October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and schools across the country are engaging in dialogue, developing policies and taking action to raise awareness about bullying and to foster school environments that are safe and supportive.
While bullying is an issue throughout the year, there are a number of great organizations using this month to draw attention to bullying, with campaigns, special events and resources schools can use to educate students and families about bullying and empower them to take a stand. We’ve gathered some of them here for you, as well as some tips for how technology can help in the ongoing prevention of bullying in our schools.
PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center
Founded in 2006, this organization actively leads social change to prevent childhood bullying, so that all youth are safe and supported in their schools, communities and online. Some of PACER’s resources and events for National Bullying Prevention Month include:
1) Create A Unity Tree. A Unity Tree is a fun, interactive, hands-on activity that creates a shared experience and promotes the positive message that together we can drive social change. Each student and teacher contributes their own unique experiences, creative ideas and strategies by writing positive messages on leaves that are attached to the tree.
2) October 24 is Unity Day – Wear Orange! This is PACER’s signature event to raise awareness of bullying and support an environment of kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Check out their event page for some great ideas for how your school can participate in Unity Day.
3) Toolkits and Lesson Plans. For elementary schools, PACER offers single day/event, week-long and year-long lesson plans and toolkits. And they offer similar toolkits for middle and high schools with single day/event, week-long and the year-long We Will curriculum. These great resources help schools maintain awareness and prevention of bullying.
4) Website Resources for Students. The Kids Against Bullying site provides fun tools for elementary school age kids to learn about bullying and what they can do to prevent it. Teens Against Bullying addresses in more depth the serious issues around bullying for middle and high school age students. Students can Take the Pledge to make a commitment to support others who have been hurt or harmed and to treat others with kindness.
STOMP Out Bullying™
STOMP Out Bullying is another bullying prevention organization dedicated to changing the culture for all students. Through celebrity campaigns, media events and a HelpChat line for kids and teens, the organization works to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying and other digital abuse as well as educating against homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, racism and hatred and violence in schools, online and in communities across the country.
5) Educators Toolkit. This toolkit includes resources for administrators and teachers to foster dialogue and use Social Emotional Learning methods to teach and change the social environments in schools. It also includes online educator and student participation toolkits.
6) Parents Page. Their Parents Page includes a long list of resources for parents to learn about bullying and cyberbullying, harassment, hazing and other related issues. It provides links for parents to learn about how and why some children bully as well as resources for what to do if their own children are being bullied or are bullying others.
Using technology to address bullying
While technology has facilitated a whole new type of bullying (cyberbullying) technology also has the potential to transform how we engage, detect and protect against all forms of bullying.
7) Digital Collage. Instead of (or in addition to) creating a physical Unity Tree, create a class-wide digital collage using a shared OneNote class notebook. Ask students to each contribute their own message about what they will do to protect against bullying. Or make it a visual collage by assigning students to draw, photograph, upload or link to images that represent kindness and inclusivity.
8) Sway the Culture. Sway for Education is designed to help students easily create and share interactive content. Use it for class assignments like presentations or speeches about how each student can contribute to stopping bullying.
9) Start a Teams Discussion. Start a discussion topic in Microsoft Teams focused on bullying or ideas for creating a more inclusive culture.
10) Skooler’s Antibully Feature. Students can be reluctant or afraid to report bullying. This new feature in Skooler allows students to easily and privately report when bullying has occurred, bringing awareness to teachers and administrators so they can follow up with the student. Just the appearance of this feature on the student’s dashboard signals that the school is serious about bullying.
Here’s a sneak peek at this new functionality:
The student simply selects the Antibully feature in their Skooler Dashboard.
Here they can report when and where the bullying happened, what kind of bullying they experienced and whom they would be willing to speak to about it.
The student gets an acknowledgement that the incident has been reported. And the appropriate school administrators and teachers receive the incident report.
This US government website provides current information on bullying, state laws and policies as well as continuing education training for teachers, administrators, childcare providers, health and social workers and leaders in businesses and non-profits. It also includes resources for schools and for kids to learn what they can do to help prevent bullying and stay safe.
Together, using the great tools and resources we have at our disposal, we can take a stand against bullying and help prevent it by creating a safe, kind and inclusive culture in our schools.