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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resources to Fight Bullying and Harassment at School

Discover websites, organizations, articles, and other resources for combating bullying.
By Ashley Cronin, Edutopia

Each October, individuals and organizations nationwide work together to raise awareness of bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month, an initiative of the PACER Center. Whether you are an educator, education leader, parent, or other community member, you can take action to prevent bullying and harassment by fostering a culture of caring and respect in your school, home, and community. Use the resources below to support your efforts. In addition, consider participating in Edutopia's community to share your own insights and resources about bullying prevention.

For Educators

Take a look at the infographic "Bullying: What You Need to Know," courtesy of StopBullying.gov, a U.S. government website, for information about some of the statistics behind bullying and impacts on children. As this video about a study from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) demonstrates, the effects of bullying are serious and linger well into adulthood.

The resources from StopBullying.gov address detection, preventive strategies, and effective responses. How do you know if a child is being bullied? Keep an eye out for these warning signs. Need to know what actions to take? Review these effective responses to bullying and prevention strategies. "Bullying: A Module for Teachers," from The American Psychological Association, includes a useful tip sheet, "Myths and Facts about Bullying," that addresses beliefs about school bullying not supported by current research.


Bullying Prevention Curriculum

Visit the websites below to find videos, activities, and lesson plans you can use in the classroom:

Student Leadership

The National School Climate Center (NSCC)'s "Student Leadership" includes several resources to support student leadership in creating more positive school climates, including BullyBust's Upstander Alliance Tool Kit, which can be used to promote student voice in anti-bullying efforts. PACER’s five-step guide, Unite Against Bullying – School Event Planning Guide, provides helpful information on working with students to plan bullying prevention events. The PACER Center's websites Teens Against Bullying and Kids Against Bullying are directed specifically towards teens and younger kids.

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For Parents

Check out “Bullying Prevention at Home” and “Parenting Strategies” from RFK Project SEATBELT, for tips on raising kids who care. "Creating a Safe and Caring Home" from NSCC includes guidelines for parents to help children feel safe and create positive environments for children. Looking to start a bullying prevention program at your school? "How to Start an Antibullying Program," from GreatSchools, describes how parents can get involved.

Communicating With Schools

GreatSchool's "Making Your Child’s School Safe and Supportive" details specific questions parents can ask principals or other school leaders about how a school handles issues like social and emotional learning; teaching respect; and preventing bullying, harassment, and exclusion. RFK Project Seatbelt provides additional information about “Communicating With Schools," including when and how to report bullying to schools and how to respond if your child is accused of bullying. The "10 Facts Parents, Educators, and Students Need to Know" from Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center contains "Notifying the School About Bullying — Using a Template Letter" for parents needing to communicate with schools about bullying incidents, including templates for parents of children with special needs.


What are some ways you can initiate conversations with your children about cyberbullying?

Common Sense Media's "Stand Up To Cyberbullying" is a comprehensive parent guide on everything parents need to know, organized developmentally by age and stage. In addition, the downloadable tip sheet, "Technology and Youth: Protecting Your Child From Electronic Aggression," from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the "Prevent Cyberbullying" page from StopBullying.gov include advice on specific actions parents and caregivers can take.

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School-Wide and District-Wide Approaches

Consider scheduling a staff viewing of the film "BULLY." Facing History, in partnership with The BULLY Project, has developed a free viewing toolkit, "A Guide to the Film BULLY: Fostering Action and Empathy in Schools," complete with pre-viewing and post-viewing activities; the kit also includes classroom suggestions. You can gather information to assess your current school climate with a tool such as the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) from the NSCC. Finally, there are several websites that have compiled examples of successful anti-bullying approaches. Character Education Partnership has collected examples of promising anti-bullying practices from various schools in "Promising Practices to Combat Bullying"; a searchable database includes more anti-bullying ideas that have been successful at other schools. The website for ASCD's The Whole Child initiative includes Elementary, Middle, and High School examples of anti-bullying approaches.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice approaches focus on repairing damage, rather than on blame or punishment. In “Restorative Justice: Resources for Schools,” Matt Davis has collected several guides for implementing restorative justice programs and links to helpful resources and articles. Another useful source of information on this topic is the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University.

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Social and Emotional Learning

Organizations such as the Collaboration for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) have a number of well-researched reports and other resources on their website to combat school bullying. Download and read the full 2009 CASEL report, "Social and Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention."

Cultivating Empathy

Programs like Roots of Empathy that teach perspective-taking skills and empower children to fight cruelty with empathy and kindness have shown effectiveness in decreasing aggression and increasing pro-social behaviors among students. The Empathy 101 videos, tips, and school examples from Ashoka’s Start Empathy website include ideas for cultivating empathy in the classroom and at home. For more ideas about how you can foster environments of kindness, empathy, and connection, both inside and outside the classroom, check out this Five-Minute Film Festival: Nine Videos on Kindness, Empathy, and Connection from Edutopia.

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Diversity and Inclusion

StopBullying.gov describes Risk Factors for bullying, including information about at-risk populations such as LGBT youth and youth with disabilities and special health needs. At the website for GLSEN, you'll find a wealth of anti-bullying resources for addressing anti-LGBT bullying and harassment; make sure to download GLSEN's report "From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America — a National Report on School Bullying." The First Amendment Center provides a downloadable framework, "Public Schools and Sexual Orientation: A First Amendment Framework For Finding Common Ground," for diverse communities to bridge their differences to address issues such as sexual orientation and school safety within public schools. The Special Needs Anti-Bullying Toolkit from The BULLY Project includes resources for educators and parents related to children with special needs.

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Suicide Prevention

"Suicide and Bullying," an issue brief from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), discusses the relationship between bullying and suicide among children and adolescents, including recommendations, with a special focus on LGBT youth. Initiatives like The Trevor Project focus on crisis and suicide prevention among kids in the high-risk LGBT student population. All teachers should review the Trevor Project's list of warning signs.

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Originally Published February 24, 2010

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