Bullying in schools has become a severe problem that affects millions of kids every day. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 13% of students in grades 6 through 10 reported being bullied, with many victims reporting feeling unsafe in their schools. Schools can help reduce bullying by implementing these seven effective tips to support all students and prevent bullying from occurring in the first place.
Here are seven (7) effective tips to reduce or prevent bullying in school;
1) Encourage Students to Stand Up for Each Other
The issue of bullying affects both children and adults severely. Students must understand the warning signs of bullying and what they can do to stop it. Bullies often look for kids who are different or weak, making them more vulnerable. One-way students can help stop bullying is by standing up for others when they see it happening. They should also be on the lookout for bullies, as they may be hurting others without realizing it! For example, some bullies tease others about their race, sexual orientation, or size. Kids need to know that if they’re unsure whether someone’s trying to hurt someone else with their words or actions, they should step in and say something.
2) Educate Students on the Dangers of Bullying
Bullied children experience more anxiety, depression, and anger than their peers. Studies have shown that the average bullied child misses about ten school days each year because of fear and anxiety. Picked-on children are also more likely to leave school early from high school or college. Helping kids understand what it’s like for someone to feel excluded or singled out could make them think twice before picking on others themselves. Brainstorm different ways they might feel if they were getting bullied-sad, lonely, frustrated, and angry. The best way to help your child stay safe at school is to arm them with information and teach them how to stay calm and collected when dealing with bullies. Teaching children good conflict resolution skills will go a long way toward preventing bullying behavior among students.
3) Create an Anti-Bullying Policy
Bullying is a problem for children of all ages, but it can be even more devastating for middle and high school kids. It takes a lot of strength and courage to stand up against bullies, but there are ways that schools and families can help too. Schools can help stop bullying by implementing policies and teaching students how to prevent the behavior before it starts. Additionally, students should be thought to speak out if they see someone being bullied or engaging in the behavior themselves. Adults need to model good behavior and not bully others, which only create an environment where bullying thrives.
4) Teach kindness and empathy
The first step is understanding what empathy is. It is frequently confused with pity, which is feeling sad for another person’s predicament. Showing empathy means acknowledging that the other person has a feeling, even if you don’t agree with it or like it. Another way to teach empathy is by practicing kindness in daily life. Kindness can be small, such as holding open the door for somebody or complimenting them on their work. Every time you’re kind to someone, practice being mindful of their feelings so that they know you care about them and are trying your best to understand them.
Furthermore, adults can teach empathy skills to students through counseling sessions so they have the tools they need when dealing with issues like this someday.
5) Set clear rules and regulations
Setting clear rules and regulations can help establish a strong sense of authority, which will go a long way toward reducing or preventing bullying. Making a behavior contract with the student is one method of establishing these guidelines. This contract will be drawn up by both the student and the teacher, outlining what behaviors are acceptable and what punishments may result in misconduct.
The next step is creating a consequence chart that specifies what happens when an infraction occurs. These consequences should always involve restitution of some kind; if a bully steals someone’s lunch money, they should have to give it back and do some community service. Post the terms on the classroom wall as a reminder once everyone has agreed to the rules. Another way to enforce the contract is by having students write their expectations and goals.
6) Good communication
One way parents can help is by talking openly with their children about what types of behavior might constitute bullying, so they know what is or isn’t okay. It’s also important for kids to feel like they have somebody on their side who will listen without judgment and offer advice. Talking through solutions as a family will give them the tools they need to handle these tough situations. You’ll want to encourage your child to stand up for themselves and let an adult know when someone else is being bullied. Talk with your child about developing positive relationships at school and staying away from people who bully. Acknowledge that bullies come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes you won’t even see them coming – because they do their work behind closed doors. Get involved in your child’s life at school, and make sure that they know you’re there for support if needed.
7) Set an example
Setting an example for others is the best method to stop bullying. If you can show your kids how to be kind, caring, and inclusive adults, they will be less likely to bully others. The more people who stand up for each other, the less chance that any one person has of being bullied. Make sure they understand that bullying is never acceptable—whether is done by adults or children. Be sure to remind them that everyone is worthy of respect and acceptance, no matter their background.
