7 Steps to a Successful Anti-Bullying Program

Across PA, NJ, NY, and the rest of the United States parents, teachers and students are experiencing success in their quest to end bullying in their schools. While there are a variety of approaches, there are common elements to programs that are successful:1: Schools make anti-bullying a specific yearlong focus. It begins with a plan, a kickoff and continues throughout the school year. One shot approaches are not effective.2: Schools understand that bullying is aggression and that aggression is a learned behavior. Bullies are children who have been mis-socialized to believe that it is acceptable to harm another child with their words and actions. Successful anti-bully programs provide positve social learning as the cornerstone of their program.3: Schools implement proven strategies to deal with aggression and do not try to reinvent the wheel. The United States Surgeon General has concluded that teaching children positive pro-social skills is one of the most effective primary prevention strategies to reduce aggressive behaviors in school age children. https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolence/chapter5/sec3.html4: Other approaches such as peer mediation should not be utilized when dealing with bullies and can even be counterproductive.5: The anti-bullying program needs to be distinct from other school efforts such as increasing academic achievement or school morale. Anti-bullying rewards or disincentives should be specific to positive interpersonal skills and behavior.6: Parents are involved at every step. Whether assisting in the planning of the anti-bullying initiative, being present at school events or simply being kept aware of what the school is doing is extremely important. Parents and family are the single most important influence in a child’s life and their support is critical.7: Results are monitored and measured. Parents, teachers and students need to know that their approach is working. Results need to be analyzed monthly and posted for all to see. Good results need to be highlighted and celebrated!Students are encouraged to report any and all incidents of bullying behavior. Reported incidents of aggression are taken seriously by school personnel, investigated and handled according to school policy.



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