A report from MSNBC estimates that one in every six children is regularly bullied. This is an alarming statistic and it has led certain states to develop anti-bullying legislation and school districts to adopt zero tolerance bullying policies. Why are states and school districts doing this? Because bullying has very negative consequences on today’s youth. Some victims of bullying are committing suicide or they are thinking about committing suicide.
Bullying can take physical, verbal, and online forms. The thing about bullying is that it’s preventable. And you, as a teacher, can help prevent it in your classroom and on your campus. Here are some ways how you can prevent bullying and make your school a safer, more enjoyable environment.
Over the last 10 years, there’s been an increased focus on bullying and how detrimental bullying can be. In the documentary film “Bully”, students can see how bullying occurs and the effects it can have on students. Allowing your students to view these types of documentaries educates them on the grave consequences that bullying can have and discussions about these issues can promote awareness and empathy.
As a teacher, you can create a place that’s safe and supportive. This means teaching students to welcome and include everyone. This also involves monitoring traditional bullying hot spots and encouraging students to open up about incidents of bullying so they can be addressed by you, and other staff members, immediately — before it’s too late.
If you stop an incident of bullying, separate the children involved and gather all of the facts and what may have led to the situation. It’s important to support both the victim and the aggressor. Allow them both to understand why the situation occurred and offer them guidance and alternatives so they can prevent it from happening again. Recognize that communication is the key to making a change, and that includes following up with both students to consistently guide them toward healthy coping strategies and resilient outcomes.
We may think we have the answers but bullying has evolved and so must we. There are a variety of professional development opportunities so that you can use to advance your practice and support your students. Having every staff member on the same page is essential for how to handle situations of bullying on your campus. Check out anti-bullying courses and webinars to help you and your colleagues advance your collective anti-bullying approach.