We’ve been talking about bullying in public schools for quite a while now. Indeed it is a problem. There is no doubt bullying has cost us all money, blood, sweat and tears...and even lives. Nevertheless, the threat of intimidation is just as real today as it was when we first admitted it was a real and dangerous problem. So why are we seemingly unable to do anything to mitigate bullying?
What can we do to improve the lives and wellbeing of our students that we are not doing today? Whatever we are doing so far is decidedly falling short. The reality of social media influence is adding to our issue as in days gone by, an oppressed student left the bully at school and went home to enjoy some peace until the next day Today, the bully follows them home via the Internet and continues to recruit minions to assist in the oppression of their target en masse.
What Have We Done To Mitigate Bullying So Far?
What is in place so far regarding bullying? First, we have the Federal government’s StopBullying.gov. This is a robust site packed with information regarding what to do if your child is being bullied at school. They list out the different actions you can take based on a given scenario right on the front page. Very helpful. What was curious on the bottom part of this resource is the criteria for what you can do to get interventions for your student based on whether or not they are being bullied about their race, nationality, gender identity, orientation, disability or religion. What was left out were all the other kinds of reasons for bullying that weren’t listed. We thought of:
- Physical appearance (not color or nationality oriented)
- Speech Impediment
- Socio-Economic differences
- Learning disabilities
It surely is right that we have some substantial criteria for why the Department of Education would want to get involved if the bullied party doesn’t feel supported by their school in mitigating bullying but what about all the other reasons mentioned above? Surely there are even more reasons that children would be bullied in school that are neither listed on the StopBullying.gov site or the ones we thought of also.
We have school assemblies where programs are rolled out, and skits performed to try and help students understand their impact on others when they oppress them with bullying tactics but why isn’t it working? Why do we still have students who think it’s okay to oppress their classmates?
Then there is NoBully.org. Since its founding in 2003, as a means to create compassion for one another both in school and online, No Bully boasts this:
“No Bully has had a 90% success rate eliminating bullying in schools, serving 326 schools and over 200,000 students, partnering with institutions, families, parents, and students to teach the good use of power by empowering voice, compassion toward others, and inclusivity.”
That is a marvelous set of numbers to claim. Why don’t all schools have these results? What can we do to help all students realize the peace of no bullying?
We Have To Accept What Is To Mitigate Bullying
Should we hope for a 100% bully-free school? There is no harm in hope, but the reality is we can’t prevent every student from never having a negative interaction with a student in school. Despite our best efforts, it is likely that bullying will continue to happen at least on some level.
The big question is this: What can we do about it? How do we prevent lives from being ruined or lost from bullying?
What We Must Start With Makes All The Difference
There are a few things we can do today that will help to end bullying for a student as quickly as possible. For one, clearly defined rules around what behaviors constitute bullying and what their consequences are and making it as clear as possible for every student is a good start.
We all have No Tolerance Bullying Policies in our schools, but since bullying still happens and most school systems would be very reluctant to expel a student for being a bully, how “No Tolerance” are these policies anyway? What the rules are and what their consequences will be 100% of the time needs to come out of student handbooks and into paperwork that is read and signed at the beginning of every school year.
Next, documentation is vital, it’s king, it’s everything when it comes to bullying. A student may tell their teacher about an incident, a classmate about another, and their parents about another. It is hard to get the full scope of the oppression unless all of the documented instances are in one place for everyone involved in mitigating the bullying to see and act on.
If You Didn’t Document It…
- Where do you document bullying instances in your school now?
- Where do teachers report the cases?
- How do parents give their feedback on the matter?
All this valuable information is floating around in papers in folders, in emails, and recorded in notebooks. What if it was in one place?
eCare Vault is the first solution of it’s kind to tie every member of an education team together, including parents and outside resources, around a student in a secure cloud-based format for better clarity, understanding, and cohesion in an education plan, including how to mitigate bullying for student facing this kind of oppression. We’re making a good start in dealing with bullying, but we can do better by collaborating in ways that matter so we can take action sooner. Find out more about eCare Vault today.