The Kentucky Center for School Safety has released a checklist for schools to use in reducing incidents of bullying.
“This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a good start for principals to reflect and act accordingly,” said Jon Akers, the center’s executive director. “Our website is a great resource for bullying prevention and cyberbullying prevention information as well at www.kysafeschools.org.”
The list is as follows:
1. Ensure that all staff and students are publicly exposed to and given a copy of the bullying/harassment policy. For example, have school-based administrators discuss the policy with students and staff at faculty, staff and student-group meetings within the first couple of weeks of school, as well as again periodically during the school year. Call attention to these policies in student and staff handbooks, school board policies, criminal laws, etc.
2. Describe the steps that will be taken by school officials when they receive a report or witness a child being bullied or harassed.
3. Send home a copy of the bullying/harassment policy to all parents/guardians.
4. Provide explicit instructions to students on how to report bullying offenses and where and to whom to report them.
5. Ensure that multiple drop boxes are available to students throughout the school to report incidents of harassment/bullying that they have experienced or witnessed. Monitor the boxes every three hours.
6. Display anti-bullying posters throughout the school in high-profile or high-traffic areas.
7. Hold student/teacher (advisor/advisee) meetings quarterly. Ask students privately or by survey if anyone is bothering (bullying or harassing) them.
8. Have an “after-hour” bullying tip line. (Simply use a school line and add an answering machine service to it.)
9. Conduct staff update training before the school year begins or shortly thereafter. Include certified and classified staff members in the training.
10. Conduct an in-depth training on bullying/harassment for NEW staff, both certified and classified.
11. Ask the local Chamber of Commerce to distribute literature to its membership acknowledging that bullying/harassment is a community threat (in the neighborhoods) as well as at school.
12. Publish parent/guardian responsibilities. Make certain they understand that:
- Eighty percent of bullying takes place electronically—usually by texting or on the Internet in the form of social networks such as Facebook, etc.
- Since most of the nonelectronic bullying is hidden from adults, school officials are reliant on the victims or parents to report the unobserved bullying incidents.
- Bullying is a community problem. It can happen in the school or in the neighborhood.
- Parents need to monitor their child’s activities on the Internet, on social networks and their child’s cell phone text messages – a minimum of once a week.
13. Consider meeting early in the school year with students who have exhibited bullying behavior at the school in the past and offer appropriate channels of preventative support and intervention to them for the upcoming school year.
14. Run in-school public service announcements at least once per month that deal with enhancing a bully-free environment. Check out PSAs and YouTube offerings on KCSS website.
15. Work/partner with local media outlets and encourage them to run PSAs on having a bully-free community.
16. Document all efforts that are being made to prevent and curb bullying.
The Kentucky Department of Education is also available to provide resources on bullying and to help facilitate communication between parents and school districts when bullying occurs. For assistance, you can contact Assistant General Counsel Amy Peabody in the Office of Guiding Support Services at (502) 564-4474 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or staff in the Division of Student Success at (502) 564-2116.