If You are in a School
Examples of What Schools Can Do
There is no magic formula for schools to prevent bullying, but there is a range of strategies that can be implemented. For example:
- Develop a program to encourage students to be upstanders vs. bystanders and support the upstanders
- Establish clear bullying policies, including cyberbullying – policies with clear serious consequences
- Create an anonymous tip line that students can use to report bullying.
- Train all staff in the realities of bullying and what they can do in their roles
- Be prepared to work with students and with families who are experiencing bullying
- Establish a conflict resolution team that can intervene in bullying situations as well as other conflict scenarios
- Educate students and families about bullying, its impact, how to be an upstander vs. a bystander and institute a No Bullying or Respect pledge that students can sign onto
- Make resources available for students and families that want more information and guidance
- Develop a program for helping bullies get their needs met in more productive ways with clear staff roles
- Assess the overall culture of the school to see how it can be improved to counter bullying
- Have people and processes in place to support students (in non-judgmental ways) who want to stop bullying. That’s not easy to do.
Stand Up to Bullying Pledge Today I have an obligation. No longer will I be silent if you need help. Silence is participation. I refuse to participate in the problem. We are all different, but we all deserve respect. If you need help, come to me. If I think you need help, I’m getting involved. I Got Your BackUnknown
Working with a School
Here is one example of how to work with a school. It is just one example.
- Let your child now that you’re going to involve the school. Ask if she’d like to be with you when you talk to the school, and what she wants you to say.
- Meet with your child’s teacher, school administrator, counselor, etc.
- Lay out your son’s or daughter’s experience with the facts as you know them and ask for the school’s perceptions. The more facts you have, the better as it will help the school understand and support possible school actions. You may need photos of injuries, screen shots of cyberbullying, etc.
- Be assertive, but not aggressive and listen. There may be a lot you are not aware of.
- Ask for a copy of the school’s policy on bullying, including cyberbullying and ask how the policy applies to your situation.
- Ask about the schools bullying prevention programs, which can range from a No Bullying pledge to programs to support upstanders
- Make sure that you end with common ground on a plan for how you and the school will act to end the bullying.
- Ensure that you know how your son’s or daughter’s experience will be tracked and establish a time for a follow-up meeting.
- Keep in mind that behavior change often takes time, but also track progress and make changes where necessary in the actions being taken.
Your daughter or son may not want you to contact the school and they need to be heard. There may be interim steps that can be taken before engaging the school. You may need to gather more information about the bullying experiences to have an actionable case. Your son or daughter may simply need to get used to the idea. However, as the parent, the final decision is yours. Just make sure that, if you go counter to your daughter’s or son’s wishes, you are acting to meet their needs, not yours.
School administrators can’t say it’s up to the parents. Parents can’t say it’s up to the teachers. Teachers can’t say it’s not their job. And kids can’t say, “I was too afraid to tell.” Every single one of us has to play our role if we’re serious about putting an end to the madness. We are all responsible. We must be.Megan Kelley
If You Need More Help than the School Can Provide
There may be times when the bullying is so dangerous or resistant that you need more than the school can provide. In those cases, act to:
- Seek legal advice
- Involve the police
- Apply to the courts for a restraining order against the bully
- Contact service providers to deal with cyberbullying
- Contact the education department or an ombudsman to make a complaint
- Focus on other organizations that work with teenagers – sports organizations, religious communities, and various youth groups.