October was National Bullying Prevention month. Throughout our nation’s schools, students attended pep rallies, signed petitions, wore t-shirts with anti-bully messages, and participated in anti-bully marches. Anti-bullying Facebook pages, some with extraordinary amounts of helpful resources and information, were created. It was all a wonderful display of anti-bully sentiment which ensured that everyone was thinking about bullying behavior and its consequence, at least for awhile. So what happens in November? Now that anti-bullying month has ended, what is occurring today in your child’s lunchroom or on the playground? Were the October messages enough to reduce bullying? What really works to help reduce bullying? There is a huge amount of literature on the best methods and curriculums to defeat bullying. Yet some of it is contradictory. One strategy from one anti-bullying expert is deemed misguided by another. To add clarity to this discussion, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has defined 10 best practices for bullying prevention. Those 10 strategies are:
1. Focus on the social environment of the school
2. Assess bullying at your school
3. Garner staff and parent support for bullying prevention
4. Form a group to coordinate the school’s bullying prevention activities
5. Train your staff in bullying prevention
6. Establish and enforce school rules and policies related to bullying
7. Increase adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs
8. Intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying situations
9. Focus some class time on bullying prevention.
10. Continue these efforts over time.