The Ten Best Practices in Bullying Prevention and Intervention
From the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services
1. Focus on the social environment of the school
We believe both our TEAMWORK theme and our Step Up initiative help us focus on a positive school environment. This is in opposition to programs that seek only to punish bad behavior. Instead, we realize that our students need to discuss and model appropriate behavior so that it becomes habit. We also believe that positive reinforcement is key to making a lasting impact.
2. Assess bullying at your school
Every spring since 2010, students at Rolling Hills have completed an online survey about bullying. The results are analyzed by the principal and a group of staff members. We will continue to administer the survey again at the end of the current school year to determine the progress that has been made. We have already cut the percentage of students that have said they felt bullied by over 20% since we started the Step Up program!
3. Garner staff and parent support for bullying prevention
After the formation of our Step Up initiative, each staff member has risen to the occasion by leading a club and working together toward a bully-free school. In addition, through our PTO and the use of email messages, parents have been kept informed of our progress so our work can be reinforced in the home.
4. Form a group to coordinate the school's bullying prevention activities
The Rolling Hills Building Behavior Committee is the group that is charged with continuing our work against bullying. This committee is made of the principal, a representative from each grade level, plus additional teachers from specialty areas. The group meetings monthly to plan activities and assess our progress.
5. Train your staff in bullying prevention
Throughout the year, our staff members have taken part in building-level, district-level, and outside professional development activities around bullying prevention. In addition, our staff members have received information from the Stop Bullying Now! website. We will continue to work together to further our work.
6. Establish and enforce school rules and policies related to bullying
In the fall of 2010, the Mukwonago Area School District adopted a comprehensive policy regarding harassment and bullying in the schools. This policy was based on a model policy created by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Within the policy is a set of procedures and protocol for investigating reports of bullying. Every report of bullying is critically examined, and--when needed--resources are deployed to both the student who was bullied and the student doing the bullying. This is done to minimize the likelihood of continued incidents.
7. Increase adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs
The results of the bullying survey indicated that our playground was an area of concern for bullying behavior. With the support of the PTO, we found funding for an additional lunchtime recess monitor for our playground. In addition, recess monitors were directed to address bullying behavior immediately and report any incidents to the building administration.
8. Intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying situations
Our teachers believe that this step is key in decreasing bullying. Every situation is examined and appropriate measures are taken to help all students involved.
9. Focus some class time on bullying prevention
This is the main purpose behind our Step Up Clubs. During club time, teachers and students engage in deep discussions about bullying and the dispositions needed to take a stand against it. In addition, through the clubs, students meet others who are older and younger than themselves, creating stronger bonds of friendship throughout our school. The teacher-leaders of the clubs are able to form relationships with students outside of the grade they teach, which provides our students with one more adult with whom they feel comfortable talking.
10. Continue these efforts over time
We understand the problem of bullying cannot be solved overnight. We will continue to monitor our progress and make necessary changes to ensure that we make steady progress toward the elimination of bullying from our school community.