Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Creating a Schoolwide Anti-Bullying Initiative

How to Stop Bullying in Schools

By Jaime Stacy, Ed.D.
Assistant Principal, Salem Middle

As an administrator in a large school system (around 55,000 students), I was invited to be part of a taskforce to examine the bullying issue and lay the framework for a system-wide bullying initiative. While I wasn’t surprised to find that the schools within our division were doing different things to address bullying, the diversity and depths of the programs, methods, and interventions were surprising to me.

We decided as a team to start from the ground floor and construct a framework schools could then use to address bullying within their own building. Research on the subject showed that many of the best practices to combat bullying were closely related to the same techniques being used in schools implementing the Effective Schoolwide Discipline (ESD) model.

The ESD liaison for our school division was invited to become part of the taskforce and has helped to guide our thought process to exploring the following artifacts as we construct the framework:

• Surveys – Staff, parent, and student surveys related to bullying, school safety, and school climate

• Student discipline data – Focus on location, time of day, type(s) of bullying occurring

• Documents and materials pertaining to programs/initiatives already in place

While establishing this framework will aid in our endeavor to combat bullying in our schools, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Strong building-level leadership and stakeholder buy-in are key components to the effectiveness of any program, especially one that has the potential to create a drastic change in the culture of a school.

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