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.
Decisions regarding development of a bullying prevention program or plan may vary from changing supervision assignments to adopting curriculum depending on the unique needs of each school or district. Consideration may be given to the following ideas in determining the most effective program or plan.
- Conduct a review and alignment of current policies and prevention programs
- Collect, organize and interpret bullying behaviors data
- 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
- Recognize and celebrate successes
- Review program and sustain effort over time
- Training and instruction of all groups (certified and non-certified staff, students, parents/community, volunteers, etc.) will support the development of a safe and secure environment.
- A comprehensive training/education plan is ongoing, based on the needs of the school, and includes developing awareness, skill-building (prevention and intervention strategies) and monitoring progress.
- The education plan for students develops sequentially through all grade levels and provides helpful resources for students who are bystanders, targets of bullying behaviors and engaging in the use of bullying behaviors.
Components of Quality Bully Prevention Programs
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
- Focus on the entire school environment. Comprehensive school-wide effort to identify and address problem areas and effectively intervene in bullying behaviors, change in student and staff “norms,” i.e. behavior expectations
- 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.
- Support provided for anti-bullying prevention. District support for prevention plan includes school administrators and majority of teachers, paraeducators, 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 is consistently used to address bullying behaviors.
- Adult supervision assess and increased in bullying “hot spots.” All adults recognize bullying behaviors and acknowledge caring behaviors; supervision is increased in areas known to have high incidents of bullying.
- Interventions are consistent and appropriate. All adults are prepared to intervene whenever bullying behavior is observed; plan is in place to follow up with bully, 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.