How schools can get more serious about bullying (and they should)

Schools around the country know they have a bullying problem but are not always sure what to do about it. Many of them have tried various anti-bullying campaigns, but it simply isn’t enough. More needs to be done to get things under control and create a safer, more pleasant school atmosphere. To help them do it, one group is challenging schools nationwide to take their anti-bullying campaign up a notch and get more serious about it. They are ready to help them do it, too.

“There is a good chance that your school is not doing enough, and it’s time to make a change,” said Kirk Smalley, co-founder of Stand for the Silent. “Make this the year the climate in your school gets changed so that bullying isn’t tolerated.”

Stand for the Silent was born out of the tragedy that followed Smalley’s 11-year-old son taking his own life due to bullying. He and his wife, Laura, started the organization, turning their pain and loss into a mission of helping others.

Today, he travels the country giving presentations about bullying to schools, providing bullying prevention, giving out scholarships, offering intervention strategies and more.

Schools are an excellent place for addressing bullying because a lot of bullying occurs there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-in-five high school students report being bullied on school property.

It’s an issue that schools from coast to coast have to contend with if they want to protect the best interest of their students and create a safer, more welcoming climate.

Here are some ways that schools can get more serious about anti-bullying
Get parents involved. Research has shown that parents have a lot to do with whether or not their child turns out to be a bully. Schools must include parents if they want to do away with bullying on their campus. Holding informational meetings for parents, providing free parenting classes, etc., can go a long way toward reducing bullying at school.

Set the tone. If nothing is said about what the intentions are at the school, then the students will be in control of the climate. That gives bullies a free reign over the classroom and school campus. Letting everyone know the expectations and policies will help set the tone. Teachers and school staff should lead by example and diligently address any issues.

Get excited about it. Schools can hold an anti-bullying kick-off event to get the information out to the students and get everyone excited. Challenge the students to help create a great environment where they will spend many hours per week. Let them know that they can influence the climate for the better. Get everyone at the school involved, including students, teachers, staff, etc. According to the National Association of School Nurses, the school nurse’s role includes preventing bullying and identifying students who are bullied or who bully others.

Determine effective interventions. A lot of discussion goes into what types of interventions are effective. Research published in the journal Psychology, Health & Medicine reports that there has been significant research on anti-bullying interventions, including school-based programs. They say the programs are often practical and can help reduce bullying incidents at the school. They suggest that school programs must be long-lasting and intensive to have the desired effects. Some of the components that must be involved for it to be effective include providing parent training/parent meetings, teachers having a clear policy about it and following it, and disciplinary methods. They also recommend mobilizing bystanders to respond to the bullying rather than simply being a witness to it.

“We have worked with many schools nationwide to help them with their bullying campaigns,” adds Smalley. “It is our mission to get involved and help. Our work could save lives and help create a better campus environment for all.”

Smalley and his wife, Laura, started the organization following their 11-year-old son ending his own life due to bullying. They turned their pain and loss into a mission of helping others. He travels the country giving presentations about bullying to schools, providing bullying prevention, giving out scholarships, offering intervention strategies, and more. Those interested in getting involved can start a chapter of the group in their area, obtain a free K-2 bullying prevention curriculum  or cyberbullying handbook for parents, host a presentation at their school, and donate to help support the cause. To get more information, visit the site at: https://standforthesilent.org/

About Stand for the Silent
Started in 2010, Stand for the Silent is an organization on a mission to help eliminate bullying nationwide. Kirk and Laura Smalley founded the group after their child took his own life due to bullying. They offer free resources for parents and educators and travel to schools to host presentations. They have been to over 6,025 schools and spoken with more than 4.15 million students. To get more information, visit the site at: https://standforthesilent.org/.