K-12 school administrators across the US are aware of the existence of bullying and the huge problem it creates today. Millions of students are affected by some form of bullying. School administrators incorporate bullying prevention strategies in their schools, but how affective are these efforts? Is an anti-bullying poster hanging in the school hallway enough?
Bullying has escalated in recent years, especially through the growing use of social media technology. Although students are most often the victims in school bullying instances, adults are the ones creating and enforcing anti-bullying policies and rules. Administrators teach students not to bully and encourage students to report any bullying instance they experience or witness. This is a great start to promoting bullying prevention, but by adding student engagement metrics, bullying prevention policies can be even more effective.
K-12 students are a group undoubtedly affected by their peers. This sometimes is the cause of bullying, but can also be an asset tobullying prevention. Many times bullying is done to attract the attention of their peers, so preventing it requires influencing the audience. If the majority of their peers disapprove of the incident, then it will lessen the power of the bully and bullying will decrease.
Empowering student leaders will not only show students that disapprove of bullying, but will give other students the courage to show their anti-bullying support as well. Student leaders are a resource all school administrators have access to, giving them greater capability to reduce bullying incidents through increased student engagement.
Here are a few examples of school districts in the US that are encouraging student leadership through their bullying prevention strategies:
Morgan County Schools, West Virginia
Distributes surveys to students asking how they treat each other and then uses student leaders to address concerns found in the results.
Kelly Middle School, Oregon
Asks students to attend staff meetings to talk about bullying issues.
Boardman Elementary School, New York
Teaches sixth graders about the dangers of bullying and how to stand up against bullying. These “Caring Majority Ambassadors” then pass what they learn onto the younger students in school.
How does your school prevent bullying? Check out our Speak Up! anonymous two-way communication module to help you combat bullying issues!