Bullying can happen anywhere, not just at school. When the power of a community is brought together to address it, bullying can be prevented. Community-wide strategies can help identify and support children who are bullied, redirect the behavior of children who bully, and change the attitudes of adults and youth who tolerate bullying behaviors.
Community partners such as mental health specialists, law enforcement officers, neighborhood associations, service groups, faith-based organizations, youth sports and recreation groups, and businesses all have a role to play in bullying prevention. Mental health specialists who understand the consequences of bullying can better identify it in children whom they treat. Law enforcement and school resource officers can work with schools and parents to help them implement bullying prevention strategies. Schools and communities can work together to improve the school climate.
Community members can use their unique strengths and skills to prevent bullying wherever it occurs. For example, youth sports groups may train coaches to prevent bullying by being role models and encouraging positive feedback from team members. Faith-based leaders may conduct activities that promote moral engagement and help youth build empathy and foster healthy relationships. Hearing anti-bullying messages from the different adults in their lives can reinforce the message for children that bullying is unacceptable.
Every individual serves as a role model for how to treat others with respect, tolerance, and inclusion. Bystanders to bullying can make a positive difference in bullying situations by intervening when bullying occurs. They can also reach out and extend support to the person being bullied. Every person in a community can have a positive impact by addressing or preventing bullying.