Reporting can Stop Student Bullying

Oct 28, 2019 by

The Bullying Epidemic

Bullying is a very serious problem for K-12 leaders. The victims of bullying, which is a form of violence, can suffer physical, emotional, and psychological harm, both in the short and longer-term. One of the most effective ways to prevent bullying and to assist its victims is to create a system of reporting and it is now considered best practice. It is widely acknowledged that bullying can only occur if school leaders are not aware of it. Today, American schools have a set of policies and procedures with regard to bullying. However, despite the best-intentions of school leaders bullying remains a persistent problem. One reason for this is because there is no effective reporting system. This means that bullies can still victimize others with impunity and there is a general culture in the classroom that bullying is acceptable or inevitable. Sort of a standard growing pain.

Why Reporting is Necessary

However, this need not be the case. If there are ways for children and adults to report bullying it can lead to a sharp decline in this terrible activity, which causes so much suffering and agony. It is important that victims and others can report bullying both in the school, outside the school and on digital platforms.  Lynn Addington, a cyberbullying expert from American University, believes that reporting can help K-12 leaders to stop both interpersonal and online bullying.

K-12 students should be taught that reporting bullying is acceptable and ethical. This can help to end the culture of silence that allows bullying to occur. Children need to be taught to support the victims of bullying, this can lead to more reporting.

Empower Students: Often the victims of bullying feel helpless and see no hope. K-12 school leaders can show that students can report aggression in a safe and secure way. One that means that they will not face retribution from the bully or bullies.

Show Commitment: Any K-12 student found guilty of bullying needs to be punished. Once children and adults see that bullies are punished they will encourage more reporting (3)

Parents, children, and members of the community need to participate in the development of a reporting system. This means that they will be more likely to support it and to make it effective.

Public Information Campaign: Letting children and adults know it is acceptable and necessary to report bullying, even it not personally impacted by it. The school climate needs to be supportive of reporting of intimidation and harassment.

It is critical that every report is investigated and done so in a fair manner. Children and adults need to participate the process if it is to be a success.

How to Develop a Reporting System

There are some practical ways that K-12 school leaders can develop an effective reporting system. Create an ‘open-door’ policy to make sure that a victim of bullying can report harassment, etc to any member of staff at any time.

Communication Channels: Reports of bullying need to be made in a variety of ways, in person, by handwritten note or email.

All members of the staff need to be trained in how to report bullying and those who report it.

Dedicated teachers need to be responsible for investigating the reports. They need to be cognizant of the local culture and the differences between communities and students with regard to preferences for reporting.

Provide a Social Media Presence: on all platforms where children can report bullying. Finally, related to this, create a cloud-based communication solution such as an app. This would allow children and their parents to report bullying 24/7. Thereby, working towards decreasing the bullying in schools.


K12 bullying, school bullying, online bullying, reporting bullying, cyberbullying

Comment: How can a reporting system eradicate bullying?


Addington, L. A. (2013). Reporting and clearance of cyberbullying incidents: Applying “offline” theories to online victims. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 29(4), 454-474 Retrieved from:

Duggins, S. D., Kuperminc, G. P., Henrich, C. C., Smalls-Glover, C., & Perilla, J. L. (2016). Aggression among adolescent victims of school bullying: Protective roles of family and school connectedness. Psychology of violence, 6(2), 205 Retrieved from:

Low, S., & Van Ryzin, M. (2014). The moderating effects of school climate on bullying prevention efforts. School Psychology Quarterly, 29(3), 306 Retrieved from:

Olsen, N. E. (2010). Bullying trends and reporting preferences among an urban, suburban, and rural school. Retrieved from:

Whitted, K. S., & Dupper, D. R. (2005). Best practices for preventing or reducing bullying in schools. Children & Schools, 27(3), 167-175 Retrieved from:

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