Time To Help Stop Bullying in Nebraska Schools
Carl Walker-Hoover, 11 yrs old; Phoebe Prince, 15 yrs old; Jon Carmichael, 13 yrs old; Seth Walsh, 13 yrs old. And the list goes on... The list of names of the children that have died this year by their own hand after being relentlessly bullied has turned the problem of bullying into an national epidemic. We have to take a stand. We have to help the children.
There is still hope. Irving Middle School was recently featured in the Lincoln Journal Star as they are implementing a new approach to bullying. What do you know about your child's or grandchild's school's anti-bullying policy and procedures? Are they effective? Are they even enacted?
To help us figure this out, Kerry Beldin, an associate professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and an NFP board member, came up with a list of questions. These questions are intended to be used by all of us to ask our school administrators the questions we need to know the answers to. We ask--no, challenge--you to ask the questions of the schools your children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews attend... Take these questions to your local PTO meeting... And ask other parents to do the same. Let's find out how our schools are doing. And PLEASE let us know what you find out.
Questions to Help Identify Effective Anti-Bullying Programming
- Has the school created a specific plan for addressing bullying? Do all school personnel, parents and students have knowledge of this plan?
- Does the school teach empathy for all and encourage open communication? Does this communication include: student-staff? staff-administration?
- Are kids taught that acting on behalf of others is a socially functional and responsible behavior and is not “tattling”?
- Are onlookers or bystanders trained to identify bullying behaviors/incidents? Are they encouraged to assist targets and hold bullies accountable?
- Are adults monitoring problem locations such as: bathrooms, hallways, parking lots?
- Do adults in the school consistently intervene in bullying? Do they act on behalf of bullying targets?
- Is intervention consistent and fair?
- Is the entire school community trained to enforce anti-bullying norms, from the janitor to administrators?
- Is the anti-bullying message constantly reinforced?
- Is cyberbullying recognized and treated consistently with other types of bullying?
- What types of education, resources and counseling are made available for targets and bullies?
- Do school personnel understand the potential effects of bullying, such as absenteeism, depression, and social isolation?
- Has the school looked into adopting evidence-based models of bullying prevention, such as the Olewus Bullying Prevention Program?
(Taken from the Christian Science Monitor and Pepler et. al)