Tackling the Problem of Bullying-Part 1
Our grade 7 team has made a goal of reducing bullying in our middle school. There have been a few instances of students bullying each other, but it pretty much stays verbal and never has resulted in anyone going fisticuffs. Our school has a reputation as the most caring school in town and our students have reputations as generally well-behaved people.
Up until now, the staff have tried to minimize bullying opportunities by making ourselves visible in hallways and community places during passing periods and breaks, but still, it seems to happen from time to time. Perhaps no school can be completely "bully free" but with a unified approach we believe that we can minimize it from happening.
We unanimously decided that our approach cannot be limited to merely being visible and disciplinarians. If we are to succeed with this, we need to create a culture of appreciation and tolerance for one another, despite our differences. We made a list of strategies for implementations and hope to collect data before and after our initiative to determine it's effectiveness and thus "tweak" our strategies for the following school year. They are:
- Collecting data about bullying from the student body now and near the end of the school year. Using "Google Forms" and/or "Survey Monkey" can we determine patterns and whether or not our ideas have been effective or not.
- Initiating a "Stand Up" campaign in our advisory/pastoral program wherein we encourage students to stand up for one another and share testimonials in advisory. We have already undertaken this with posters, but hope to have some laminated reminders for student lockers. We have just started using advisory time to share stories about when students stand up for one another.
- Encourage more camaraderie in classes and sports practices by recognizing students for their accomplishments. I learned "appreciations" as a summer camp director that I hope to use in my classes and sports teams (see examples in the video below). I'm piloting a "rock star" of the week wall wherein every week I have news kids up and will give them "appreciations" for a broad range of positive intra or inter personal behavior. In time, students start to do their own appreciations of one another.