Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cyberbullying in Schools, at Home, and in the Community

How to Stop Bullying in Schools

 By Trey Crews, former principal of Clarksburg High School, TN

How to stop bullying in schools - cyberbullying is not unique to schools; cyberbullying occurs in the workplace and in the community.
As administrators know, sometimes more often than not issues we deal with start away from school but inevitably end up in our office, commonly Monday mornings.  A parent may bring a photocopied Facebook page of comments another student has posted about his/her child and expect us to deal with it.  We may tell the parent that because this incident occurred outside of school, we are not going to address it and they need to contact their local law enforcement. Generally if we don’t, usually a problem will occur from this that becomes school related, so it would be better to address it at the beginning at least monitoring the situation more closely even though it started off campus. You would be wise to apply the old saying “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” as you consider how valuable is your time. 

Not only does bullying occur in the community with students, sometimes it also occurs with adults in the workplace.  So we know bullying is all around us and can take on many forms, and can be a very deceptive monster.

One way it can be deceptive is students’ misuse of technology. This is a main reason why most school districts hesitate to allow or put limited restrictions on personal communication devices and other advances of technology in schools.  Some peoples’ misconceived mindset when using technology is that we think we are alone but in reality we’re more exposed publicly and comments and actions are more concrete than ever.  As far as cyber-bullying or technology use goes, there needs to be a push for students to learn appropriate ethics when using this tool.

My philosophy as administrator on the topic of bullying is that we must be progressive. It may seem to some that this can be time consuming but in my experience to be reactive to situations concerning bullying can devour extreme amounts of time.  A step we took was to place an anonymous suggestion “bully box” in hall by the school counselor’s office, to let us be aware of situations that can be monitored.  Also a progressive step to aid prevention is having a strong school counseling program and the teachers and principal getting involved in students' school life through interactions by creating a healthy professional relationship with the students.  When dealing with a discipline problem or a bullying situation, sometimes we will just sweep it under the rug or let it go this time, because our patience has run out and we just don’t want to deal with it. Most often when it happens, it come back to bite us, those small issues are now out of control.  Teachers with the help of students are really the front lines on combating bullying. Our counselors are instructing students how to spot bullying and what to do. Administrators should allow training for teachers to be receptive to their students’ conversions and body languages.

I know our goal is to stop bullying and even in a “bully free zone” we should not think that we have annihilated bullying because when we do, there will always be transit students or even the exception to the rule, some situation that we have not thought of yet. So be sober and vigilant.

*****
For more information on bullying prevention and available resources to support your efforts, sign up today for the FREE professional development webinar for educators presented by the School Improvement Network, Bullying: Understanding the Problem, Defining Solutions on May 30th 2012, 3:00pm with Robin Young of the National Crime Prevention Council.

Click here to register for the FREE webinar: http://www.instantpresenter.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EA57D783884f

24 comments:

  1. Hi there,
    I'm a graduate student working on a group project and a piece of this has to do with cyberbullying. I'm looking for some practical advice for new guidance counselors on how to counsel the "bullied" or the "bully" as we expect to have some of these issues once we get in schools. I'm reviewing the articles here on this blog, but would appreciate any additional info you may have. I can be contacted at romcomwrite@yahoo.com.

    Thank you!
    Thea Gattone

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