help when they see bullying can help to stop bullying. Click here for more suggestions on how bystanders can help.

3)     Know your state’s anti-bullying law and your school’s anti-bullying policy. Forty-nine states have laws requiring schools to have anti-bullying policies. Know what your school policy says and how to report an incident of bullying if you ever need to.

4)     Learn how to support kids involved in bullying. When you find out your child is involved in bullying, it is important to know how to respond. Whether your child is bullying others or is the one being bullied it is important to know what steps to take, and which to avoid, in order to resolve the situation.

5)     Take an active role in anti-bullying initiatives. The key to addressing bullying is to stop it before it starts. Work with your children, their school, and the community to raise awareness and take action against bullying. Toolkits like the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Community Action Training Modules can help you start an initiative in your community. You can get your children involved, too, by using the Youth Leaders Toolkit to help them mentor younger children.

Visit StopBullying.gov for more helpful tips on how to prevent bullying, and have a great school year!

Deborah Temkin is a Research and Policy Coordinator for Bullying Prevention Initiatives at the Department of Education

What Are You Going to Do to Prevent Bullying?

Secretary Duncan speaks at the Bullying Prevention Summit. Official Department of Education photo by Paul Wood.

Secretary Duncan speaks at the Bullying Prevention Summit. Official Department of Education photo by Paul Wood.

Cross-posted from StopBullying.gov

When I helped close the third annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit on Tuesday, my colleagues and I gave attendees a simple charge: what are you going to do to further bullying prevention in the next year?

At the summit we heard about the diverse and expansive efforts of many different organizations – from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to previewing the AD Council’s new campaign targeted at parents. We also heard about the continued commitment of the federal partners to find solutions to bullying through keynotes by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Associate Attorney General Tony West.

In each of the keynotes, panels and discussions over the course of the two-day summit, one key theme emerged: We all have a role to play to prevent bullying, but we must make sure we base our efforts on the best available knowledge, work together so we advance the field rather than reinvent the wheel, and make sure we engage youth.

Our words and messaging around bullying matter.  We must work to combat indifference that sometimes leads to inaction. Even though we all want “zero-tolerance” towards bullying, we need to recognize bullying’s impact on all students in a school, including those who bully. And we must consider whether exclusionary disciplinary policies could make things worse. We must work to find alternative strategies to make sure we hold those who bully accountable, that also allow those students to learn, grow and succeed.

We must also strive to recognize the many other factors, beyond bullying, that contribute to youth’s suicidal ideation and behaviors. Speakers at the summit reminded us that recognizing the other factors that may be involved in youth suicide, and being careful how we talk about it, allows us to better help youth who may be considering it.

Through all of our efforts, we must make sure we ask the youth involved. Over 30 student leaders attended the summit and let us all know, they have ideas and they want to be heard. That is one of the reasons the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention announced the launch of their “Stop Bullying Video Challenge” allowing teens13-18 years-old to submit PSAs on how their peers can be “more than a bystander.”

Ultimately, it is up to all of us to combat bullying and I truly hope this year’s summit has inspired us all to take action.

Deborah Temkin is a Research and Policy Coordinator for Bullying Prevention Initiatives at the Department of Education

Coming to you Live from Washington, D.C…the Bullying Prevention Summit!

Cross-posted from StopBullying.gov.

Next week, leaders of non-profit and corporate organizations engaged in anti-bullying work will join researchers, parents and students to participate in the third Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit on August 6th and 7th in Washington, D.C.

StopBullying.gov LogoThe Summit is hosted by the Department of Education and will bring these groups and individuals together to discuss the successes and challenges of addressing bullying, and what needs to be done in the year to come. We’ve come a long way in the past year, but there is much to learn from the people who address bullying in the work they do day to day. It’s important for us to hear the voices of those impacted by bullying from around the country and to share the knowledge we’ve gained to stop bullying.  So for the first time this year, we will be livestreaming the entire Summit and engaging the at-home audience through Twitter and Facebook.

Since we hosted the first Summit in August, 2010, attention and efforts around bullying have taken on new importance and urgency. We are starting to turn a corner from thinking of bullying as “kids being kids,” to understanding the real and serious consequences bullying may have. Although there have been many advances over the past three years, there is still much to be done. We must come together to make sure our efforts are informed by the best available research and work to protect all youth. This year, the summit will focus on three important issues:

Keynote speeches by the White House’s Roberto Rodriguez, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West will highlight and reinforce the Administration’s commitment to bullying. Remarks by Maryland’s First Lady Katie O’Malley and U.S. Congressman Mike Honda (D, CA-15) as well as a special conversation between Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Cynthia Germonotta, President of the Born this Way Foundation will highlight some of the key activities being taken in the Congressional, State, and Foundation arenas.

It is up to all of us, whatever role we play in kids’ lives, to take action against bullying. As we begin the important discussions for this year’s Summit, I hope you will join us in taking a stand against bullying.

Deborah Temkin is a Research and Policy Coordinator for Bullying Prevention Initiatives at the Department of Education