preventing bullying

It is no surprise to educators that bullying is a common problem among all schools. They have known for years that students need to be in safe and supportive learning environments to thrive. And the vast majority care deeply about keeping children safe. Given that commitment to student safety, why do so many children still experience bullying?

Retired elementary school principal, James Dillon, writes in Principal Magazine that during bullying prevention trainings, he asks participants to choose the one group they believe is most responsible for addressing bullying. Inevitably, he gets a wide variety of responses. He suggests that perhaps bullying problems are not addressed because "people think bullying prevention is someone else's responsibility”. As Dillon puts it, "The reality is that no one is to blame, yet everyone is responsible”.  We all can work to prevent bullying, be it on a school- or classroom-wide basis, or even at home.

So what can you do to prevent bullying? Here are some tips for teachers and parents.

4 Tips for Teachers

1.Treat students with respect and develop a relationship with them. Make sure they know you are available to listen to and help them.

2. Know your school’s rules and policies on bullying. Do your part to implement them effectively.

3. Conduct classroom activities around bullying. Help your student identify what bullying is and how it affects others.

4. Take immediate action when bullying takes place – don’t be passive!

4 Tips for Parents

1. Be a good example and model kind behavior.  As Education.com puts it, "Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you're teaching your child that bullying is ok."

2. Make sure your child understands bullying. Explain what it is and that it's not normal for them to bully or be bullied.

3. Talk with and listen to your children. Ask questions about their school day. Children who feel comfortable talking to their parents about these matters before they are involved in bullying are more likely to get them involved after.

4. Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior. Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn’t stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to.

You can find more helpful information about bullying here.

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