Schools need to assess the issue of bullying and harassment in the school environment; admit that it exists and make a commitment to providing a safe environment for students. Below are some tips to help make your school safer.
- Have clear, consistent and fair behavioural norms. Children who bully require real consequences to help them understand bullying is unacceptable as well as help them develop empathy for the person being victimized. This can be done by having the child write a letter of apology or watch a movie on the impact of bullying. Another way to deal with this is encourage youth who bully to become positive leaders in their schools by becoming buddies and helping younger children. This allows youth to use their power in a positive manner.
- Address the issue of children and youth who are bystanders. Children need to be encouraged to do something when they know bullying is going on. They can be taught to take a stand and intervene when it is safe to do so. Teachers can do this by having children practice through role play and teaching assertive behaviours. If children are not comfortable standing up themselves they should be encouraged to tell an adult they trust.
- Include a way for children and youth who witness bullying to anonymously report these incidents. This can be done through an anonymous drop box where children can report bullying.
- Provide staff training that includes specific information on supporting sexual minority youth, disabled or ethnically diverse youth.
- Provide training to parents and caregivers on bullying and harassment. It is an adultís responsibility to help children build healthy relationships and to protect children who are victimized by bullying.
- Help adults intervene effectively with incidents of bullying and harassment by designing clear policies and guidelines outlining how to intervene.
- Talk about issues of bullying and harassment in classes, seminars, assemblies, and provide easily accessible, age-appropriate information.
- The RespectED Beyond the Hurt program offers educational workshops on bullying and harassment prevention for parents, teachers and students. We can work with your school in developing policies and procedures and creating safe environments for staff and students. Contact the Canadian Red Cross office nearest you, or email email@example.com for more information.
(GLSEN, 2003, AAUW Educational Foundation, 2001; B.C. Safe Schools Task Force, 2004, Juvonen, Gaham, and Schuster, 2003)
Tips for schools to address cyberbullying
Bullying no longer exists in just playgrounds and school corridors. It is rampant in the online life of students of all ages. Here are some starting points to address cyberbullying in your school.
- Review and update existing policies and procedures to include cyberbullying. The schoolís bullying policy should include cyberbullying both on and off school property. The schoolís computer policy should specifically prohibit using the Internet for bullying.
- Conduct training for teachers on cyberbullying.
- Provide parent education on cyberbullying.
- Provide student education on cyberbullying.
- Implement an effective anti-bullying program in schools.
- Evaluate the anti-bullying program to ensure that it is effective.
(Nancy Willard, 2004)
For more information on the Canadian Red Cross Beyond the Hurt bullying prevention program for youth and adults, contact the Canadian Red Cross office nearest you, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What should our school policy on bullying look like?
Policies on bullying can provide a roadmap for schools and each individual involved. Good polices not only provide this framework, but also promote continuity and ensure that matters are dealt with in a consistent, fair manner; in a way that everyone knows what is expected of him or her. Having clear policies on bullying shows that the school is acting in a safe and legally responsible manner.
The RespectED Beyond the Hurt program offers educational workshops on bullying and harassment prevention for parents, teachers and students. We can work with your school in developing policies and procedures and creating safe environments for staff and students. Contact the Canadian Red Cross office nearest you, or email email@example.com for more information.
There are five key elements of effective policies:
- Purpose, scope and application of the policy
This should cover the schoolís values about bullying and harassment, and state exactly who and what situations are covered by the policy.
- Standard of behaviour
This defines what behaviours are expected and what behaviours are unacceptable. Clear definitions of bullying and harassment need to be included.
- Procedures for receiving and reviewing complaints
These procedures must satisfy the legal requirements of procedural fairness; describe how the school will respond to a complaint; show how the information will be gathered; define how the behaviour will be reviewed and how a decision about the behaviour will be made.
- Disciplinary sanctions
This guideline should offer a range of sanctions and help the school apply those that are appropriate and fair for the situation at hand.
- Appeal mechanism
This includes the recourse an individual may take if he or she is dissatisfied with the outcome. This section should also include reference to mediation routes.
(Findlay and Corbett, 2001)
Posted November 7, 2007