Best Practices: Bully Prevention
- The district has a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that fosters safe and inclusive schools and provides effective methods for reporting bullying.
- The district anti-bully policy is informed and updated as needed based on student surveys and legal precedent.
- Staff, parents, and students are made aware and assessed of student survey findings. Student surveys are assessed regularly and anonymously. Questions will focus on when, where, how bullying occurs; how students feel about reporting bullying to an adult, and how they feel about witnessing bullying.
- School policies offer explicit protection to students who may be bullied based on base, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, disability, socio-economic status and other protected classification. These policies also address the use of homophobic and other biased language.
- Each school has a Bully Prevention Team to coordinate anti-bully efforts.
- Staff, parents, and students are aware of different forms of bullying, including relational aggression and cyber bullying.
- Each school tracks incidents of bullying and harassment and subsequent steps to address these issues, including steps taken to change the behavior of the bully.
- All staff members regularly receive staff development to identify and intervene in bullying incidents. Staff are aware of “bully hotspots” and the importance of an adult presence in these places.
- Students are encouraged to seek out staff whom can provide extra support and care if students are being bullied or harassed due to race, sexual orientation, national origin or other reasons.
- Students are encouraged to take an active role in bullying prevention and intervention efforts.
- Bully Prevention is an integral part of the school environment, in the form of displays, posters, discussions, announcements, messages, and activities.
- The school district and school buildings partner and collaborate with the parents and community. The stronger the partnerships, the more likely bully prevention programs will be successful.
- Develop cultural competency skills and strategies. Assessing and managing bullying prevention programming through the lens of cultural competency will help identify the work that needs to be done to create a healthier social climate in schools and other youth-centered environments.
Many of us have experienced bullying at some time in our lives. In fact, many people believe that bullying is an inevitable part of childhood, that it is harmless and that bullies eventually grow up and quit their bullying behavior.
Bullying is NOT a normal part of childhood. It is NOT harmless.
Childhood bullies often grow into adult bullies with serious problems. Victims of bullying may suffer serious consequences.
It's time to put an end to bullying.
What is bullying?
The Anoka-Hennepin School Board has adopted the following defintion of bullying.
"Bullying" means any written, verbal, or electronic expression, physical act or gesture, or pattern thereof, by a student that is intended to cause or is perceived as causing distress to one or more students and which substantially interferes with another student's or students' educational benefits, opportunities, or performance. Bullying includes, but is not limited to, conduct by a student against another student that a reasonable person under the circumstances knows or should know has the effect of:
- harming a student;
- damaging a student's property;
- placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property;
- creating a hostile educational environment for a student; or
- subjecting a student to ridicule, embarassment or social isolation.
Bullying is not harmless.
- Young people who are bullied are at greater risk for problems such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem and they are more likely to have problems as adults. In fact, a federal workplace survey of adults found that bullying can interfere with one's ability to be productive at work.
- Bullying can interfere with a student's ability to concentrate in school. As students who are bullied move into middle and high school years, they may skip school to avoid being bullied.
- Youngsters who bully others often have problems throughout their lives. Studies have shown that childhood bullies are three times more likely than others to be convicted of a crime by age 30 and less likely to finish post-secondary school and get a new job.
Bullies may use chat rooms and Web sites to start rumors or write mean comments. Cell phone text messages can be used to send harassing comments. Bullies can be anonymous in cyberspace, and may feel like they can't get caught. Usually a simple investigation can reveal the source of a harassing e-mail or on-line posting. If on-line harassment and bullying cause disruption in school, teachers and staff will intervene- even if home computers are used to post or send messages. Cyber-bullying should always be reported to school staff, even in cases when the school cannot get directly involved. Records of bullying incidents can establish a pattern.
Bullying is not tolerated in Anoka-Hennepin Schools.
- Anoka-Hennepin has an bullying prohibition policy that includes cyberbullying.
- Students are encouraged to report bullying. The district has a special form for recording the incident and documenting follow-up.
- Students who bully others will be disciplined and will get help to understand their behavior and what they can do about it.
- Students who are bullied will learn how to handle a bully and how to report the incident.
- Students who observe others being bullied will learn what they can do to intervene.
- School bus drivers use a bullying and harassment reporting system.
- Workshops for staff and parents are available and are offered regularly.
- Our schools continue to reinforce Anoka-Hennepin's Core Values: Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Integrity, and Appreciation of Diversity.
- Our schools offer a variety of programs to help students learn to respect each other.
Oct. 19, 2011 Staff Development Day Information
Below is an mp3 recording by Dr. Jinger Gustafson to introduce the Oct. 19 building time that is dedicated to anti-bullying information. During back-to-school workshop week this year, teachers and other staff met in small groups to provide feedback and insights into anti-bullying efforts: what works and what is needed. Thousands of individual comments were received and reviewed. Dr. Gustafson will explain what came out of this extensive information collection effort.