Bullying in Schools: What Parents Can Do to Prevent It
Bullying in schools has become part of the experience. It's tragic No culture is spared from it. Unfortunately, bullying is a problem even when teachers and administrators do their best to prevent it.
School bullying ranges from psychological to physical. It is carried out by individuals or by a group of bullies. Some of the ways that bullies taunt, humiliate and threaten their victims are during gym class, in hallways, at the cafeteria during lunch, on playgrounds and athletic fields, in bathrooms, and on school buses. While school bullying has become a common occurrence to be considered an accepted behavior by many students, its deep-seated and damaging consequences (physical, emotional, and psychological) are definitely a cause of alarm for parents and school authorities which means it must be documented and brought to their attention.
Parents and school administrators can get together to keep peer harassment from harming students. Just punishing the perpetrators will not prevent bullying in schools from happening over and over. What needs to happen instead: parents and authorities need to create a strategic plan to educate kids and guide those who seek to gain their power over others to empower themselves in positive ways. Anti-bullying programs and activities can take on positive, enriching forms. A few tried-and-tested solutions include:
- Peer support groups including student-to-student remedial classesA lot of bullying in schools starts from simple misunderstandings. Bullying also happens because of personal biases and traditions. For instance, upper classmen may make a legacy of bullying freshmen and younger students as a way to establish the pecking order.
Parents can coordinate with school authorities to come up with positive peer relation activities within campus and do away with the tradition of establishing a pecking order through mentoring programs. Those with advanced skills in sports, academics, and the arts can be encouraged to lend a hand to students who need help. Round table discussions, talent shows, sports meets, do-it-yourself publications, and other forms of creative outlets can help students bond in a positive way and take pride in something wonderful they helped put together as a team. Constant supervision by a qualified adult, whether it is a parent or a school staff, is a must for these activities.
- Regular parent-student-school staff seminars
There are Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) in every school, but having regular meetings specifically to address bullying in schools is a must. Everybody’s opinion matters on the subject of bullying. These should involve the parents, school staff, and students in a specialized series of seminars that discusses the negative effects of bullying and why it is a practice that must be ended. This is especially important for campuses that have made bullying a tradition. Parents, teachers, and students must be made to understand that just because bullying has existed at their school for a long time doesn't mean that it shouldn't be stopped.
- Education and strict enforcement of anti-bullying regulations on campus
Coming up with anti-bullying laws in school is not enough. As previously mentioned more sophisticated bullies eventually find a way to get around these rules and manage to harass their peers on campus and even invade their homes using tools like text, email and Facebook posts and comments. Parents and school staff must be alert to all forms of bullying in schools, whether it is apparent or done in stealthy, subtle ways. These laws must underline the fact that bullying is never acceptable, and must be countered with education and amends. If this doesn't stop the violence, then more extreme measures should be taken, like reporting the incidents to school police.
- Special emphasis on a caring, respectful environment and in the curriculum
No matter how big the campus, it can still be an atmosphere of learning and mutual respect. It takes the combined efforts of school administration and parents to find ways to emphasize a caring and respectful environment where kids can learn and reach their fullest potential without worrying about bullying in schools. Those with anger issues can be referred to school psychologists to deal with their issues. Bullied students can also be given counseling to help them get over the stress and trauma. Everyone in school must take part in anti-bullying programs to truly make their campus a place where students can learn, grow and thrive.
Copy © 2011 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.
Resources for Bullying in Schools and at Home