As anyone who has conducted even a moderate review of the literature knows, bullying has a tremendous impact on our students and the ability of schools to teach. The pain, suffering, anguish and other negative effects of school bullying not only have a significant effect on school safety, but on school climate, culture and academic achievement as well.
We know that many school children are truant from school each day, we have seen far too many instances of students who commit suicide at and away from school due to bullying and we have many examples of students who drop out of school due to bullying. When combined with the rare instances where victims of severe bullying take hostages at school or carry out school shootings, these negative and sometimes dire situations add up to a significant school safety issue.
Whether operating from a standpoint of school crisis prevention or from the standpoint of enhancing academic achievement it makes sense to evaluate the frequency and severity of bullying in any school and then to address the determined risk level appropriately. Schools are often limited in fiscal resources to address bullying, emergency preparedness and other school safety issues. Fortunately, there are many excellent free resources for American schools.
One example of this in the area of bullying prevention are the resources available from the United States Department of Education on bullying, including the Stop Bullying Now Campaign available to schools at no cost from the United States Government. This program has received excellent reviews from a number of experts in the field of bullying prevention and is worth consideration for schools that lack funds to purchase evidence based bullying prevention programs such as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Effective bullying prevention strategies are an excellent way to improve school safety, school climate, school culture and to enhance student achievement. If you are looking for a quick list of tips that can be used to respond to bullying if you are a student, or what to do if your child is being bullied, there is a good summary of options in the article “How to Handle Bullying” from the InformEd blog.