How To Develop a Bully Prevention and Intervention Plan in Your School

1. Gather your resources. Begin by making it known to the school staff, at all levels, that you are implementing, or expanding your program. See if any staff members are willing to go above and beyond, and spearhead the program. Consider the community resources that are at your disposal as well. Helping organizations, such as counseling agencies, or groups for children, may be willing to become involved.

2.  Survey the students and their parents. This is an attempt to get as accurate a picture as possible about bullying issues that are being experienced in your school. You may choose to create your own survey, use one that you find online, or purchase a program that includes surveys.

3. Initiate a meeting with parents. Seek names of people who are willing to become directly involved in creating and influencing a program. Get their contact information and decide how communications will flow the best within the group (i.e. e-mail, telephone)

4. Work with the group of committed employees and parents to initiate the program. Review the surveys together and determine the times and parts of the school that appear the most unsafe. Decide how you will DEFINE bullying. Here is one definition/incident reporting form.

5. Decide which solutions you will implement.  Consider:

a)Parenting classes for parent’s whose children are using bully actions/victim responses. The classes would focus on working directly with your own child to eliminate the behaviors.

b)Hallway Heroes/Playground Pals: Have student volunteer to take on these roles. This means that when they see bullying in the hallway or the playground, they will take action. If they feel safe to intervene, they may do so, or they may tell an adult.

c)Peer Mediation Programs: Specific students are given intensive problem solving training, and intervene in disputes in the school. Interventions may be informal, such as in witnessed playground altercations, or they may be more formal services, requested by two students who are having an ongoing argument.

d) Increased Supervision: Placing parents or staff as supervisors in some of the physical places  of the school that the survey indicated are dangerous spots for children who are being bullied.

e) Utilize the internet to find out what activities are going on that promote healthy relationships. Examples are Pink Shirt Day (Pink Shirts are worn to express the desire to eliminate bullying actions) and The 24-Hour Bully Stakeout (a facebook effort, which promotes knowledge all year round, working towards a one day push of global awareness of solutions for bullying)

6.  Implement a clear reporting system for both adults and children to use. It is often tempting to make this system anonymous, and at times that is necessary, but we believe that an anonymous system is one that lets the children know they are safe. It is far more effective to use methods of reporting that do two things – (1) Show children that they are safe in talking about the issues that are bothering them through relevant action, and (2) are distinguishable from “tattling”. This is achieved through instant attention to bullying actions and victim responses, and formalizing the procedure.

7. Create learning structures that teach children different ways to behave, at two levels:

1)Utilize a program that can be used consistently in the classroom that gives messages at an appropriate developmental level, and that gives consistent messages each year

2)Utilize an in-depth program that can be used in a group with younger children who are engaging in behavior that has been determined to be behavior that shows signs of bullying actions.  Run a program for older children that can be attended voluntarily if they want to have some fun and learn a little more about how to get along in general.

3)Utilize a program that can be used one on one with children who are engaging in extreme behaviors.