Finding the right anti-bullying or anti-violence program for your school

Today, I was on LinkedIn and I responded to a post from Timothy Raymond’s blog on bullying. His blog discussed the issues with bullying and how the lack of support from adults negatively impacts the effectiveness of any program. He is absolutely right. As adults, we need to support these programs and teach students about empathy, kindness, and help them develop stronger social skills. Here is Timothy’s blog: http://timothyraymond.blogspot.com. Below are my thoughts about anti-bullying and anti-violence programs.

With all the different programs and initiatives out there it can be overwhelming to find what would be the right fit for any school. Moreover, bullying is a bigger problem than within a school and this issue should be addressed at a larger level. Sadly, the responsibility falls back on the school to make a difference. As I have mentioned before, I have done extensive research on bullying and effective programs, I find that most programs can be effective but it is about how they are implemented and also finding the right program for your school.

Here are a few things to think about before hiring an outside company, consultant, or public speaker to come into your school and run a program:

  1. Identify the culture of the school: what is the school mission, vision, and values?
  2. What program would benefit the school?
  3. What type of bullying is occurring?
  4. What age are students starting to bully each other?
  5. How well are teachers and staff going to react to implement change within their school?
  6. What type of leadership is managing your school?
  7. How much involvement do parents have in the school?
  8. What do you want to see after the program, assembly, or workshop is implemented?

The first step is to find out what is happening in your school. How is bullying being addressed? How is conflict being addressed? Is there a zero tolerance policy set in place and is it being implemented or overlooked?

The second step is creating awareness. Learning about how students bully each other is as important as how we address it. Learning about relational aggression, cyber bullying, and bullying helps teachers and parents better understand the basics. There is a difference between conflict, teasing, bullying, and aggression. Learning the terminology and how these components are intertwined gives a clear vision of how to address these issues.

The third step is creating buy-in and a strong support system. You want teachers, staff, parents, and your community to want to make a difference. If they don't see the problem then change will be difficult to implement. Teachers and parents need training too. As adults, we miss half the stuff that goes on and we need to learn how to identify bullying and tackle this type of aggression.

The final step is addressing the students. What program would benefit the students? You want a program that addresses bullying, aggression, and increases empathy and self-esteem. The goals are to have students: 1) want to help each other out 2) build confidence to stand up for themselves, 3) learn the different types of strategies to stop the bullies.

This does not happen overnight but having a program that has consistency, repetition, and structure can help create change. Those are some of my thoughts for this week. Please share your ideas or feedback. I would love to hear from you.

Until Next Time…

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