Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
“No Bullying Allowed”
It is the responsibility of the adults in the school to take bullying seriously and to intervene, or the bullying will continue. Although it is helpful, it is not enough to supply the individual victims with strategies as to how to better handle bully situations. In order to truly be effective, a school-wide program needs to be implemented.
There are many bully prevention programs available, most of which are based on the work of Dan Olweus of Norway whose program successfully reduced bully/victim problems by 50% or more. Olweus identified a core program, that is quite simple to produce in schools in the United States, and does not require a lot of time or materials, but rather commitment by the adults to change the current, painful reality of bullying. The message to the students is that bullying is not acceptable at the school.
The Core Program developed by Olweus is as follows:
1. Understanding and Involvement of Adults: This is accomplished by way of an anonymous survey among students. Findings should be presented to the school at an assembly. Parents should also be made aware of the findings.
The Delaware Department of Justice has developed a questionnaire for Delaware schools to download and use. As an alternative, Questionnaires can be obtained from various sources, and software can be obtained to process the data. For information firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Better supervision during recess, lunch time and other break times: Most bullying occurs during break periods, so adequate adult supervision during those periods and a system for exchanging information about bullying that occurs during those periods is paramount.
3. Class rules against bullying and class meetings. Students should be taught what bullying is, what is not acceptable behavior, and the sanctions for such behavior. Follow-up discussions should be held in class.
4. Talks with targets, bullies and their parents. Serious talks should take place with targets and bullies. Agreements about cooperation between school and home can be reached.
The Delaware Attorney General’s Office has developed a worksheet for passive targets to help them think about strategies for dealing with the bully.
The Delaware Attorney General’s Office has developed a Bullying Package for use with bullies, after a minor bullying incident. If the school decides to use this package, photocopy the complete forms, send them home to be signed by a parent/guardian and then returned to the office. Inform the parent and the student as to the consequences if there is another incident of bullying.
5. In addition Olweus encourages teachers to develop creative solutions to help those involved deal with the situation.
This is the core curriculum. In 1993 Olweus concluded, “It is no longer possible to avoid taking action about bullying problems at school using lack of knowledge as an excuse…a great deal can be accomplished with relatively simple means”. Olweus, Dan Bullying At School. Blackwell Publishing. 1993.