Tuesday, October 4, 2011

National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month

October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. Bullying is the most common form of violence in schools. Of course we must work with students who bully and are bullying but the effectiveness of a bullying prevention program really grows when education is targeted at the witnesses. Counselors need to teach "bystanders" to become "upstanders." Students need to know one person standing up for a child being bullied can make a difference. The message to children who see or know bullying is happening should include:
- stand up for the children who are bullied, they need the support of peers;
- invite children who are excluded to play and be part of a group;
- comfort children who are bullied and tell them no one deserves to be bullied;
- don't provide an audience for bullying behavior;
- tell students who are bullying to back off (if it is safe) otherwise report the behavior to an adult immediately;
- offer to go with the student being bullied to report to an adult;
- give them an opportunity to report anonymously if they don't feel comfortable reporting face-to-face (we use the Bullying Box outside my office);
- be part of the solution by speaking out, not part of the problem ( including keeping a code of silence).

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