According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 reported being bullied during the school year in 2019. While we all want to see our children thrive in safe and inclusive learning environments, the unfortunate reality is that bullying is a serious and pervasive issue that affects many young people. It can cause a great deal of harm and distress, leading to severe emotional and psychological scars that can last a lifetime.
National Bullying Prevention Month is an annual event to prevent childhood bullying and promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. In honor of this important month, we’ll discuss essential steps both parents and students can take to fight bullying in K-12 and promote a culture of kindness, respect, and acceptance.
- Start with Education: The first step to fighting bullying is education. As a parent, you can teach your children about the different types of bullying, why it’s harmful, and how to identify it. Teach them how to spot bullying behavior, whether it manifests as verbal, physical, relational, or cyberbullying. With proper education, children can better understand this issue and become empowered to stand up against bullying. Parents can also work with schools to organize workshops, activities, and events that encourage students to speak out against bullying. Raising awareness and education about the issue can contribute to an atmosphere where children can safely disclose incidents of bullying.
- Encourage Open Communication: Encouraging open dialogue between students, teachers, and parents is essential in preventing and tackling bullying. Children should feel comfortable talking to their classmates, teachers, or parents when they experience bullying. This begins with fostering an atmosphere of trust and support within the school environment. When students are confident that they can openly discuss incidents of bullying they are more likely to seek assistance and share their concerns.
- Explore Resources: there are many resources for parents and students to explore in their bullying prevention efforts. For example, our sister company, K12, recently launched a Bullying Prevention Resource Hub that provides tools on bullying prevention, practices in kindness, and strategies for protecting mental health. Content also includes videos, quizzes, fact sheets, and more for students of all ages, resource guides for teachers and parents, live and recorded web events, and more.
- Foster Empathy and Respect: One of the best ways to combat bullying is to cultivate empathy and respect amongst students. Parents and educators can model respectful and empathic behavior, which can teach children to follow suit. Schools can encourage teamwork and collaboration between students and create a positive and nurturing learning environment. By modeling, teaching, and creating environments that prioritize respect and support, we not only prevent bullying but also nurture a generation of empathetic and respectful individuals who will contribute positively to our society.
- Teach Problem-Solving and Conflict Resolution Skills: teach students how to solve problems and resolve conflicts without any aggression. By teaching children conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, they can manage conflicts peacefully and without resorting to bullying. This can ultimately lead to more constructive conversations and positive relationships between students.
- Take Action: If you have experienced or witnessed bullying, it’s essential to take immediate action and intervene. By working quickly, you can help protect victims, halt escalations, and send a clear message that bullying won’t be tolerated at any level. Take a moment to evaluate the situation and find the best course of action. Typically, gaining details from speaking with your child is a good first step. Then, discuss the bullying with a teacher or member of the school administration. Remember, bullying is a serious issue that requires urgent attention. The sooner you take action, the better you can stop the situation from escalating.
Fighting bullying in elementary, middle, and high school requires a collaborative effort between parents, educators, and students. With so many students impacted by bullying on a daily basis, it is important that we work with one another to solve this issue. Together we can create a safe and inclusive learning environment that promotes kindness and respect.
*This October, Stride Tutoring is proud to support National Bullying Prevention Month with a special initiative. For every new 60-minute tutoring session booked and completed in October, Stride will contribute $10 to Rachel’s Challenge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating positive school cultures.*
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