Prevention & Intervention Strategies
Prevention and intervention strategies include school-wide programs and individual actions to stop bullying behaviors and encourage positive behaviors. All staff, students, parents and others associated with the school or community should share the responsibility for bullying prevention and intervention.
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. 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 curriculum implement a scope and sequence of knowledge and skills to be learned by all students and requires school-wide involvement and support. Students involved in bullying situations benefit from additional instruction specific to their role as one using bullying behaviors, as a target, or as a bystander/witness.
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
Discussion and presentations about bullying and caring behaviors are ongoing
Empower bystanders to promote and take responsibility for creating a safe and welcoming environment
Provide a means for safely reporting bullying behaviors
Staff are observant and responsive to reports of bullying
Students are recognized for caring behaviors
Adopt a social skills curriculum
Monitor and adjust local bullying prevention program based on analysis of local school data and best practices in the field of bullying prevention (change in supervision, use of resources, methods of communication, reporting procedures, etc.)
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 to intervene respectfully and safely or report the bullying behaviors. Determining specific bystander interventions depends on analyzing the level of risk of a particular bullying situation.
School/Classroom Strategies for Bystanders
Talk about it with the class
Emphasize strength in numbers
Explain the expectation to take action
Teach and practice skills and strategies to take a stand
Empower witnesses to take leadership roles in making the school safe for everyone
Acknowledge and reinforce caring behaviors
Clarify the difference between tattling and telling (reporting).
Individual Strategies for Bystanders
Make a safe choice; consider the level of risk in choosing an action for intervening.
Teach options for intervening:
Choose to not participate
Report to an adult
Encourage the peer group to take a stand
Take an individual stand
Be friendly toward the target
Targets need to be supported by a third party and have their reports taken seriously. Target interventions typically include teaching social skills such as friendship, assertiveness and anger management skills. Interventions for targets may be done one-on-one or in a support group. Targets should not be re-victimized by bringing the target and perpetrator together to try to resolve the situation.
School/Classroom Strategies for Targets
Provide a safe place to report; take all reports seriously
Assign new or needy students to a buddy
Assign a caring staff member to “connect” regularly with the students who are potential targets
Get a caring majority in the classroom; use class meetings/discussion to teach expected behaviors and model value of each person
Consider how students are grouped so that the targets are not left out and are not paired with someone who bullies them.
Teach friendship and assertiveness skills.
Individual Strategies for Targets
Provide options for preventing bullying incidents
Avoid the bully
Stay in safe areas
Share your feelings with someone you trust
- Provide options for responding to bullying incidents
Make an assertive statement, then walk away
Tell an adult
Bullying Behavior Interventions
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 settings, not in a group setting. Discipline should be addressed privately. Interventions focus on identifying the expected behaviors.
School/Classroom Strategies for Bullying Behaviors/Perpetrators of Bullying
Equalize the power – work one on one
Challenge distorted thinking.
Use consistent, predictable discipline
Focus on behaviors and expectations
Use a problem-solving approach
Forward documentation to a central location to be reviewed regularly
Individual Strategies for Bullying Behaviors/Perpetrators of Bullying
State (do not ask) rule violated, feelings of target, and plan of action
Teach social skills
Emotional self awareness
- Develop personal management skills
Anger and emotion management
Assuming personal responsibility
- Provide pro-social consequences