Tommy is walking down the school hallway with his friends, half-listening to the conversation they are having while trying to remember what his mom packed for lunch. The group arrives at the classroom door and decides to stay outside for a little while—class won’t begin for another 5 minutes.Out of the corner of his eye, Tommy sees something happening at the other end of the hallway. It’s too far for him to hear, but it is clear that something is wrong. Sam, one of the older students, glares at one of Tommy’s classmates, John, and speaks to him with a look of disgust on his face. Sam grabs hold of the backpack strap on John’s shoulder and forcefully throws it to the ground. John is startled and bends down to grab his backpack while Sam laughs and walks away. John looks around to see if anyone has noticed the altercation, but all the students around him are walking by or talking with their friends.
Tommy stands there shocked, the conversation with his friends long gone from his mind. Why would Sam treat John that way? Why would no one help John? And lastly: was he supposed to step in?
Bullying is Still a ProblemThe issue of bullying and cyberbullying has been in existence for several years. StopBullying.gov states that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 students in the United States report experiencing bullying at their school. Furthermore, 49 percent of students in grades 4 – 12 reported being bullied at least once during the past month at school.
49 percent of students in grades 4 – 12 reported being bullied at least once during the past month at school.
Bullying can occur in any place and takes one of four forms: physical, verbal, relational, or damage to property. StopBullying.gov also reports that bullying happens most often in middle school, with the most common types being verbal and social bullying. But even with the growing amount of information available on this issue, it is still a problem.
A reported 70.6 percent of young people witness bullying in their schools. This number is close to the 70.4 percent of school staff who have seen bullying. Furthermore, 62 percent witness bullying two or more times in the last month and a total 41 percent witness bullying at least once a week.
Taking a Stand Against BullyingWhether it is a teacher, administrator, or classmate, everyone can take a stand against bullying at any age. StopBullying.gov reports that when a bystander intervenes, bullying ceases within 10 seconds, 57 percent of the time. It is crucial that, in any role, bystanders’ step in when they witness bullying.
Creating or updating your school’s anti-bullying policy can communicate to staff, students, and parents that bullying is never okay in your schools. Make sure to review this policy each year with school staff and share the strategy with students and parents throughout the school year. It is also essential to provide teachers with the resources and tools they need to safely and effectively intervene if they witness bullying. Share this cycle of prevention with your teachers and staff.
The Cycle of Prevention
1.IdentifyFamiliarize yourself with bullying behaviors inside your classroom.
2.StopStop bullying immediately when you identify it.
3.MediateSeparate students involved and set a time that day to speak one-on-one with each student.
4.Alert:Document the incident and alert parents and school administration.
5.EducateGive students the tools they need on what to do when an adult is not present. Use ARM’s bullying prevention video as a classroom resource to show students when and how to intervene safely.
Sharing these steps with your school staff and providing the classroom bullying prevention video will help them be prepared if bullying should ever occur.
For more school safety resources, visit ARM’s School Safety page.