- "Safe space" programs that identify teachers willing to intervene in bullying scenarios and professional training for teachers to help them build supportive relationships with students are two strategies that schools can use to address bullying, Erin Hearn, an SEL director with Uplift Education, a large high-performing charter school network in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, explains in eSchool News.
- Schools need to address the issue of bullying because this issue affects the way students learn, the way they feel and the way they perform on standardized tests. These effects impact not only the victim, but witnesses to the acts as well, Hearn writes.
- On a pilot basis, the school also implemented the “Owning Up” curriculum, which helps students learn about their own development in relationship to group behavior and discusses the influence of social media in conflict situations.
Bullying was once considered a rite-of-passage that could toughen up students to face the world, but a greater understanding of the causes and effects of bullying makes it clear that the issue must be addressed in school settings. Various stop-bullying campaigns have been initiated for students. However, teachers also need to be better informed about the role they can play in creating a school environment that prevents bullying.
School administrators need to address this issue on two fronts. Student education on the issue of bullying combined with integrated social-emotional learning regarding the proper way to respond to classmates can help create a positive school culture. New curriculum offerings, such as the “Owning Up” curriculum being piloted now at several schools, may also help provide an organized way to teach these concepts.
Teachers also need clear guidelines on how and when to intervene in bullying scenarios. These questions can be addressed through ongoing professional development, through mentoring programs and/or through a clear set of protocols designed for the issue. Teachers also need to be encouraged to build positive relationships with students as this can often mitigate the effects of bullying on a student. The issue of bullying not only impacts student academic performance, but is also an issue parents care about even more than student test scores.