All students are entitled to a safe and productive learning environment. We can all relate experiences we’ve had involving a bullying situation. When conflicts
arise, students need to have a set of practical, effective, and nonviolent tools to deal with a bully. Schools have an obligation to have programs designed to prevent and deal with incidents
involving bullying. In order to achieve this, educators need to concentrate on four components: the bully, the victim. conflict resolution tools and strategies, and the classroom/school environment.
Recognizing the Signs
Educators and students should be trained to recognize signs of bullying behavior, defuse the situation, and help the victim and bully develop socialization skills. Bullying behavior can include physical
harm, persistent teasing, insults, extortion, exclusion of the victim from social interactions, and intimidating facial expressions and body language. Bullies use intimidation to keep others from noticing
It’s also important for educators and students to recognize the signs that a student is the victim of bullying. These behaviors can include staying close to teachers, frequent visits
to the school nurse with complaints of not feeling well, reluctance to attend school, withdrawal from others, poor concentration, poor academic performance, and refusal to try new experiences.
A student who is anxious about being victimized either during lunch or on the way home from school cannot concentrate on school work.
What to Do
Workshops, assemblies, a school campaign, and a school policy of zero tolerance needs to be implemented. A school campaign can include having a school-wide student contract outlining positive school
behaviors along with consistently enforced consequences for bullying behavior. Posters, student presentations, art work, and written work can highlight positive character traits to be exhibited in
and out of school.
Assembly programs stressing character development and positive social interaction can be held. Consider the following:
Educators for Social Responsibly works with educators to create a safe, respectful and productive learning environment.
Their online teacher center provides resources related to safety, conflict resolution, peacemaking, and violence prevention.
Pierrot Productions offers an anti-violence themed program in the form of circus
acts. The four C’s of conflict resolution (cool down, communicate, compromise and celebrate) are stressed and study guides are also available.
Cary Trianovich entertains elementary, middle and high school students as he brings forth messages
about self-esteem, character development, and dealing with bullies.
In Charge of Me is a theatrical assembly program
focusing on bullying, respect, and peer pressure.
What to Do – The Bully
Building student competence and confidence is one of the first steps in developing positive character traits. Interventional school and community services can be provided both for focusing on academic
development and social development. Differentiated instruction should be provided so as to motivate and yield more involved students. Cooperative group work, paired work and peer tutoring can foster
academic achievement and positive social interaction. Providing time for the teacher to communicate with students will allow students to express fears, emotions, and concerns.
What to Do – The Victim
Victims of bullying also need to build positive self esteem and positive social skills. Victims are often students who don’t make friends easily and are frequently loners. The steps listed above
to help a bully are often the ones suggested in helping the victim to get along well with others and develop friendships.
Create a Positive Environment
A positive school environment will promote respectful treatment of others. All students benefit from development of self confidence and social skills. A classroom that demonstrates respect and includes
praise will help build confidence and self-esteem.
Focus on students’ doing the right thing.
Reinforce positive behaviors and work from students’ strengths.
Be a positive role model. Students will emulate teacher’s treatment of and reactions to students. When a teacher reacts in a positive manner to students, other students will exhibit
similar behavior. When teachers value the contributions of students, students will value the contributions of other students.
Establish a classroom environment that allows students to voice their opinions.
Enforce the concept that each student is allowed to have his/her opinion and can agree or disagree with the thoughts of others.
Provide a forum for students to express their thoughts.
Encourage many solutions to problem solving.
Enable students to express feelings through speaking, writing, art, music, dance, and dramatization.
Develop an appreciation of diversity in population and thoughts.
Provide opportunities for cooperative group work, peer tutoring, and peer mediation.
Probably the worst thing a teacher can do about bullying is ignore it. Here are some additional strategies.
Introduce and develop sharing of ideas about bullying with discussions, books, audio CDs, videos, DVDs and current events.
Conduct role play activities in which students are confronted by a bully and methods of dealing with the situation.
Provide discussion time for identifying ways in which students can cope with and diffuse a situation involving bullying.
McGruff, the crime dog, encourages students to take an active role in defusing bullying. He suggests having a group of students remove the victim
from the situation and walk away from the bully together. Then students should report the incident. The victim of bullying can try to talk it out, walk away from the bully, stick with friends
and report the bullying to an adult.
Additional coping strategies can be found in the resources below.
Peter Zafris, Anton Acts Up andTiny
T Saves the Day are Dino-Might Anti-Bullying Books for early childhood students. K-8 resources and student worksheets on
character education and conflict management can also be found on this site.
Jeff's Journey is an audio bullying prevention program by Peter DiSalvatore and Al Mosier
Stop Bullying Now provides animations, games, and teacher and parent resources on recognizing and dealing with
Leamon Jones, A Peaceful Place Is Powerful for the Mind is a thematic unit that can be adapted for grades 3-12 and
is devoted to using real-life situations to develop self-esteem, self-control, respect for the rights of others, and a sense of responsibility.
Jennifer Shammas, Befriending Bullies is a thematic unit appropriate for grades 1-5. Students write books about
their own experiences. Social skills are stressed.