Prevent bullying in your school
Bullying is not just a case of “kids being kids.” It can take the form of physical aggression, social ostracizing, relentless taunting or cyberbullying—and can have tragic consequences. According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice, about 20 percent of students ages 12 to 18 experience bullying. At Church Mutual Insurance Company, we recognize the size of this problem and provide resources for schools that want to curb bullying. Here are a few strategies you can implement this school year:
- Develop an anti-bullying policy. The best place to start is by instituting a written plan that clearly states your school is a “no bullying zone.” Once you create the plan, make your crusade against bullying part of your students’ everyday activities. For example, you could include a different anti-bullying strategy in your announcements every day.
- Monitor hot spots. Bullying is more likely to happen in places where adults are scarce, such as hallways, bathrooms, playgrounds and buses. So, focus on having adults present as much as possible. If there’s an adult around, would-be bullies lose their opportunity.
- Start an anti-bullying student group. You need to establish a culture in your school that frowns upon bullying. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a peer advocacy program. Such a program uses a formal process to train and support a group of students who watch out for bullying and report it.
- Set up a confidential reporting tool. Youth are more likely to report bullying if they can do so confidentially. Make it easy for them to use tools they already have, such as smart phones and computers, to report bullying.
- Train staff to watch for the signs of bullying. If you know what you’re looking for, you can spot where there could be potential problems. Ways to spot bullying include:
- Looking for children who treat those they feel are beneath them with contempt
- Watching kids who seem too polite to be true—if they are charming with adults, they may be mean when adults aren’t looking
- Understanding that girls and boys bully differently—while boys might be more physical, girls often use name-calling and relational aggression
- Keeping an ear open for conversations about online issues between children—cyberbullying is a very real concern
- Watching out for children who exclude others
Bullying creates lasting damage in children, which can lead to extreme measures and, potentially, lawsuits. Your insurance policy with Church Mutual protects you, but it’s much easier if you can avoid the situation altogether. Learn more about the insurance you need at Church Mutual’s website here.