Creating an Anti-Bullying Program in Your School Step 1
In Step 1, you need to examine in a broad manner why kids are being bullied at your school. Let’s identify reasons why children, teens and people in general are often bullied.
Survey your domain and figure out what is going on. It’s all about observing the way children interact with each other. Are they loud, pushy and obnoxious? Walk the halls before and after school as well as in between classes. Keep your eyes open, be alert and make eye contact. People that make eye contact find it more difficult to misbehave when they think someone is watching them. Remember this is a constant job. You can’t just check out the scene once and go on about your day. You have to be present every day as often as possible, because the one time you slack off, don’t watch, observe or keep your eye on things, is the time that something will happen or someone will misbehave.
So you are set to observe the happenings of your school. Here’s what to look for as a start.
Are kids ganging up on someone that is smarter than they are?
Are larger kids ganging up on smaller kids?
Are boys following around the pretty girls and harassing them?
Are well-dressed children bothering the one’s that aren’t so well dressed?
Are the jocks ganging up on the kids that didn’t quite make it into a sport?
Are there children otherwise enabled in your school that use crutches, a wheelchair or cane?
Do the children with blonde hair dislike the child that has purple hair?
Do the short kids find ways to annoy the tall kids and vice versa?
Do the honor roll students make fun of those that don’t quite make the grade?
Making fun of sexual orientation often starts in middle school. Prior to middle school kid’s might try to use words and expressions that they have over heard from adults or older siblings but they generally don’t have the background to understand the meaning.
That is just a little bit of what you should consider. It is overwhelming and more than one or even two people can handle. It is a system-wide job. Everyone on your staff must observe, watch and report back during a general safety meeting where all staff is present, what they observe, hear and take note of during the days at school. This should be a safe place to report bullying to the school administration. Most instances of bullying go unreported because of fear of reprisal. What if they find out I told? What will they do to me next? It is a cycle of fear. There has to be a safe way for each member of your school society to report instances of bullying that are beyond their scope so that they can be handled appropriately.
That said a meeting is one way of reporting and discussing current incidents. Another way that can be utilized by students, teachers, parents and other staff is via e-mail. If they want to remain anonymous, a box where notes can be left in a secure place is another option. My point is that everyone must feel safe to speak their mind and report the incident without fear of reprisal.
So, that’s quite a bit to think about and we haven’t even gotten to the anti-bullying program to put in place yet. You can go off on your own and make up your own program but there are programs out there with proven success. We’re going to look at Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel Joy Scott was the first person killed at the Columbine School Shooting in Colorado, April 20, 1999. Remember Rachel’s name as we move forward. She has had a profound effect on millions of people since her life ended prematurely on that date. As we discover who Rachel was and what she did in her short time here on Earth, you will gain a profound respect for the person that she was. Some are wise beyond their years and Rachel truly was.
At the age of 11 in 1993, Rachel made the decision to commit herself to Jesus Christ. This happened after a visit to her Aunt and Uncle’s Church. She felt secure in her beliefs and chose this path for herself. Rachel’s family watched through the years as she struggled with self-esteem issues as do many teams, struggled to keep her own self out of tempting situations where alcohol was served and even break off serious relationships where physical intimacy may have eventually entered into the picture. Rachel watched as her close friends one by one dropped away all because of her increasing commitment to her faith. Others at school also mocked her faith and her involvement, even the two shooters. Rachel talked about this in a letter to a relative where she basically stated that now that she was walking the walk and talking the talk, people were offended and frankly she didn’t know why but felt it was worth the trade off. At such a young age, finding anyone secure enough about themselves or their beliefs is very difficult to find. Rachel was that girl. After her death, her family made it more apparent to those that had never met her. Read on to discover more about Rachel, her family, her commitment and Rachel’s Challenge.