Why Do we need Stop Bullying Posters?
Anti-bullying initiatives have taken center stage in schools around the US. Recently, two key targets have emerged as primary focus issues in the campaign to stop bullying.
- Maximizing the benefits of stop bullying posters, and
- Promoting bystander tips and intervention activities.
National Education Association (NEA)
NEA’s anti-bullying campaign, “Bully Free: It Starts With Me,” has gained significant traction. Some prominent features of this initiative appear to generate effective results.
- The NEA Bullying Prevention Kit, using available research on preventing bullying the NEA emphasizes the key role school environments play in bullying prevention. The following features are included in this ‘kit’.
- How to become an advocate for students who have been bullied, including a pledge to be a caring adult to help student victims of bullying.
- Tips on how to successfully intervene during an active bullying incident, including information on an adults rights and responsibilities.
- Information on understanding what qualifies as bullying, including incidents you usually cannot witness, such as cyberbullying or sexting.
- The NEA pledge (which can be used on stop bullying posters): “I agree to be identified as a caring adult who pledges to help bullied students. I will listen carefully to all students who seek my help and act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to the bullying. I will work with other caring adults to create a safe learning environment for all the students in my school.”
Since bystanders witness bullying events in around 85 percent of school-related reported cases, the importance of intervention is not to be denied. Combined with the approximately 92 percent of elementary students witnessing bullying in their specific schools, educators conclude that bullying seldom happens without bystanders looking on.
Unfortunately, most bystanders take no action to help bullying victims. This ‘group phenomenon’ only contributes to the number of events, as bystanders give perpetrators the audience they want. But, why do students typically do nothing to intercede? The reasons for this inaction tell a troubling tale.
- Bystanders may not recognize the event as bullying.
- They are afraid to ‘getting caught’ intervening, becoming additional victims.
- Students think adults will not help; if an adult tries, students often believe that adults can make a bad situation worse.
- They face peer group ‘pressure’ to witness, but not act.
- Bystanders think that reporting bullying to adults is equal to tattling or ratting on a fellow student.
- Witnesses simply don’t know what to do when observing bullying events.
As effective as stop bullying pictures and text can be when displayed on posters, by themselves they simply cannot give the help young bystanders need to effectively intervene during an event. To support posted material, a bystander intervention program is necessary to give students usable tools, including the following components for educators and parents.
- Design a school and home environment emphasizing a caring approach to all.
- Help children recognize bullying in all its diverse forms and incarnations.
- Teach students to exhibit empathy for victims instead of believing it is the victim’s ‘fault’ they are bullied.
- Educate children on the best way to report bullying to caring adults, without the common guilt feelings of tattling on another.
- Designing a ‘peer warning system,’ helping children recognize the telltale signs of an impending bullying event.
- Give bystanders the power and encouragement to intercede when witnessing such an event.
- Teach some basic ‘conflict resolution’ skills, in age-appropriate language, to children.
- Create an atmosphere of children and adults working together to end bullying, such as the ACT Program from the American Psychological Association, which also offers additional ways to end bullying.
In conjunction with effective anti-bullying posters, designing a safe, but efficient, bystander intervention program, protecting victims and witnesses alike, can achieve the lofty goal of stopping bullying at the youngest levels. Properly designed and installed, these programs help identify bullying events, while empowering and encouraging bystanders to take action, not be mere spectators.
The visual message delivered by stop bullying posters, although more ‘passive’ than physical bystander intervention actions, is effective in changing attitudes and offers young people some tools to combat bullying. Posting stop bullying pictures and related text supports, even if only subconsciously, the responsibility of potential victims or witnesses to act when experiencing a bully-victim event.
- “Stop-a-Bully” Pledge Program poster, including pledge cards, which are also available from Principals Essentials.
- The “Stop-a-Bully” Pledge (“I pledge to stand up & speak out against bullying. I recognize the inner worth & value of everyone. I show others kindness, respect & eliminate hurtful behavior. I recognize my ability to create change.”), also available from Principals Essentials.
- “Are You Being Bullied?” “Talk to me. I will listen. I will stand up for you. You are not alone!” Available as a free poster and pin from the NEA.
- Wide selection of stop bullying pictures and posters. Available from Childrendonate2.org, including posters specifically mentioning cyber bullying.
- Three free posters with stop bullying messages for children. This series is offered free by Edu Designs, “media for the heart and mind of children.” The three posters focus on different aspects of bullying, as evidenced by their titles.
- “What are bullies?”
- “What can YOU do about a bully?”
- “Do YOU ever bully?”
- Create your own poster at Bullying UK. Use your wonderful idea(s) to design your own anti-bullying posters online at this site.
- 6 effective posters about bullying. These hard-hitting posters are shared by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning for use at home or in schools.
These are but some suggested sources of outstanding posters available for school or home use by teachers and parents to increase awareness of and calls to action to stop bullying, wherever it occurs.
The federal government is also involved in helping educate children and parents how to stop the bullying that seems to be running rampant at schools of all levels. Along with encouragement for children and parents to create original posters, the government offers tips for parents to instill an attitude of anti-bullying in children. The federal government recommends the following actions and tips.
- Treat everyone respectfully, including talking to an adult (parent) you trust;
- What should you do when you’re bullied; if speaking up is too hard or unsafe, just walk away—and stay away—from the bully;
- Protect yourself from all bullying, including cyber bullying; be careful with your social media posts, while also keeping your password a secret from everyone else;
- Stand up for victims and others; be kind to victims, including them in daily activities and discussions, and
- Parents should get involved in stopping bullying by learning more, talking to the principal of your child’s school or writing blogs (or tweets) about eliminating bullying in all forms.
Buying or designing original posters reinforces parent and teacher commitment to stopping bullying. These constant reminders to bullies and victims are more effective when combined with child and parental action.
Those who “walk the walk” are much more effective than children or adults who “talk the talk,” but do little when faced with kids (or adults) being bullied. To use posters to help stop bullying, children, parents and teachers must go beyond the “do as I say, not as I do” approach. Actions not only ‘speak louder than words,’ they are necessary to stop bullies and avoid long-term damage to victims.
Consider using pre-printed posters or designing original posters, using children’s ideas if possible, to create the awareness and emphasize the importance of eliminating bullying in schools. Parents can also use posters at home to show their commitment to stopping bullies, after discussing the problem with their children.
This commitment is required if educators and parents want to be successful in ending the bullying environment affecting children of all ages. For older children, parents and teachers must address the dangerous bullying that tend to be unseen, such as cyberbullying and sexting.
Use the enclosed suggestions and references to progress to the global goal of eliminating bullying in schools. These poster and action references should also foster stopping bullying and harassment of adults in the workplace. Doing something is the key to effective results. Doing nothing will only fuel an increase in bullying, as it appears the bullies are accepted.
Get involved and take action. Use posters to reinforce the unacceptability of bullying activities. They can help. Posters, followed by action and/or intervention will eventually change the attitudes of both the bullies and their victims.