Playing pranks, cracking jokes, and having fun are a normal part of one’s childhood. But if such jokes and games become a nuisance for others, then it’s time to address the concern. With an increasing number of such cases of bullying and consequent suicides being reported, the problem has taken gigantic proportions that the United States schools and authorities can no longer ignore.
The stopbullying.gov website defines bullying as an “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.” It includes activities like spreading rumors and attacking an individual physically or verbally that disrupts his or her personal development, schooling, emotional, and mental health.
Bullying can happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. A bully can attack a child at any point of the day. A victim of bullying is always skeptical about reporting the issue to the teachers as they tend to ignore the situation and he or she is afraid of the repercussions. Therefore, it is essential on the part of the teachers and school staff to stay alert and address the problem.
This National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month that aims to spread awareness about different ways to prevent bullying, we share with you a few simple ways in which bullying can be curbed in schools:
- Help students understand what constitutes bullying: In the childhood years, schools, apart from the home, play an important role in a child’s development. It is the place where a child is nurtured and spends most of the day. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the school authorities to help students understand what is bullying, what counts as bullying and help them become aware if their behavior constitutes bullying. By doing this the authorities will help create an environment where bullying is less likely to occur.
- Create a reporting system: In order to ensure that cases of bullying are addressed properly, it is important to put a reporting system in place in schools. An established system where one can air one’s concerns openly can build confidence in kids that their issues will be addressed and at the same time create fear in the bullies misdemeanor will not be tolerated by school authorities and action can be taken against them. At the same time, counselors can be appointed who can meet the bully or the victim along with their parents, to resolve the situation.
- Keeping the parents informed: Families play an important role in determining a child’s behavior. Therefore, schools must ensure that the parents of the kids involved in bullying are apprised of their actions. Regular parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings offer a chance to interact with the child’s parents and informed them about the child’s performance, grades and behavior at school.
- Encouraging open communication: Open communication is the key to curb bullying in schools. This kind of communication will ensure that students are comfortable in discussing issues beyond academics with their teachers. It should be remembered that a child cannot always be vocal about bullying as the perpetrator might be his or her classmate. This is where non-verbal cues can play an important role. Children can be encouraged or taught to send signals to let the teacher and parents know what they are dealing with in school.
- Educating kids about bullyingSchools should plan classroom discussions to help students understand the effects of bullying. Generally, children who engage in bullying are victims of bullying themselves. Therefore, educating them about the issue can inspire them to make more positive choices and become the school’s partners in eliminating bullying.
Call for help
Bullying drastically impacts a child’s mental health. It lowers the victim’s self-esteem as well as his or her performance at school. Children who bully should learn to respect other’s feelings. It is also important for the schools to develop a zero tolerance policy against any act of bullying.
If someone you love is struggling with a mental illness, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can help you find the best available treatments for mental health disorders in Florida. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online for further details.
Read the other articles of the series based on the “National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month”: