This morning at our staff meeting, the district’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator trained us in the “Characteristics of Bullying.” The presentation covered the various aspects to bullies, victims and bystanders as well as helpful tips to maintain a bully free learning space. At the conclusion of the presentation, we discussed 6 tips for staff.
Here are the 5 suggestions to address the bullying situation:
1. Be sure that students know that you listened to them – Often times, parents and students will say that they told the teacher and nothing was done. Usually, that is not the case. Teachers deal with these concerns on a daily basis. Our suggestion, let the students know you will look into it, and that they might not see the outcomes, but if the issue comes up again, make sure to let them know.
2. Identify the balance of power – Do the students in question have the same power, or does one have more? Is this a case of bickering, or drama, or does someone always have the upper hand? This may be difficult to see or hear, so asking students about it or doing your own lesson in the classroom could help.
3. Avoid getting on the students level – Do not use sarcasm, instigate situations, or get involved in the student drama. Be the adult, don’t exasperate the situation. Sometimes easier said then done, but it is always important to be the adult in the situation.
4. Follow up, follow up, follow up – One way to make students “know” that you have listened to them, and that something was “done” take the time to ask them if things have improved. If they need to speak to guidance or the principal, be sure to refer them immediately.
5. Help the bully – If there is a student who doesn’t like to keep a balance of power with the other kids, take time to help them understand. You can’t bully the bully out of bullying because then you become the bully! Model the interactions you want them to use when dealing with other.
6. Empower the bystanders – Very rarely does bullying happen out of the watchful eye of students. Encourage the students, the witnesses, the bystanders to break the code (snitches get stitches). If they can’t tell an adult, then the bullying will get worse. There are lots of lessons, and learning opportunities to encourage the bystanders to speak up.
In addition, we read the No Bullying Pledge every morning on the announcements. Feel free to use it.
I will treat everyone with respect, I will try to solve problems in a peaceful way, I will not take part in any actions that purposely hurts another person, I will join with friends to stand up for kids who are being picked on.