10 steps to reduce bullying in schools
Bullying in schools is a serious problem. Most students are concerned that bullying affects their daily lives, but very few would take action if they became the target of a bully. The purpose of this article is to help teachers identify types of bullying and ways to prevent it. This article also provides teachers with 10 steps to reduce bullying in schools and practical strategies for responding to bullying, controlling device use at school, and methods to reduce bullying.
Bullying is more than just a childhood rite of passage. It can affect children into adulthood and have long-lasting effects. In this guide, we’ll discuss the importance of recognising and addressing bullying as well as how to identify all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying and peer-on-peer bullying.
What is bullying?
Bullying is a serious social phenomenon that occurs in schools and ranges from physical assaults to verbal threats to persistent pranks.
Bullying can be intentional and ongoing, or a one-time occurrence. It may happen face-to-face, through texting or online via email, chat rooms and websites. There are many ways to intervene if you witness bullying behaviour or feel like you are being bullied. It’s important to remember that bullying does not happen only at school; it can happen anywhere and can cross all types of boundaries. Once the bully knows their target well enough, they may invite others to join in the fun and make it an ‘event’ that involves your whole year group.
Bullying is a growing social concern among educators, parents, and students in every country. Definitions of bullying vary slightly but generally describe aggression motivated by a desire to harm or distress another person who is unable to defend themselves by reason of physical weakness or inferiority.
Bullying can include acts such as teasing, name-calling, physical aggression, social ostracism, psychological and sexual abuse, and cyberbullying (via devices).
Bullying in schools can be prevented by following these 10 steps, with parents and teachers.
The best way to prevent bullying in schools is to teach all students, teachers, administrators and parents how to spot, prevent and end bullying.
The 10 steps to reduce bullying in schools
Recognise bullying and its effects. Bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour that occurs when someone intentionally causes another person physical or emotional harm. The most common forms of bullying are verbal, physical and relational. Verbal bullying includes name-calling, teasing and threatening language; physical bullying involves hurting someone by hitting, kicking or spitting on them; and relational bullying involves damaging someone’s relationships with their friends or family members through gossip or excluding them from activities (National Association of School Psychologists).
Create a school environment where bullying is not tolerated. This can be a difficult task, but it is an essential one. It requires the school to make a commitment to establish anti-bullying policies that are well-known and enforced by staff members. The policy should define bullying behaviour as well as actions that will be taken when incidents occur. We provide a step-by-step guide on how to create this environment in our Bullying Elimination and Prevention kit.
Engage parents and community members in the fight against bullying. Parents and community members can be powerful allies in the strategy to eliminate bullying. They can advocate for their children when incidents occur, provide support to victims, and help students understand the impact that their behaviour has on others.
Create a safe, nurturing environment for all students. This means that school staff must be trained and equipped with the skills necessary to identify bullying behaviour as well as strategies for responding to it effectively. It is not necessary for teachers to become “friends” with their pupils but to let them feel that you care about every aspect of their school work. In this way, you will also build up trust with them and therefore create a bond so that they will feel safe enough to report any bullying.
Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of bullying interventions. No matter how much planning and effort goes into creating a bully-free environment, it is important to regularly assess whether or not the program is working as intended. Keep actual statistics as only records can show the effectiveness of each strategy by weekly analysis. A daily register in the staff room, or office or a sheet shared with teachers to edit daily can be methods. This is just as important as recording attendance as the two can coincide.
Develop a system for reporting and responding to bullying incidents. This allows school staff to proactively address bullying behaviour by providing students with the tools necessary to report it when they see it happening. These are also provided in the Bullying Elimination and Prevention kit.
Create a supportive environment that encourages students to speak up about bullying behaviour. This is especially important for those who have been victims of bullying and may be reluctant to report it themselves. The posters and guides provided in the Bullying Elimination and Prevention kit will help with this.
Review bullying policies, procedures and practices on a regular basis. It is important to review the program regularly to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of students, teachers and school staff.
Consider the use of school-wide surveys to monitor bullying behaviour and its impact. These surveys can be used to gather information about bullying from students, teachers, school staff and parents. You can easily create surveys to share with your students on Google Drive for free. If you are unsure about how to use Google Drive for all your school needs, ask about our Google Drive for teachers kit.
Use the information gathered in your school-wide survey to develop and modify your bullying prevention plan. This plan should include actions you and other stakeholders (staff, teachers, parents and students) will take to address bullying behaviour at your school.
Following these 10 steps will give you a great start to eliminating bullying from your school and community but it will always find ways to creep back in. Therefore it is imperative to keep monitoring and evaluating your plan every term.
We have 4 more steps on how to eliminate bullying and how you can involve your students to help you prevent it in the Bullying Elimination and Prevention kit. In this kit, you will also get guidance and resources to further help with each of these 10 steps above.
If you want to get serious about preventing bullying in your school, see our Bullying Prevention Master kit – 5 resources in 1 to cover all stakeholders and situations!
Never treat bullying lightly and if a student reaches out, even in a text at 1 am, do not dismiss it, you may save a life!
If YOU are being bullied or know someone that is, download our FREE eBook, Freedom from being Bullied.
We hope that this guide helps you and if it does, please share this page with others. Also please leave any comments below if you have something to share with others.