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Bullying Prevention in Schools and Interventions

  Bullying is a serious problem in schools. It is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing, aggressively dominate or intimidate someone perceived as vulnerable. It is a significant problem and antisocial behavior. It occurs most often in areas where there is little or no adult supervision. It can be as direct as hitting, threatening, and destruction of property or forcing someone to do something against their will or as indirect as rumour, exclusion or manipulation. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the person who bullies and the target youth who is bullied. Bullying is a frightening experience many youth face every day. A bully is the person who is habitually cruel, insulting or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller or in some way vulnerable. The perpetrators have greater physical or social power than their victims and act aggressively towards them by verbal, physical or social means. Bullies tend to share common traits such as aggressive, dominant and slightly lower than average intelligence. Effects Bullying can impact the victim on physical, mental or emotional levels. Some of the effects include anxiety, fear, post traumatic stress disorder, lack of self esteem, relationship issues, loneliness, insecure, increased feelings of sadness, addiction to alcohol and drugs. It leads to problems academically in addition to poor attendance and decreased academic performance. It causes feelings of helplessness, anger and frustration, mental, physical and emotional damage to all involved including bystanders. Research has shown the effects last well into adulthood. Preventive Interventions Educators can prevent bullying in schools by involving parents, teachers and children. Adopt a whole school approach. Getting everyone involved. There should be a collective action to reduce bullying behavior and respond to it appropriately. Clearly communicate policy, protocols and quality standards for bullying behaviour to all staff, students and parents. Enforce the rules across the entire school and facilitate discussions that address the problem. Identify gateway behaviours. Look out for warning signs. Have a clear definition of bullying. Educate staff, students and parents on symptoms such as name calling, stalking, ignoring or excluding, prolonged staring, laughing cruelly, encouraging others to laugh or causing physical harm. Identify this gateway behaviour to mitigate the likelihood of them growing into something more problematic. Look out for warning signs for prevention, early intervention and reporting. Teach kindness and empathy Create opportunities for connection that foster a sense of community in the classroom. Reward positive behaviour. Reinforce good behaviour and it will give them clearer understanding of expectations of what you want in a positive way. That way they will be more likely to engage in the positive behavior again. Have open communication with the students. Talk to them about their individual problems including bullying. Create a safe and supportive environment for mental health and well-being. Individual bullies and victims should receive independent counselling creating a safe and less hostile environment for students. In the classroom, immediately intervene to stop the act and inform appropriate school authorities. Parental Involvement When parents are involved and work together with teachers, the biggest difference can be achieved. Cooperate with the school to implement corrective actions and deterrent measures. Parents should instill healthy habits in your child. Teach anti bullying mindset including learning that being critical, judgmental, making hurtful jokes and spreading rumours are unhealthy and constitute bullying. Teach your child early about responsible online behaviour Be sure your child knows the best way to prevent bullying is to report it. Teach your child strategies for dealing with bullying such as walking away, telling the bully in a firm and confident voice to stop, ignore the bully, demonstrate that it does not bother them if other people point out their flaws, demonstrating self confidence, practice staying calm, not showing any feeling will discourage the bullying behaviour. Teach your child to avoid places where bullies hang, stick with friends not socially isolated, know how to escape the situation, leave the place, if the bully is physical make a lot of noise to attract attention, know how to defuse the situation and get to safety. Teach your child to speak up and report the bully to an adult. Wade in if your child is the victim. Involve yourself firmly even without being asked until the safety of your child is ensured.

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