There are many ways we can try and prevent bullying in schools. Most importantly, we create a safe environment for our students where they feel empowered and encouraged. Our responsibility as adults is to teach them how to be good people, and this includes teaching them empathy. If students feel supported by their peers, it will be easier for them to stand up against bullies who might target them. Another way of reducing the occurrence of bullying in school is by supporting and funding school counselors so children can get help before the issue escalates into something more serious like suicide or depression.
I Can Help
Written by Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Mikela Prevost
When Ms. Underwood asks if anyone wants to help Kyle, Zahra always volunteers. She loves spending time with Kyle—he’s creative and generous, and he makes the funniest jokes at lunch. But when Zahra’s other classmates start teasing her for helping him, she starts making choices she regrets.
I Can Help is a gentle, sensitive portrayal of reaching out, facing peer pressure, and learning from past mistakes. With thoughtful storytelling and poignant illustrations, this book will open discussions about choosing kindness in the classroom and beyond.
“Beautiful and delicate details in both text and illustration situate readers physically in the school’s art classroom and autumnal playground, mentally in Zahra’s world full of special cooking spices like cumin and turmeric, and emotionally in her hesitation and growth. . . . An illuminating glimpse into how a young child learns to trust her instinct and be kind to others.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Written and Illustrated by Jan De Kinder
Ages 4 to 8
A moving and realistic story about bullying
In this poignant story, a girl finds it funny when her classmate starts blushing on the school playground. Her friends laugh along with her, but one student takes the teasing too far. Torn between her sympathy for her classmate and her fear of the bully, the girl must make a difficult choice.
This heartfelt book will inspire readers to find the courage to take a stance against bullying and show compassion towards others.
“From the proliferation of red throughout this book, we know visually it has strong emotional content, and the cover, with a dispirited boy being gawked at by others, adds to its impact. . . . While the text is sparse (and in red), as the teasing builds to a crescendo, the distinctive pencil, charcoal, ink, acrylic, and collage art dramatically shows events spin out of control. . . . [A] thoughtful, accessible story.” Booklist (STARRED review)
The Chickens Build a Wall
Written and Illustrated by Jean-François Dumont
The chickens at the farm are building a wall, and no one is quite sure why. But they know one thing: the hedgehog that wandered in must be trouble. So all winter they build and build, until they have a wall that towers over the barn. When spring comes, though, they find that everything hasn’t gone quite according to plan . . .
A fable for the modern day, The Chickens Build a Wall invites readers to examine the power of prejudice in their own communities.
Written by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Ages 6 to 10
A poetic story inspired by Psalm 121
Jordan lives in fear of Tanya, the class bully. But Tanya has worries of her own, no matter how much she tries to ignore them. It seems impossible that Jordan and Tanya could be anything other than enemies, but the Lord is watching over them, guiding each of them along a path that might just help them to understand one another.
Nikki Grimes takes the words of a Psalm 121 and masterfully transforms them into a golden shovel poem of compassion, friendship, and faith. Coupled with powerful artwork from Bryan Collier, this heartfelt story is one that readers will treasure.
“Wilder Award–winning author Grimes delivers a compact yet powerful message of hope and encouragement based on Psalm 121. . . . A sumptuous work filled with a deliciously wrapped center—perfect for classrooms, school, public, or church libraries, or home: wherever hearts go for mending.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Bully.com is a story about this brilliant seventh grader student called called Jun Li, who felt more comfortable around computers than being around people. But his world turns upside down when the principal accuses him of a cyberbullying incident. To prove his innocence, Jun has seven days to track down the true culprit.
Jun’s investigation will bring him face-to-face with computer hackers, a jealous boyfriend, and more than one student who has been a victim of bullying. But he discovers along the way that everyone’s story is more complicated than it seems — and that the people he meets might have more in common than they think.
“[B]ully.com is full of suspense with a surprise ending skillfully written to keep readers hanging on every word.”
—New York Journal of Books