Prevent Bullying at Your School: Tips for Teachers and Principals

Bully

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.

The senseless acts of bullying continue to be an issue for students at schools. According to research, 32 percent of students reported they had experienced some form of bullying at school.

Bullying continues to be a major problem in schools because students suffer in silence and do not want to share what they are experiencing. Bullying has been linked to depression, physical health problems, mental health problems and even suicide. According to research, high-achieving black and Latino students are two groups who experience bullying more frequently than other known peer groups.

In many situations, students who experience bullying do not have a full awareness of what bullying is, thus limiting a student’s ability to take action to resolve the problem.

This limited awareness is also common for teachers and administrators. It is very important to for teachers and administrators to be informed about bullying and strategic action that can be instrumental in resolving bullying issues.

Here are five tips on what teachers and administrators can do to address bullying in schools.

Tip 1
Be a Model for Students to Follow
As a school leader you should model the behavior you want students to use with their peers. Try to avoid at the center of potential conflicts that surface at the school. It is important to demonstrate to the students you are a problem-solver with no intentions of taking sides with an individual student, group, or teacher.

Tip 2
Be Informed About the Matter Before Drawing Conclusions
When a bullying situation presents itself, be sure to get all of the facts from all parties involved. Examine those facts for accuracy and share the information as needed with students, staff, and parents in an effort to resolve the matter.

Tip 3
Be Sure to Enforce the School-wide Code of Conduct
It is important that staff, students and parents are aware of what constitutes improper behavior and the consequences enforced by the school leadership. It is also important to make sure school staff are informed and receive training on improper behavior and the consequences associated with bullying.

Tip 4
Be Sure Adults are Present
Bullying tends to happen when adults are not present. Take the necessary precautions as an administrator or teacher to make sure that adults are present in the hallways, the stairwells, the playgrounds, the cafeterias, just to name a few.

Tip 5
Be An Advocate of Bullying Awareness
It is important to generate and encourage awareness not just during a designated month, but throughout the school. Encourage collaboration creative collaborations to spread the word about bullying through school activities, campaigns, and community events.

(For additional information on bullying see articles by James Dillon from Principal magazine, Sept/Oct 2010 and Ted Feinberg from Principal Leadership, Sept 2003)