How can you stop school bullying? One important step is to learn how to evaluate your school’s anti-bullying program.
Look for five signs so you can judge whether your program will actually stop bullying. Then we’ll add the key factor that makes or breaks programs.
No matter how well-written or how expensive your school’s stop bullying program is; the ultimate test is always: Does bullying stop? If bullying stops; great. But if bullying continues, you must learn what to do to protect your kids from bullying.
There are five “must haves” I put in my effective, anti-bullying school programs:
- There must be clear and escalating consequences for bullying. Or is the program full of pious words like “respect,” but no consequences? Are bullies removed from contact with targets? Or are targets removed so the principal and teachers and counselors can therapeutize and rehabilitate bullies while they continue harassing their victims? Do the school attorney and the district administrator actively support the anti-bullying program? Are police involved at school?
- There must be lots of publicity for the anti-bullying program in the local media and at school. Are there assemblies for kids all during the school year?
- Teachers, school counselors, cafeteria staff and bus drivers must be involved. Are they taught the signs of subtle manipulation and covert bullying? Do they know how to recognize “professional victim” bullies? Do they know what constitutes evidence and how to document what they see and hear?
- The kids must be excited and involved, and they must have evidence that bullies will be removed. Are kids taught specifically what to do and who to go to if they’re bullied overtly or covertly? Are kids taught what to do if they witness bullying? Or are they left to be spectators and bystanders while targets are made into victims?
- Parents must be actively involved. Are all parents notified about the program? Are there programs for teachers and parents to meet together during the year? Are “test cases” publicized within the legal bounds of confidentiality?
Now for the single most important factor in making school anti-bullying programs effective: your principal.
- All plans and programs are just words on pieces of paper. Even the best plans have no life and power of their own.
- What gives them life and power is the strength, energy, determination and character of the people involved; most importantly, your principal.
- Does your principal really want to stop bullying and does he or she really know how? Is your school principal willing to stand up to bullying kids and their bullying parents who will threaten to sue?
- In addition to the program, does your principal have an action plan for when bullying occurs – because relentless bullies will push the boundaries of even the best anti-bullying school programs?
Look at your principal’s track record: Have any kids been removed during the past few years? If your principal is proud that they’ve never had a case of bullying then, probably, bullying is ignored, minimized, condoned or even enabled. Beware. Do-nothing principals, even with the best stop bullying programs on paper, can turn targets into victims.
Parents, your task at school is to promote anti-bullying programs and to actively support principals who want to stop bullying and who need your help to back them up. Organize a small group of committed parents to support your good principals and to pressure your reluctant or cowardly ones to take effective action.
Don’t wait for school administrators, principals, counselors and teachers to empower you and your kid. Take the power you need and learn to use it skillfully so you can stop harassment, bullying and abuse.
Principals and other school officials are afraid of two things. You can use these to stimulate do-nothing, reluctant principals to take action to protect your children, the targets of bullying. You can even use these fears to stimulate principals who otherwise ignore or even condone bullying by kids and their bullying parents.
The best way to stop bullying at school is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching so you can:
- Determine if your school’s anti-bullying program is effective or hire Dr. Ben to help your principal develop and implement an effective anti-bullying school program.
- Develop a plan and master the skills you need to make reluctant principals defend your kids from school bullying.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching by phone or Skype.