Posted: Aug 4, 2012 2:04 PM
As school systems across the nation prepare to welcome back thousands of children for the school year, the Kentucky Center for School Safety, based at Eastern Kentucky University, has prepared a checklist of suggestions for principals to consider when establishing bullying/harassment standards within their respective schools.
This is not an all-inclusive list, but is a good start for principals to reflect and act accordingly.
1. Ensure that all staff and students are publicly exposed to and given a copy of the bullying/harassment policy. For example, have school-based administrators discuss the policy with students and staff at facul-ty, staff and student-group meetings within the first couple of weeks of school, as well as again periodi-cally during the school year. Call attention to these policies in student and staff handbooks, School Board policies, criminal laws, etc.
2. Describe the steps that will be taken by school officials when they receive a report or witness a child being bullied or harassed.
3. Send home a copy of the bullying/harassment policy to all parents/guardians.
4. Provide explicit instructions to students on how to report bullying offenses and where and to whom to report them.
5. Ensure that multiple drop boxes are available to students throughout the school to report incidents of harassment/bullying that they have experienced/witnessed. Monitor the boxes every 3 hours.
6. Display Anti-Bullying posters throughout the school in high profile/traffic areas.
7. Have student/teacher (advisor/advisee) meetings quarterly. Ask students privately or by survey if anyone is bothering (bullying or harassing) them.
8. Have an "after-hour" bullying tip-line. (Simply use a school line and add an answering machine service to it.)
9. Conduct staff update training before schools starts for the year or shortly thereafter. Include certified and classified staff members in the training.
10. Conduct an in-depth training on bullying/harassment for NEW staff, both certified and classified.
11. Ask the local Chamber of Commerce to distribute literature throughout its membership acknowledging that bullying/harassment is a community threat (in the neighborhoods) as well as at school.
12. Publish parent/guardian responsibilities. Make certain they understand that:
a. 80% of the bullying takes place electronically-usually on the internet (Social Networks such as Facebook, etc. and/or texting.)
b. Since most of the non-electronic bullying is hidden from adults, school officials are reliant on the victims or parents to report the unobserved bullying incidents.
c. Bullying is a community problem. It can happen in the school or in the neighborhood.
d. Parents need to monitor their child's activities on the internet, social networks and child's cell phone text messages...a minimum of once a week.
e. Consider meeting early in the school year with students who have exhibited bullying behavior at the school in the past and offer appropriate channels of preventative support and intervention to them for the upcoming school year.
13. Run in-school PSA announcements at least once per month that deal with enhancing a Bully Free envi-ronment. Check out PSA's and YouTube offerings on KCSS web site.
14. Work/partner with local media outlets and encourage them to run PSA's on having a bully-free community.
15. Document all efforts that are being made to prevent and curb bullying.
The Center's website is a great resource for bullying prevention and cyber-bullying prevention information: www.kysafeschools.org.