October marks the time each year when we bring attention to bullying prevention: how to identify, prevent and report it. It's important to have a specific month designated as National Bullying Prevention month, but bullying has become so rampant in our schools that it's a good idea to keep resources handy to educate students year-round on this harmful and serious problem.
No doubt due in part to social media's significant expansion over the past decade, bullying and cyberbullying can be found in schools all over our country. It does not discriminate based on a student's age, socio-economic background or any other demographic factor. In fact, statistics show that at least 1 student out of 4 has been bullied. And because bullying can create long-term repercussions for the victim and because many students receive no education at home on the matter, we need to ensure that bullying has no place in our schools or in our communities.
So how do we create no-tolerance environments where students feel safe, know what to look for and are empowered to speak up when they see bullying in action?
Education is the most important tool to help kids learn empathy for others and how hurtful and potentially damaging bullying can be. Free resources abound, and below are some of our favorites:
Community support is also key to ensuring everyone in the community is looking out for bullying, no matter if they have children in your schools or not. Adults must be examples for treating others with kindness and respect, so never forget the power of engaging the community in your efforts! Below are links to great ideas and tools with which some have found success:
Having an online reporting tool is also essential so that students, parents and even community members have a resource they can use to report (anonymously or otherwise) any bullying act to which they are witness. If you are already using an online tool, fantastic! But did you know that we can help you create one of these for free with a simple Google form? It's true! If you don't use any kind of bullying reporting tool, it's crucial that you set one up to help your district address these issues. Please contact me for additional information or help.
Finally, we offer student training on this very topic! If you are already talking to your students about bullying, sometimes having an outside person come to reinforce your lessons can help to further inspire kids to be kinder and to look out for one another. If you are a member district and would like us to come work with your kiddos, hit us up! We always have a fun time with students and are happy to visit your schools.
Click on this link, 2015 calendar, to explore upcoming OPSRC professional development opportunities
This is one of the most important months of the year for school finances.
When I talk to school leaders about how powerful a tool social media can be for engaging parents and their communities at large, common responses I hear are that they don’t want to open themselves up for even more criticism and that social media is more trouble than it’s worth.