10 Bullying Prevention Goals for Schools

Ideas for educators on addressing school bullying


School bullying is an issue facing every school in the nation. In fact, it crosses all ethnic, socioeconomic and religious boundaries and impacts every school to some degree. As a result, it has become increasingly important for teachers and administrators to take steps to address school bullying.

Aside from impacting learning and academic success, bullying also creates an environment where stress and anxiety are higher.

As a result, it is in every school’s best interest to address bullying issues in an effective manner.

For instance, this might include identifying risk factors associated with bullying, intervening quickly and efficiently when bullying occurs, assessing current bullying prevention programs and developing prevention programs that work.

But, one of the first steps in accomplishing these tasks is to establish a list of bullying prevention goals. Here is a list of the ten most important bullying prevention goals for schools.

Goal #1: Make bullying prevention a priority from the first day of school.

Be sure every student understands from day one what bullying is and that is unacceptable. Remember, every student has a right to feel emotionally and physically safe while at school. Establish classroom rules with specific examples of what is acceptable and unacceptable. Post these guidelines in every classroom and refer to them when a student gets out of line.

Goal #2: Establish intervention programs for socially vulnerable students.

Identify the most socially vulnerable students at the school and determine what makes them feel successful. Help them develop friendships and make connections at the school. Find leaders within the school that can connect with these students and mentor them.

For instance, empower athletes to prevent bullying as well as students who excel academically or who are service oriented.

Goal #3: Empower the school’s bystanders.

Teach kids how to identify bullying situations and give them tools for responding. Sometimes they will be able to intervene without adult intervention and other times they will need to get the help of an adult. Provide safe ways for them to report bullying anonymously or confidentially. The key is to break the silence surrounding bullying by making it safe for bystanders to report bullying. One way to ensure this happens is to take all reports of bullying seriously.

Goal #4: Create discipline procedures and consequences for bullies.

Discipline and consequences for bullying should always match the severity of the issue. They also should be designed so that the behavior will not be repeated. Lastly, discipline programs should be designed so that kids will be less likely to repeat the behavior again or risk more severe consequences the next time around.

Goal #5: Replace the school’s bystanders with an “Upstander Community.”

Creating an upstander community involves taking the middle 70% of students who often only witness bullying and developing a group of responders. In other words, foster leadership in these students that will encourage them to do something about bullying rather than just standing idle.

Goal #6: Ensure that teachers and administrators are committed to taking a stand against bullying.

Remember students pay close attention to how teachers and administrators respond. And if they observe you not taking bullying seriously or not responding immediately, they will assume bullying is an issue you don’t want to be bothered with. This can be detrimental to your school’s bullying prevention programs because bullies will feel empowered and victims will feel like no one cares. As a result, they will often keep silent about the bullying they are experiencing.

Goal #7: Look for opportunities to role-play, perform skits or incorporate anti-bullying messages into the curriculum.

At the beginning of the year, challenge teachers to review their curriculum and look for ways to incorporate an anti-bullying message into the curriculum. Reward teachers for being creative and for thinking outside the box.

Goal #8: Ensure that staff behavior matches core school values.

To prevent bullying, build respect and develop inclusiveness, staff must be willing to commit to matching their words and actions. This helps students learn to trust what is being said. Consequently, if staff members have cliques or bully one another, this does not build trust among students and creates a hostile environment. Remember, students observe and model the adults around them. Be sure your school is modeling appropriate behavior.

Goal #9: Develop partnerships with parents.

It is important to communicate to parents your school’s anti-bullying efforts. This not only gives a sense of comfort to parents of potential victims but it also clearly communicates to parents of potential bullies that bullying is not tolerated. Be sure they know what their roles are as partners in the anti-bullying program. When you have parent support behind a program, the hope is that it will be supported at home and will help deter some of the school bullying.

Goal #10: Challenge students to rise to new levels of behavior.

School programs and character education can challenge students to rise above their comfort zones and reduce negativity. Be sure to foster empathy and good citizenship. And find ways to challenge students to mingle with students outside of their circle of friends. For instance, some schools have found that “mix it up” days are useful because they encourage students to sit with others at lunch.

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