So what are School Anti Bullying Programs? Learn about them now!
Bullying has reached epidemic proportions in our society today. It is especially evident within our schools. In today’s schools children and teens experience bullying at all levels. From simple teasing and name calling to physical threats and assaults, bullying can wreak havoc in a young child or teen’s life, leaving behind mental and emotional scars that can adversely affect their future. You need to learn about School Anti Bullying Programs Now!
Contrary to what some people believe, bullying is not simply a “passing phase” in a child or teen’s life. There is nothing “natural” or “normal” about a child or teen harassing or causing physical harm to his peers. Bullying is a conscious abusive and dangerous act with serious repercussions on both the bully and his or her victims. When bullying is given any place in our schools, everyone loses.
The effects of bullying vary from person to person; however, it is not uncommon for victims to experience mental and emotional anguish, physical abuse and loss of interest in continuing their studies. Bullies often resort to abusive behavior to compensate for difficult personal or family issues at home. They also suffer from poor friendships and a poor academic standing. Without help and direction, bullies run the risk of dropping out of school altogether and getting involved in drugs or crime.
Bullying also has an adverse effect on school administrators, teachers and staff in their efforts to provide a quality education to their students. It can dampen a teacher’s enthusiasm and zeal for teaching and lower his or her moral. Bullying can easily stifle students’ learning experiences and hinder them from making the academic progress they need to establish a good career. As can be seen, the detrimental effects of bullying extend far and wide with negative consequences all the way around.
School Anti Bullying Programs
Many U.S. states have passed anti-bullying laws requiring schools to take a stance against bullying. The laws encourage schools to institute anti-bullying policies to combat harassment and abusive behavior. Schools have a legal obligation to their students to provide protection from verbal or physical harassment due to their race, religion, ethnic background, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Even President Obama took a stance against bullying by stating that “We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. Every single young person deserves the opportunity to learn and grow and achieve their potential, without have to worry about the constant threat of harassment.”
This “duty of care” obligation falls on school administrators, teachers and staff, prompting them to take measures to create a safer learning environment for their students. By establishing anti-bully policies and campaigns, schools are taking up the challenge of eradicating this abusive behavior from their campus. School administrators and educators are inviting parents to join in their efforts to take a united stance against bullying on school property.
If today’s youth are to benefit from a high academic standard, they’ll need an environment that is free from violence, worries and fears. A united front by school administrators, educators and parents can put a stop to this negative trend and reverse its adverse effects. Parents should learn more about the specific policies of the schools their children attend so they can provide schools with the extra support they need to see these policies are enforced.
What Can Parents Expect from Schools in Regards to School Anti Bullying Programs ?
Bullying happens to some degree in just about every school across the country. Some schools have a greater problem with bullying than others. This problem may be more manifest in large urban schools with a greater diversity of students than in small rural institutions. Regardless of the extent of bullying in a school setting, parents have a right to expect schools to have measures in place to counter this problem as it arises. The more proactive a school is in dealing with bullying, the greater chance of nipping the problem in the bud before it escalates to massive proportions.
Bullying is not something that should be ignored nor swept under the rug. Parents need to know that educators will take their school anti bullying responsibility seriously by reacting quickly and decisively to bullying, in conjunction with the policies they have made. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a federal agency responsible for improving public health, has outlined the following guidelines to help schools follow up on bullying incidents that have been reported:
· School officials should investigate the incident immediately and inform the victim’s parents on the action they intend to take to rectify the problem
· A member of the school’s staff or teacher should meet with the victim to get a firsthand account of the bullying experience. The school should then develop a means of protecting the victim from future incidents while the investigation is in progress.
· School officials should meet with suspected bullies to confirm the account and administer appropriate consequences in accordance with school policies. The bully’s parents should be notified for follow-up on their child’s behavior.
· It’s helpful for school counselors to talk to both the victim and the bully to help sort out any misunderstandings that may have caused the incident or provide counseling on unresolved issues to prevent the incident from happening again. Bullies are often troubled youth that need professional help and guidance. Bullying incidents present counselors with opportunities to become involved in these young people’s lives and provide assistance to turn their lives around.
· Educators should pursue bullying incidents carefully to ensure they hear all sides of the story, including eyewitness accounts if there are any. By collecting all the facts, school officials can make a more honest and constructive assessment of the situation at hand. Such an investigation may take a few days or as long as a week, after which time appropriate action needs to be taken.
· Schools should be supportive of victims of bullying, encouraging them to speak up about incidents that arise. Educators and staff should make themselves available and approachable so students feel they have someone to turn to in time of need.
· In the event bullying continues after it has been reported to teachers and staff, students and parents can go directly to the school principal or administrator with their complaints. Another recourse would be for parents to write to the superintendent of schools directly for help. Parents and students have a right to see that bullying incidents are investigated and rectified to ensure the protection of their children. In some schools, this may require a great deal of persistence on a parent’s or student’s part, but it could be the catalyst needed to get the ball rolling and instigate change.
School Anti Bullying Programs
There are many measures schools can put into effect to help prevent bullying in their institutions. Anti-bullying policies establish rules and regulations that deal specifically with bullying cases in an effort to discourage abusive behavior. The consequences for breaking these rules may range from loss of privileges to temporary suspension, attendance in moral education classes, professional counseling or long term or permanent expulsion, depending on the circumstances and severity of the bullying case.
