Bullying Resources for Schools
The following information will be framed through an MTSS model in how schools can address bullying behavior through a tiered approach.
Tier 1: Bullying Policy
It is important to have a comprehensive and clear school board bullying policy. When creating or reviewing the policy, it is important to engage teachers, students, and parents to ensure the policy is practical and relevant to your school community. The U.S. Department of Education has identified 11 key components to included in a bullying policy. It is important to create your own policy and not simply copy and paste as statements may not be relevant or practical to the resources in your school community.
- Protected Groups
- District Policy Requirements
- Reporting and Investigations
- Communication of Policy
- Safeguards and Supports
- Review and Updates of Local Policies
- Preventive Education
- Staff Training
- Parent Engagement
Contact the NDE School Safety team for a copy of a sample bullying policy developed from policies in Nebraska. This policy is an example that follows the U.S. DOE’s recommendations and utilizes language from policies across all Nebraska school districts.
School-Wide Prevention and Intervention
The most effective anti-bullying plan is designed and implemented with specific knowledge and skills consistently trained and used throughout the school district. This plan declares a school’s commitment to creating a safe, caring and respectful learning environment for all students.
Prevention is best addressed by communicating and teaching the expected pro-social behaviors
Clearly communicate policy and protocols for bullying behaviors to all staff, students and parents
Empower bystanders to promote and take responsibility for creating a safe and welcoming environment
Provide fair and consistent discipline to perpetrators and teach necessary skills
Provide a means for safely reporting bullying behaviors
Adopt a social skills and social emotional learning curriculum
Work to foster positive student, teacher, and parent relationships
Ensure school facilities are clean and convey a welcoming message and safety
Build trust with students by following through, being consistent, and being fair in policy implementation
Improving School Environment Resources
School Climate: https://schoolclimate.org/
Family Engagement: https://www.wested.org/service/family-engagement-academic-parent-teacher-teams/
Bullying Program Development
An effective anti-bullying program addresses the unique needs of a particular school, involves a school-wide approach which engages all affected groups (students, staff, parents and community), develops social and emotional competencies, provides skills to prevent or intervene in bullying situations and responds to bullying behaviors consistently and appropriately.
Consideration may be given to the following ideas in determining the most effective program or plan.
Collect, organize and interpret bullying behaviors data over time
Student, parent, and teacher engagement
Determine district needs and goals related to a safe and secure learning environment
Identify effective programs, curriculum and/or strategies to develop pro-social behaviors and address bullying behaviors
The education plan for students develops sequentially through all grade levels and provides helpful resources and skills for students who are bystanders, targets of bullying behaviors and perpetrators of bullying
Components of Quality Bullying Prevention Programs
Focus on the entire school environment. Comprehensive school-wide effort to create a sense of belonging, autonomy, and competence.
Programs are skill based, flexible and practical to your district needs.
Staff, students, and school community are regularly trained and involved in development
Data informed decisions. Students, staff and parents participate in surveys or other methods of collecting experiences and perceptions of school climate and behaviors, program components and implementation are determined or modified after analysis of data.
District support for prevention plan
School bullying prevention coordinating / leadership group with representation of administrator, counselor, parent, community, teachers (grade level representation), support staff, and other health professionals; student representation as appropriate.
Bullying policy is developed and enforced consistently and fairly.
Interventions are consistent, developmentally appropriate, culturally humble, and address the culture of your community.
Bullying prevention and social emotional learning is direct, consistent, and integrated across the curriculum.
Prevention efforts are continued over time; data is collected and reviewed annually.
Interventions are practical and feasible for your community
Bullying Intervention Programs can be found here:
Training and instruction for bullying prevention and intervention of all administrators, certified staff, support staff and ancillary groups should include developing awareness, skill-building, and monitoring progress to effectively prevent and/or intervene in bullying behaviors and encourage pro-social behaviors.
Training and Programs in Nebraska:
Staff Development Plan
Introductory staff development provides awareness of bullying and can be conducted through direct presentations, meetings, role plays, video resources, literature, etc. and may include the following. The plan should be updated annually for all staff. Updates to the plan should be based on data-informed decisions based on specific school needs.
Explanation of the district’s goal, definition of bullying and anti-bullying policy
Vocabulary related to bullying
Clarification of the difference between bullying normal conflict, bullying, and harassment
Data from school to indicate effectiveness of program and to determine where updates are needed
Specialized training as needed (schools may designate a person(s) whose primary responsibility is working specifically with social skills training for those students who are involved in bullying
Clear expectations in responding to incidents of bullying
Support in developing classroom expectations and building relationships with students
Classroom Prevention Strategies
Bullying occurs across contexts. A good way to provide consistency is to provide training to teachers in creating prevention strategies at the classroom level. This can include developing clear expectations, training on teacher responses, improving teacher student relationships, and classroom engagement in social learning activities.
Social Skills Group/ Activities
At times, groups of students may not be responsive to Tier 3 supports. Sometimes bullying may be more prevalent in after school programs, sports, clubs, or activities. Guided by data from your school, additional attention and support may be provided. Social skills group that include your identified students/groups may be a possibility.
Secret Kindness Agents | https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/fall-2017/secret-agents-of-kindness
Character Counts | https://charactercounts.org/
Focus on transition periods (elementary to middle school, middle school to high school)
Bullying behavior tends to peak during life transitions (e.g., middle school, and high school). Guided by data in your school, supports may be provided such as engaging in a mentor program with older students, developing supports to guide students during their transition, or additional supports for students in your identified grades.
Behavioral Plan: Here is an example of a behavioral plan for individualized supports.
Mental Health supports: Some students may require mental health supports. Identify supports within your community and determine if individual counseling or therapy is appropriate for your student. The supports you implement vary depending on the needs of the student. You may consider engaging them more in school activities and leadership roles to help foster engagement, connectedness, and kindness (clubs, sports, community service).
Targeted Interventions are individualized and may include assessment, teaching skills, and collaborating with the student’s family.
Behavioral Health in Nebraska