Anti-Bullying Action Steps for Schools and Educators
Recent research on resilience and bullying says that “Schools play a critical role in the process of child and adolescent development by providing the components or strengths they need to be caring and productive citizens in adulthood.” 1
Educators play a big part in building resilience in their students, and educators’ efforts are important because they support the efforts of families and community members in this child-raising collaborative. With this in mind, we’ve created these anti-bullying tips for schools and educators based on the Developmental Assets research, the qualities and external factors that we know kids need to be successful.
- Create a Caring School Environment – School should be a warm, inviting, and accepting place. Parents and students alike should feel comfortable and welcome at school. Be sure that all students know that they are important to the school environment and feel that they are actively a part of what makes the school great.
- Encourage Parents to Be Involved – Schools send out letters asking for help in the classrooms and in other ways, but oftentimes parents sense that the school does not see them as partners in raising their children. Make sure that is not the case. Invite every parent to volunteer or contribute a skill to the classroom. Be conscious of families who have situations that create roadblocks, and brainstorm with them and with other educators about ways to overcome them.
- See Youth as Resources- Create ways for students to contribute to the school so that they feel that they are a resource. Encourage a reading buddy classroom program, have a student council, or allow students to have a voice about which lunch program you use.
- Create Service Experiences for Youth – Whether the choir sings at a nursing home, the student council picks up trash on the playground, or a grade level competes to bring in food items for the homeless shelter, every small act of service that children do helps them learn that life is not just about them. This also connects them to causes bigger than themselves and helps them see needs where they may not have seen them before.
- Provide Clear Boundaries and Safety – Teachers need to be clear about their classroom rules and then enforce them. Three basic rules should guide all classrooms: respect for self, respect for others, and respect for property; all positive behavior falls under those guidelines and creates a respectful and safe environment.
- Encourage School Engagement- Provide an array of extra-curricular and after school offerings in order to promote students’ bonds to school through relationships, interests, and time. When kids spend time together with each other (and with other adults in the school) doing something of shared interest, they see school as having an important role in their lives. In turn, they will feel more comfortable at school, and they will seek out ways to become even more involved.
- Promote Positive Values- Children are not born with positive values, but every interaction that they have is a potential opportunity to help them learn. Use literature and historical figures to promote these values as well as those unplanned teachable moments to promote the concepts of equality, social justice, integrity, and responsibility. Connect these with the themes of respect in the classroom.
- Help Students to Dream about Their Futures – School is where many students find out about potential future careers. Seek out ways to engage students in the knowledge of what they can do with their futures. Be on the look out for job-shadowing experiences or apprenticeships. Encourage students to engage with all curricula – even in areas where they struggle – so that the doors of opportunity remain wide open to them in their futures.
1. Donnon, T., & Hammond, W. (2007). Understanding the relationship between resiliency and bullying in adolescence: An assessment of youth resiliency from five urban high schools. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 16, 449–471. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2006.11.007
- Alcohol Use
- Drug Use
- Depression and Suicide
- Tobacco Use
- Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Early Sexual Activity
- Eating Disorders
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Strengths to Make It Through: How Families Can Grow Together Through Everyday Challenges . . . and Big Stuff, presented by Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Development at Search Institute
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Don’t Be a Bystander! What Students Can Do about Bullying
Tips taken from The Right to Be Safe: Putting an End to Bullying Behavior, by Cricket Meehan.
- Spread rumors.
- Exclude classmates from activities.
- Join in.
- Laugh at other students being hurt.
- Cheer on the student who is bullying.
- Bully the student who is bullying. It is NEVER okay to use bullying behavior.
- Tell the person who is bullying to stop.
- Tell a trusted adult what is happening.
- Be a supportive friend to the person who is being bullied.
- Tell the student who is being bullied that it is NOT his or her fault.