Even with the upsurge of mandated antibullying programs and continuous increased awareness of the effects of bullying and the need to support those being bullied, schools are faced with a dynamic that is much easier to talk about than implement. Guidelines suggesting all areas be monitored, no area left unsupervised and increased teacher and staff visibility sound great, but the reality is questionable as limited staff and funding challenges the knowledge of what should be done.
Perhaps the better option resides not in increased visibility but in increased support networks. (1) Principals and supervisors may want to examine the possibilities of combining forces with administration, teachers, staff and organizations as Student Council, Beta Club, Honor Society, soccer team, music clubs, PTO etc… to create task forces that take on the challenges of bullying prevention and assisting those who have been victimized.
Students and staff can work together to provide “tattle-tale squads” that immediately report to administration all witnessing of bullying and suspicions that bullying may occur. (The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development advocates the “Be a Tattletale Approach”.) (2) These task force students and teachers then work together with the bullied student to change mindsets and provide 24 hour support to the victim. Those bullied at school have high probability that they will also be bullied on social media; therefore, task force peers are readily available to text, tweet and/or Instagram encouragement to the victim. Task Forces need to concentrate on three self-actualization areas:
Support Training for the bullied should include working toward changing the mindset of the victim through repetitive teachings as:
- DO NOT GIVE YOUR POWER AWAY.
- YOUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH IS INSIDE YOU.
- NEVER LET ANYONE FRIGHTEN YOU INTO MAKING ANY DECISION.
- BULLIES OPERATE FROM WEAK CHOICES; MAKE STRONG CHOICES FOR YOURSELF IN ORDER TO AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES OF WEAK CHOICES FROM OTHERS.
- REMEMBER YOU WILL EXPERIENCE AS MUCH PAIN AS YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT.
- DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU NEED FIXED PHYSICALLY, DYNAMICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY. YOU ARE NOT BROKEN! (3)
Concurrently with the Support Training is the Action Training to include:
- IF BULLIED, STAND STRAIGHT, GIVE EYE CONTACT AND MAINTAIN DISAPPROVAL IN NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION.
- TELL SOMEONE OF AUTHORITY IMMEDIATELY, NOT 2 DAYS LATER, BUT ONE MINUTE LATER.
- REQUEST ADULT INTERACTION IMMEDIATLEY TO AVOID REPEAT TACTICS.
- TAKE ADVISE ONLY FROM THOSE TRAINED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE.
- WHEN POSSIBLE, AVOID REACTING. PAUSE; THINK; MAKE WISE CHOICES.
- DO NOT RESPOND TO BULLIES IN PERSON OR ON LINE OR PHONE. (4)
- DON’T WALK ALONE. AVOID PLACES WHERE BULLYING OCCURS.
- DO NOT BRING VALUABLES TO SCHOOL.
- KEEP SERIAL NUMBERS OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IN A SAFE PLACE AND PERMANENTLY LABEL ALL PERSONAL ITEMS.
- IF PHYSICALLY INJURED, HAVE AN ADMINISTRATOR CALL THE POLICE. PHYSICAL ABUSE IS A CRIME.
The final phase of a Bullying Support Task Force is the Follow-Up. Keep in mind the succeeding:
- FOLLOW-UP; FOLLOW-UP; FOLLOW-UP! The Task Force should monitor and record all signs of bullying behavior or behavior that promotes bullying to provide documented behaviors and work toward prevention.
- BRING THE VICTIM INTO THE SOLUTION. ASK THE VICTIM WHAT HE/SHE WOULD LIKE TO SEE. (5)
- KEEP OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION WITH VICTIMS.
- CONSIDER TRAINING VICTIMS TO BECOME ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN THE TASK FORCE.
Remember Intervention is the best Prevention. For assistance and ideas in developing and implementing Anti-Bullying Task Forces, contact All In Generation at www.allingen.com
1. National Association of School Psychologists; “Bullying Prevention:What Schools and Parents Can Do”;www.lebanonct.org/district/
2. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development;”Dealing with Bullying: What Teens and Kids Can Do”; Robert Segal, MA and Jeanne Segal, PhD; www.helpguide.org/articles/
3. Why Your Life Sucks; Alan H. Cohen; Bantom Dell; 2002.
4. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development…
5. Florida Department of Education; www.fldoe.org/schools/safe-
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Bullies and bullying can be prevented by the slow and methodic process of mentoring and coaching from a caring mindset. Each and every young person carries a wealth of potential. It’s up to us to see, call forth, and empower that potential. Your diligence and long hours toward maturing this generation are not in vain, but rather are changing the world.