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PREVENTING BULLYING February 01 2014
Bullying has been gaining more and more attention as a serious problem in our schools. While some people want to write off the issue as “a part of the experience of growing up,” bullying has extremely detrimental implications for children. Just consider a few facts:
- Around 32% of students in public school systems report being bullied;
- Students who have been the victim of bullying are more likely to take weapons to school;
- Students who have been bullied are more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, and
- Students who have been bullied usually perform more poorly in academics.
(Bullying Prevention: 5 Tips for Teachers, Principals, and Parents, 2011)
Anyone who has a position of responsibility in a child’s life needs to understand exactly how serious a problem bullying is, and they must take active steps to prevent it. If you work around children as a teacher, principal, counselor, or in any role, you need to know what you can do to prevent bullying. Here are a few tips that you, personally, can use to help.
- Part of your job should be to actively teach children to respect themselves as well as their peers. Have “round table” sessions with the students and allow them to discuss bullying in detail. Additionally, consider showing clips from a popular TV show or movie in which bullying is a problem, and then lead the students in a discussion about it. If your school or organization does not allow showing clips from popular media, consider showing clips from the film Bully and using some of the resources available at www.thebullyproject.com.
- If you see bullying behavior, do not ignore it. Do not “let things work themselves out.” They never will, and the behavior will only worsen. Take the time to understand your institution’s rules on bullying and then implement them whenever you feel that bullying is taking place. Essentially, if you do not take action, you are conveying the message that bullying behavior is acceptable.
- The classroom can be a perfect setting to teach anti-bullying behaviors through activities that will be enjoyable and educational for the children. Try using activities and games that teach sharing, taking turns, and empathy. Allow children to discuss how it makes them feel when students are not willing to exhibit these positive behaviors. Remember to always be open, non-judgmental, and honest. If you create a safe-haven where children can speak openly, they will be more likely to come to you if they are being bullied or see bullying occurring.
- You need to openly discuss with children what they should do if they are being bullied. Examples of things to discuss include:
- Get an adult to intervene as soon as possible;
- Speak to the bully and request that they stop, and
- Ignore the bully or just walk away from them.
Bullying has become a massive problem in schools today and among children of all ages. It can have lifelong effects as well. As someone who works around children, it is your duty to impart strong non-bullying traits to help address this problem in your own setting.
Bullying Prevention: 5 Tips for Teachers, Principals, and Parents. (2011, October 5). Retrieved January 6, 2014, from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/bullying-prevention-tips-teachers-parents-anne-obrien