Bullying Resources for Schools

Schoolwide Bullying Prevention

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has published a framework for school-wide bullying prevention (PDF). This evidence-based framework outlines priorities for schools wishing to tighten bullying prevention strategies. A bullying prevention and intervention plan adopted by the district might include specific behavior programs, forms used, philosophies of interactions, curriculum, or basic protocols. Effective anti-bullying programs or curricula implement a scope and sequence of knowledge and skills to be learned by all students and require school-wide involvement and support.

The following paper contains a list of practical ways to improve the school climate and ultimately reduce bullying involvement: Voight, A. & Nation, M. (2016) Practices for improving secondary school climate: a systematic review of the research literature. American Journal of Community Psychology, 58, 174-191, DOI: 101002/AJCP.12074

  • Activating and empowering the bystanders/witnesses through education about bullying and practice (role plays) in intervening is the most impactful intervention.
  • Group training for bystanders includes emphasizing that there is strength in numbers and that permission is given with the expectation of intervening respectfully and safely or reporting the bullying behaviors.
  • Determining specific bystander interventions depends on analyzing the level of risk of a particular bullying situation.
  • Victims of bullying must be supported by a third party and have their reports taken seriously.
  • Victim support systems typically teach prosocial skills, problem-solving, assertiveness, and emotional regulation skills.
  • Interventions for victims may be done one-on-one or in a support group.
  • Victims should not be re-victimized by bringing the target and offender together to resolve the situation.
  • School discipline policies, while needed to address student conduct issues and support positive student behaviors, are not sufficient to address bullying behaviors.
  • Bullying behavior interventions may include teaching social skills such as friendship, empathy, and anger management in one-on-one, not group settings.
  • Discipline should be addressed in private.
  • There are common intervention strategies that are not effective for responding to bullying involvement. Most notably, zero-tolerance policies that involve expelling a student upon involvement in bullying are ineffective and often increase other forms of school conflict.

Components of Quality Bully Prevention Programs

The process of reducing bullying behaviors will vary based on the school’s community, the developmental level of the student population, and multiple other factors. Promoting, communicating, and teaching the expected prosocial behaviors effectively reduce bullying problems in the school. Emphasizing these prosocial behaviors will empower bystanders to take action and create a safe space for other students. Additionally, schools should communicate policies and protocols for bullying behaviors to all staff, students, and parents. These policies should include an easy-to-use reporting system for students.

  • Focus on the entire school environment. A comprehensive school-wide effort to identify and address problem areas and effectively intervene in bullying behaviors and change in student and staff “norms.”
  • 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 data analysis.
  • Support provided for anti-bullying prevention. District support for prevention plan includes school administrators and most teachers, para educators, and support staff (clerical, custodial, food service, transportation)
  • School bullying prevention coordinating/leadership group. Ongoing planning and review of plan implementation conducted by a leadership team with representation of administrator, counselor, parent, community, teachers (grade level representation), support staff, and other health professionals, student representation if appropriate.
  • All-staff Training. Awareness and skills training in bullying prevention and intervention includes administrators, all teachers, health professionals, support staff, paraeducators, volunteers, substitute and student teachers, etc.
  • Bullying policy is developed and enforced. Rules guide student behaviors – including children who bully and who are bystanders; consequences and skills training are consistently used to address bullying behaviors.
  • Increase adult supervision in bullying “hot spots.” All adults recognize bullying behaviors and acknowledge caring behaviors; supervision is increased in areas with high bullying incidents.
  • Interventions are consistent and appropriate. All adults are prepared to intervene whenever bullying behavior is observed; a plan is in place to follow up with bullies, targets, and bystanders; students are empowered to report bullying and know how to respond when a peer is bullied; adults know how to respond to reports of bullying.
  • Direct and intentional instruction on bullying prevention. Regular (weekly) time is set aside for students and staff to discuss bullying prevention and peer relations; resources (videos, literature, skills lessons, etc.) are available and used to develop awareness and competence in responding to bullying; bullying prevention information is integrated across the curriculum and shared with parents.
  • Prevention efforts are continued over time. New staff are trained; ongoing curriculum/ instruction is provided across grade levels; regular communication with parents/community is provided; data is collected and reviewed annually.

Adapted from Limber, Susan, P. Ph.D. (2005) “Bully Prevention and Intervention in a Post-Columbine Era” Power and Empowerment Iowa Governor’s Conference on Bullying and Harassment, January 2005

Resources

Below are resources where schools can find evidence-based programs and interventions. These resources also provide further information on bullying and tips on preventing it.

 

References

Training for Schools

The following are free or low-cost bullying-specific resources and training for schools. Schools may designate a person or team to receive training to lead efforts against bullying behavior in schools.

WITS is a program developed in Canada that teaches conflict resolution strategies. Training is free and includes manuals and lesson plans.

CBITS is a free training program that explains how to implement a school-wide intervention in schools to help students who have experienced trauma. The online training is free and is divided into two training sessions. After registration, participants can access videotaped training and advice from intervention developers and experienced CBITS providers. Downloadable materials and resources are available free of charge. Participants have access to an online community where they can participate in peer-to-peer discussion boards, document sharing, and ask an expert.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS)

National PTA of School Excellence: https://www.pta.org/home/programs. Provides free resources to help schools increase their school climate. Programs include School of Excellence, Reflection Art Program, STEM Families, Family Reading Experience, PTA Connected, and Healthy Lifestyles.

Updated May 20, 2024 4:06pm