Students across the country are fighting an epidemic which is very different these days. They are dealing with bullying. Gone are the days of simply being called names and pestered in gym class. Now kids of all ages are able to use social media to keep the bullying front strong. Kids may post a photo or video to embarrass another. They may start a rumor on Facebook tagging large groups of other students in the school. The reality is this can be hard for kids to handle.
Need for School Protocol
The hope with bullying is that students will come to a trusted member of the school and ask for help. Programs within schools are focusing on character education. In addition to this, they are working with peers to report things if they feel someone is being treated badly. The only way this will happen is if relationships form with students and adults in the building. They need to know where to go, who they can talk to, and form that trust.
The other side of this is teachers and other educators who may witness bullying. There needs to be a protocol on where they are able to report it. While they may be able to talk with the student being bullied, more may need to be done. Is there an administrator or therapist who should be notified so they are able to reach out to the child? In addition to this, there needs to be some plan of action to talk to the person that is being the bully.
Another hot topic is whether or not schools should be notifying parents when they know a child is being bullied. In Moreau, NY, twelve-year-old Jacobe Taras committed suicide over school bullying. Jacobe’s parents are fighting for legislation which would require schools to notify parents when a child is bullied. They were unaware of this until they found their son’s suicide note. Be sure to find out what the policy is within your school, district, and if there are state laws that require letting families know about bullying.
Know Resources and State Laws
It’s also important to have resources to give students, teachers, and others in the school community about bullying. The Bully Project has a lot of resources available to everyone. Within their website, they have a definition of bullying, tools for educators, tools for students, tools for parents, tools for advocates, and a special needs toolkit. Work with a committee to have special dates and times where everyone is able to discuss bullying and what they perceive are the issues within your school. The more you open the better.
Those who work in schools must also be aware of bullying laws within your state. There is no specific definition for bullying in legal terms. This is thanks to no federal law pertaining to school bullying Thanks to this, it is important to know what each state anti-bullying law is by you. New York States has the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). DASA gives New York State public education students the right to a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.
Please share in the comments below how you work to fight the bullying epidemic in schools. Do you share bullying information with families at home?