How To Start Your Own Bullying Prevention System
By Sarah Fader
Updated December 17, 2018
Reviewer Deborah Horton
As violence continues to escalate in our schools, so too does our need for an effective anti-bullying system that creates a safe, peaceful school environment. However, creating such a system can be difficult for educators and students who are interested in eliminating bullying at their school. If you are an educator, parent, or student who is interested in creating your bullying prevention system, here are some tips that will get you started.
- Figure Out What It Is That Your Community Needs
Not every program blueprint is best suited for every school. For example, let's imagine that you are basing your bullying prevention system on another school's program that is targeting physical violence. While this is one area that you do need to target to eliminate bullying, this may not be the main type of bullying that your school needs to eradicate. Maybe your school has an issue with verbal bullying. Maybe your school is dealing with an increase in sexual bullying.
Whatever it is that your school is having an issue with, create a program that targets that problem rather than trying to model your program off of another school's system.
- Start Garnering Interest Before You Launch Your Program
An anti-bullying program is only as good as the support behind it. If you put all the work into crafting a program but you don't advertise it well, or you don't have people onboard beforehand, the program is going to fail, and you will have to start at square one. When you first start conducting research and creating your program, make sure to tell other parents, teachers, and students. They will have plenty of feedback and support to give you so that you can have a successful launch when your program is finally ready.
- Focus On All Of The Aspects Of Bullying
Bullying doesn't just happen. Some reasons lead to bullying, and there are plenty of consequences that take place after bullying occurs. If you choose to focus on the bullying itself, you are still missing the key issues that cause the behavior and harm students well after they've been victimized. To make sure that you create a successful anti-bullying program, you need to target all of the problems that create a bully, all of the behaviors that will not be tolerated at your school, and all of the mental health issues that stem from bullying trauma. A comprehensive system will shut down bullying much better than a simple one will.
- Create Safe Methods For Kids To Report Bullying
Sometimes, the consequences of telling on a bully may be enough to prevent them from saying anything at all. This problem can harm your bullying prevention system by making it harder to detect bullies. To avoid this, create ways that your kids can feel safer reporting bullying. Perhaps you can create a box in which kids can write down their bullying issues and place them in. Maybe you can create an online system where kids can report bullying incidences anonymously. Whatever your idea is, make sure that it keeps your students safe and that it encourages speaking out against bullying.
- Build An Anti-Bullying Curriculum
Your program must have some course or lesson plan to thrive. These lessons should teach students about the different types of bullying, why bullies choose to harm others, and how they can stand up when they see someone being bullied or when they are being bullied themselves. They can then use this knowledge to help further your program and make their school a better place. When you place the power in your student's hands, there is no telling what they could accomplish.
- Train Your Staff As Well
If an issue should occur in your program, it may be an error with your staff, not your students. Your staff needs to be trained as much as your students do to eliminate bullying from your school successfully. What should your program teach your staff? Some essential skills that you may need to teach your staff are handling bullying reports and delivering consequences to those who have been bullying others. If your staff isn't trained well and they don't support the students, the students will not feel safe, and your program will not be effective.
- Set Your Sights Beyond The School Community
A successful anti-bullying program is one that extends far beyond the school's community. When you are forming your program, you want to make sure that you have one that is receiving support from local organizations, national organizations, and even social media. When you have a program this large, it becomes easier to make it successful, and it is also easier to gain the attention of your students since the program will receive attention on popular platforms and television shows. That being said, your program does not have to be large to be efficient, but you should always aim for the stars.
- Build Something That Will Last In The Long Run
Your goal for this program should not be short-term. When you are developing your anti-bullying program, your focus should be to create something that will last for years, and that will pave the way for a better attitude towards kindness and empathy in the future. Granted, these programs can be hard to maintain and may lose momentum over time. However, if you truly sit down, do your research, and give your all when you are creating your program, you should be able to make something that will continue to work down the road.
The biggest issue that you may come across when you are building this program is individuals who have experienced traumatic bullying events themselves. Those who truly want to make a difference understand what being bullied feels like, and issues from the past may resurface when they are working on this program. If you come across anyone like this, we recommend that you direct them to https://www.betterhelp.com/start/. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform dedicated to providing affordable and convenient counseling to those who need it most. By clicking this link, you will be directed to a page that will help you connect with the best counselor for you!