3 Ways You Can Help Prevent Bullying in the Classroom

Jul 5, 2019 by

A shocking 160,000 American students skip school daily due to fear of bullying. What’s even worse — today’s bullying is much different (and more serious) in years past. The days of pushing someone down and taking their lunch money have now transformed into public ridicule that sometimes results in children taking their own lives. It’s a growing epidemic and one that can’t be ignored. Many school districts in recent years have taken drastic steps toward preventing bullying, both online and in school. And while district-wide policies help protect some children, teachers and parents are the ones at the forefront of the battle. What can you do to help prevent bullying and empower your students? Keep reading to find out.

1. Explain What Constitutes Bullying

Believe it or not, some students may not even realize they’re engaging in bullying activities. Perhaps it’s because so many different behaviors fall under the umbrella of bullying — from commenting on a student’s clothes, background, or ethnicity, to their inability to perform physically or academically — students must be well-aware of their actions and how they affect others. This is where you come in. Take the time to explain to students what constitutes bullying. Any negative comments that make another student feel badly about themselves are unacceptable. Excluding or ostracizing classmates is also another form of bullying. Due to the increase of student involvement on the internet and social media, making any type of defaming comment or posting videos or pictures without another student’s consent is also considered bullying. All too often kids consider these behaviors as “no big deal”. Explain to them why these actions shouldn’t be taken lightly and encourage positive interactions. 

2. Make Your Presence Known

Bullies target vulnerable victims. This usually means a group of bullies against one, weaker student. They also try to isolate the student, bullying them when they’re alone and can’t call for help. This means making your presence known throughout the day is crucial for protecting bullying victims. Walk around the classroom during small and large group activities. Keep your eyes open for students who are interacting quietly or in a corner of the room, away from others. Take note of the body language exhibited by students as they interact. Does one student look aggressive while another seems nervous or cowering? If so, walk over to those students and ask if there’s an issue. Being aware of your surroundings and making your presence known to students will reduce the risk of certain students singling out others. If you do identify an issue, you can try several tactics from speaking to the guidance counselor to taking disciplinary action if necessary. Knowing the difference between mediation vs arbitration can help you choose the right approach. Another useful tool many teachers overlook is to collaborate with parents. 

3. Collaborate with Parents

Some parents and teachers are of the mind that school and home are two separate entities. This is a dangerous mentality. Home life and school are extremely intertwined. The lessons and values instilled at home directly affect how a student acts in public. And while you can’t control parenting skills, you can work closely with parents to help educate them on how to prevent bullying. This holds true whether or not the student in question is the bully or the victim. Parents can also offer insight into any underlying issues or stressors occurring at home that might be affecting the student’s behavior. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject with parents and work together to find a solution.

Sadly, bullying in different forms will always be present in school and group settings. There will always be insecure, troubled children who find pleasure in targeting other, weaker individuals. But the more aware you are of the signs of bullying and the more involved you are in student interactions, the better your chances are of preventing negative instances and promoting positive relationships. 

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