BEST PRACTICES IN BULLYING PREVENTION

FOCUS ON THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE SCHOOL

In order to reduce bullying, it is important to change the social climate of the school with regards to bullying.

This requires the efforts of everyone in the school environment – teachers, administrators, counsellors, school nurses, other non-teaching staff (such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers and/or school librarians), parents and children.

ASSESS BULLYING AT THE SCHOOL

Adults are not always very good at estimating the nature and prevalence of bullying at their school.

As a result, it can be quite useful to administer an anonymous questionnaire to children about bullying. A number of bullying prevention programmes listed in the Resource Kit includes these measures.

FORM A GROUP TO CO-ORDINATE THE SCHOOLS BULLYING PREVENTION ACTIVITIES

Bullying prevention efforts seem to work best if they are co-ordinated by a representative group from the school.

This co-ordinating team might include: an administrator, a teacher from each grade, a member of the non-teaching staff, a school counsellor or other school-based mental health professional and a parent.

The team should meet regularly to review findings from the school’s survey; plan specific bullying prevention activities; motivate staff, students and parents; and ensure that the efforts continue over time.

PROVIDE TRAINING FOR SCHOOL STAFF IN BULLYING PREVENTION

Administrators, faculty and staff at a school should be trained in bullying prevention and intervention. In-service training can help staff members to better understand the nature of bullying and its effects, how to respond if they observe bullying and how to work with others at the school to help prevent bullying.

ESTABLISH AND ENFORCE SCHOOL RULES AND POLICIES RELATED TO BULLYING

Developing simple, clear rules about bullying can help to ensure that children are aware of adults’ expectations that they do not bully others and that they help children who are bullied.

School rules and policies should be posted and discussed with children and parents. Appropriate positive and negative consequences should be developed.

INCREASE ADULT SUPERVISION IN “HOT SPOTS” FOR BULLYING

Bullying tends to thrive in locations where adults are not present or are not watchful. Adults should look for creative ways to increase adult presence in locations that children identify as “hot spots”.

INTERVENE CONSISTENTLY AND APPROPRIATELY WHEN YOU SEE BULLYING

Observed or suspected bullying should never be ignored by adults. All school staff should learn effective strategies to intervene on-the-spot to stop bullying.

Staff members also should be designated to hold sensitive individual separate follow-up meetings with children who are bullied and with children who bully. Staff members should involve parents whenever possible.

DEVOTE SOME CLASS TIME TO BULLYING PREVENTION

Children can benefit if teachers set aside a regular period of time (e.g. 20-30 minutes each week or every other week) to discuss bullying and improving peer relations. These meetings can help teachers to keep their fingers on the pulse of children’s concerns, allow time for discussions about bullying and the harms that it can cause and provide tools for children to address bullying problems.

Anti-bullying messages also can be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.

CONTINUE THESE EFFORTS

There should be no “end date” for bullying prevention activities.
Bullying prevention should be continued over time and woven into the fabric of the school environment.