Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying.
Training school staff and students to prevent and address bullying can help sustain bullying prevention efforts over time. There are no federal mandates for bullying curricula or staff training. The following are some examples of options schools can consider.
Activities to Teach Students About Bullying
Schools don’t always need formal programs to help students learn about bullying prevention. Schools can incorporate the topic of bullying prevention in lessons and activities. Examples of activities to teach about bullying include:
- Internet or library research, such as looking up types of bullying, how to prevent it, and how kids should respond
- Presentations, such as a speech or role-play on stopping bullying
- Discussions about topics like reporting bullying
- Creative writing, such as a poem speaking out against bullying or a story or skit teaching bystanders how to help
- Artistic works, such as a collage about respect or the effects of bullying
- Classroom meetings to talk about peer relations
Schools may choose to implement formal evidence-based programs or curricula. Many evaluated programs that address bullying are designed for use in elementary and middle schools. Fewer programs exist for high schools and non-school settings. There are many considerations in selecting a program, including the school’s demographics, capacity, and resources. Also, be sure to avoid Misdirections in Bullying Prevention and Response - PDF.
To ensure that bullying prevention efforts are successful, all school staff need to be trained on what bullying is, what the school’s policies and rules are, and how to enforce the rules. Training may take many forms: staff meetings, one-day training sessions, and teaching through modeling preferred behavior. Schools may choose any combination of these training options based on available funding, staff resources, and time.
Training can be successful when staff are engaged in developing messages and content, and when they feel that their voices are heard. Learning should be relevant to their roles and responsibilities to help build buy-in.