Bullying: A Whole School Problem

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Stop Bullying! - The Chicago School Reviews

Stop Bullying! – The Chicago School Reviews

With the number of bullying-related documentaries and case studies     that are sweeping the nation, it is no surprise that schools are     working hard to step up their game to wipe out bullying. But for     such a widespread issue, is it really that easy? Many approaches     have, up until recently, focused on working with individual bullies     and victims. Even now, many bullying programs remain focused on     isolated cases.

Only 55% of teachers in the United States have actually received     training on bullying, even though a third of students experience     bullying within their own classrooms, according to data from the     National Center for Education Statistics. It does not take an expert     to show that these facts and figures prove that bullying is     definitely not restricted to individual cases and that sometimes     these behaviors take place even under the supervision of responsible     adults. These NECS statistics do not even take into account the     bullying that goes on outside of the classroom.

According to an article from Education World, successful bullying     interventions hold educators accountable for maintaining a safe and     cooperative classroom. For an intervention program to be effective,     adults must work not only with individual bullies and victims –     they must also target entire classrooms and, indeed, whole school     populations.

The US Department of Education believes in a similar two-part     model and has even released some tools and resources for educators     to use in their own schools. Dr. Dan Olweus, a psychologist     originally from Sweden, has devoted the past several decades to     researching children and bullying, as well as developing effective     interventions. According to Dr. Olweus, bullying is such a     widespread issue that he believes that interventions should not only     include the whole school, but should begin at the institutional     level.

Without feedback from students, no bullying intervention can even     begin to take off. As such, any bullying intervention program should     start with a survey of the entire school to see what the climate is     like. Many students will disclose that they have been victims of     peer bullying and some will even admit to being complicit in a     bullying problem.

With enough information to proceed, the US Department of Education     recommends educating the adults first. According to US Department of     Education bullying coordinator, Deborah Temkin, turning around the     nationwide bullying problem will start from the bottom up: adults     need to learn how to stop bullying before it starts.

This is easier said than done but there are a number of resources     available from the US Department of Education and a number of     experts have also developed their own resources, many of which are     available for free.

For more information on the bullying problem in the United     States, as well as to access resources on interventions for     bullying, see EducationWorld.com     and the website of the US     Department of Education.

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