Another means of combating bullying is for schools to form school safety committees. These small groups of people may be composed of teachers, parents, students, school counselors, nurses, bus drivers, librarians, etc. who have an interest in student safety and establishing a secure school environment. Committee members can contribute to the prevention of bullying in many positive ways. Some members may help by planning school anti bullying programs or helping to enforce anti-bullying policies that have been made. Others may be more effective in educating community members about bullying and obtaining greater support for future anti-bullying initiatives. Still others may provide moral support to bullying victims or professional counseling for bullies to help resolve issues that may be contributing to their errant ways.
Solving the problem of bullying in our schools takes a teamwork effort. By getting the support and cooperation of professionals from all levels of society, schools benefit from a diversity of abilities and skills in coming up with positive solutions to the problem. Teamworking spreads the responsibility of maintaining a safe and secure school environment over many shoulders rather than having one faction carry the burden on their own.
Finding Long Lasting Solutions to Bullying with School Anti Bullying Programs
One of the greatest challenges that schools face today is finding long lasting solutions to bullying and reestablishing safe and inspiring learning environments. When it comes to consequences for bullies, different schools have different approaches in handling the offenses at hand. Some schools believe in suspending or expelling the guilty parties as a means of avoiding repeat acts. However, in many cases, this action only provides temporary relief of the problem on a short term basis as new bullies arise to take their place.
Many schools are recognizing the need to create anti bullying programs that produce more long term results. Programs that focus on “rehabilitating” bullies may be much more productive as it gives students the opportunity to change their ways. Students who become bullies often lack pro-social role models to provide a positive influence in their lives. They may have unresolved personal or family issues that motivate them to react the way they do.
Bullying prevention campaigns that focus on changing adverse behavior patterns can alter a child or teen’s life, empowering him to rise above adverse circumstances and lead a more productive life. Some examples of these programs include:
· Positive Behavior Support Initiatives
· Character development and education programs
· Social-emotional development programs
· School wide initiatives that support positive behavior
· Early intervention programs and strategies to prevent the formation of negative mindsets and attitudes
The National Education Association (NEA), a massive labor union that represents the interests of public schools, is dedicated to combating bullying in our educational institutions. One of its main goals is to put an end to school bullying and restore the quality of our educational environments. Bullying has done much over the years to disrupt and destroy the quality of our children’s education by attacking the security of the learning environment. Through public awareness programs concerning bullying in schools, the NEA has not only exposed this problem for what it is, but has provided educators, parents and local communities with valuable counsel and guidance on how to effectively combat the problem in their individual settings.
The NEA has been working on various fronts to educate schools and parents about bullying. These fronts include:
· How to identify bullying tactics and techniques
· How to successfully intervene in bullying incidents
· How to support victims of bullying
According to the NEA, educators and parents play a key role in the fight against bullying and the protection of students’ rights. By following these steps, teachers and parents can make a marked difference in reducing this abusive behavior within their schools.
Eight Proactive Steps to Countering Bullying in Schools with School Anti Bullying Programs
1. Pay attention to warning signs of bullying problems to include mysterious injuries, change of behavior, loss of property, lack of interest in academics or social events, etc. It’s important to communicate with students daily to give them the opportunity to expose bullying problems as they arise.
2. Never ignore reports of bullying, even if the instances seem small. All cases of bullying should be taken seriously and investigated as such.
3. Intervene quickly when questionable behavior that could be construed as bullying occurs, making sure students are safe from harm. Stay calm and respectful at all times, but use your authority as an adult within a supervisory capacity to put an end to the harassment on the spot. You can then proceed to take care of the situation in accordance with your school’s anti-bullying policy.
4. Work with students on an individual basis, away from bystanders and crowds. Talk to the students involved in the incident separately to get all viewpoints and establish a clearer picture of what occurred. Be sure to speak with bystanders who witnessed the event as well as they may have valuable input to give.
5. Investigate your facts thoroughly and clearly before proceeding with any consequences. Emphasize the seriousness of bullying to those involved and explain possible repercussions as per the policy of your school. Make sure students understand bullying will not be tolerated and incidents will be handled fairly, but decisively to protect students from bullying acts. .
6. Talk with bystanders about their accountability in bullying incidents. Bystanders sometimes intensify bullying incidents simply by watching, even though many participate in egging bullies on. Students should be taught to uphold the school’s anti-bullying standards by reporting incidents in the process so teachers and staff can intervene. They should also be encouraged to report on those who are guilty of such abusive behavior.
7. Receive training on how to address bullying situations by researching anti-bullying sites, joining anti bullying programs, etc. The more knowledgeable you are in handling harassment and abusive behavior, the more help you can be to victims and bullies alike. Any adult who works with students can benefit from what anti-bullying training programs have to offer.
8. Last, but not least, make an effort to see students get professional help in bullying situations. Victims may need professional counseling to alleviate any fears, anxieties or stress in relation to their bullying experience. Bullies may require professional help to change negative attitudes and mindsets that propagate this behavior. Schools that provide this assistance offer both bullies and victims the opportunity to overcome their negative experiences and move on to more productive lives.
Schools, parents and community leaders all bear responsibility towards making our schools the safe havens they were meant to be. It is in working together that positive social changes in our educational system will occur, resolving negative issues such as bullying and making them a thing of the past.