Anti-Bullying Week is an annual UK event that aims to raise awareness of bullying in schools and highlight the best ways of preventing it.
Bullying can threaten students’ safety at school and can negatively impact on their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are several things staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying. Here are 10 ways to prevent bullying in your school.
Build a safe environment
Establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Use staff meetings, assemblies, classes, parent meetings, newsletters to families, the school website and the student handbook to establish a positive school environment.
Create policies and rules
Create a mission statement, a code of conduct, school rules and a bullying reporting system. These establish a climate in which bullying is not acceptable and they reinforce positive behaviour.
Engage parents and guardians
Many people are involved in a child’s life and they all have an impact. When these people work together, a big difference can be made in a child’s life. It is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying.
Discuss online safety
Discuss the risks of sharing personal information and what people online can do with that information. With the growing use of social media among students, staff should be aware that cyberbullying is becoming more of a problem. Tips and guidelines for online safety should be promoted at school and at home.
Have open communication
Explain that teachers have a duty to look after their pupils and that everyone has a right to feel safe at school. Explain different types of communication and identify people who will be able to help. Ensure that all pupils have access to advice and support.
Build pupil confidence
Being bullied can make you feel bad about yourself, so it important that students feel good about themselves. This might not make the bullying stop right away, but often being confident can help over time.
Have a clear definition of bullying
There are many different types of bullying. Identifying them will help pupils to understand what is acceptable behaviour in and out of school.
Look for warning signs
When a child is being bullied, often there are signs that bullying is occurring. Teachers may not be able to witness every incident, but they can all look out for signs such as unexplainable injuries, frequent headaches and stomach-aches or declining grades. Bullied students are often unable to defend themselves, therefore, being on hand to offer support is crucial.
Reward positive behaviour
Pointing out good behaviour acknowledges and reinforces that kind of behavior. This will make students more likely to engage in positive behaviour. Just like setting clear rules and enforcing those rules, reinforcing good behavior will give students a clear picture of what the school expects of them.