Declare your school a bully-free zone
According to anti-bullying organization PREVNet, the majority of Canadian children are involved in bullying—either as the bully, the victim or both. What’s worse, Canada recently ranked poorly (in the bottom third) in a World Health Organization survey that assessed what 35 countries are doing to prevent bullying.Bullying is nothing new; it has been going on since the advent of time. But how we view bullying is changing drastically, and for good reason. No longer is it a rite of passage one must endure when growing up—nor should it be. Parents, teachers and even celebrities across the nation are taking a stand against bullying. Studies show schools that institute anti-bullying policies realize a 20 percent reduction in the behaviour. Are you ready to declare your school a bully-free zone? If so, read on.Putting an end to bullying
Putting an end to bullying takes a team approach. Parents, teachers and students alike need to work together to stop this behaviour, once and for all. Here are some ideas on how to tackle this problem proactively:

  • Discover and share the depth of the problem: Consider holding informational sessions with students and teachers to discuss what constitutes bullying. Afterwards, survey participants to find out what types of bullying are actually occurring in the school and how often. This is a great way to grasp the depth of the problem within your school. Once you have this information, share it with parents, teachers and students so everyone knows exactly what kinds of problems you’re facing. Imprint a statistic from your research on pencils and/or erasers and hand them out in the classroom or at school assemblies. Also mail a letter to parents letting them know your school is taking a stand against bullies. Include a silicone bracelet in blue, the colour for bullying awareness, imprinted with the message “We stand up to bullies.” Remember, putting an end to bullying takes a unified approach.
  • Develop a policy: Develop an anti-bullying policy, if you don’t already have one. It should clearly describe what behaviours are considered unacceptable, the consequences for policy violations and what to do if someone is experiencing or witnessing bullying. The policy should be shared across the entire school with parents, teachers and students alike. Post the policy on your social media channels and on your school’s website, send out an email notification and drop a copy in the mail to reach as many school families as possible.
  • Educate and inform your students: Use class time to educate and inform students on bullying and its effects. Oftentimes, students are unaware that certain types of behaviours are considered bullying and that some are even punishable by law—clear guidelines can help. Post rules on posters and display them in each classroom, and as a reminder of your school’s anti-bullying initiative, hang banners around to declare your school a “Bully-Free Zone.” Reinforce this message by posting a sign on each and every classroom door.
  • Empower your students:  Empower your students to take a stand against bullies. Give students the words and courage they need to stand up for themselves and others—practice this by role-playing. Reward participation with school logo’d merchandise, such as T-shirts or beanies. Finally, make sure students have a safe and easy way to report bullying.

Remember, putting an end to bullying takes a team approach. Get everyone educated and empowered, and just see what a difference your school can make.

Facts & Solutions.PREVNet. Web. Retrieved 27 Oct. 2013.

Gollom, Mark. “Is the anti-bullying message getting through?” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 26 Sept. 2013. Web. Retrieved 18 Oct. 2013.

Tamanini, Kara. “How Do We Stop Bullying in Schools? | Psych Central.” Psych Central.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 18 Oct. 2013.

Prevent Bullying.” – Bullying Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 18 Oct. 2013.

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