15 Ways to Prevent Bullying in Your Classroom

Ideas for creating a bully-free classroom

Bullying has become a serious problem for schools. From physical altercations to rumors and gossip, bullying can have lasting effects on educational achievement. As a result, preventing school bullying is of utmost importance for educators. Here are 15 ways teachers can create a safe and positive environment for all their students.

Talk through the forms of bullying with your students.

Teacher instructed class

Make sure your students know how people are affected by bullying. Work to instill empathy and emotional intelligence. Also ensure your students know the consequences for bullying others at school. They should understand that bullying is not tolerated and will be addressed.

Be visible throughout the school day.

Teacher in the hallway

Make sure your students see you anywhere bullying might occur like the bathrooms, hallways, near the buses and even in the lunchroom. Also be sure your school has proper supervision in all the bullying hot spots.

Become familiar with bullying indicators.

Teacher and student talking

Be sure you are able to recognize the six common types of bullies. Also, be aware that boys and girls often bully differently. For instance, boys often resort to physical bullying and girls are more likely to use relational bullying like ostracizing another student.

Teach students how to be effective bystanders.

teacher with students

Strive to empower the bystanders in your class. Encourage them to stand up against bullying behavior or to report it to you or another adult. Make it safe for them to report bullying incidents.

Keep your ear to the ground.

Teacher looking over shoulders of students

Victims of bullying are often afraid or embarrassed to come forward. As a result, you may need to rely on other students to let you know when bullying is occurring. Identify your class leaders early in the school year and check in with them. Let them be your eyes and ears when you cannot be present.

Maintain open communication with your students.

Teacher with two students smiling

Strive to build a rapport with all your students. Ask each of them how things are going. Watch for signs that someone might be bullying them. Do your best to find out how things are going for them.

Work with parents to increase awareness about bullying.

Group of parents meeting

Engage parents in your bullying prevention programs. Increase awareness through PTA/PTO meetings, conferences, newsletters and social media. Encourage parents to support school rules and bullying intervention strategies. If a parent reports a bullying incident, be sure to investigate it right away.

Assign students to groups instead of allowing them to choose their own groups.

Group of students
When you allow kids to pick their own groups, you are opening the door to bullying opportunities. But when you select the group, you are ensuring that kids include those outside their circle of friends. Pre-selected groups also give students an opportunity to learn how to work with different types of people.

Be an advocate for anti-bullying in your school.

bulletin board with stop bullying

Ensure that your school has an effective anti-bullying policy. Talk with other staff members about developing a culture that doesn’t blame the victim. Some people mistakenly believe that victims of bullying bring it on themselves. But bullies must always own the bullying behavior. Encourage everyone to adopt this mindset.

Respond quickly and consistently to every bullying incident.

teacher correcting a student

When you spot bullying, address it right away. Avoid normalizing bullying with statements like “kids will be kids.” If you minimize bullying, you are sending a message that bullying is OK. When you do that, kids are less likely to feel safe in school and the bullying will likely escalate.

Speak with the victim separately and privately.

teacher comforting a student

Create an environment where your student feels safe talking with you. Empathize with how he or she is feeling and provide ideas for overcoming bullying. Make a commitment to the victim to help resolve the issue.

Speak with the bully separately and privately.

Teacher with an upset student

Be sure the bully refrains from blaming the victim. Instead, encourage the bully to own his or her behavior. Address the bullying behavior and administer the appropriate discipline. Then, give the student ideas for behaving differently in the future.

Develop appropriate interventions for both the bully and the victim.

Counselor with a student
For instance, the victim may need to speak with guidance counselor to regain self-esteem. The bully may also benefit from speaking with the guidance counselor to learn better ways of communicating. But, do not have the bully and victim get counseling together.

Keep a close eye on both the victim and the bully.

Teacher with a group of students

Know whom they are with during lunch. Also pay attention to what happens on the playground and on the buses. Ensure there are no more bullying incidents.

Check in often with the victim and the bully.

teacher helping student
Ask how things are going and if they’re having any problems. Give the victim tools for dealing with future bullying incidents and for regaining self-confidence. Encourage the bully to make good choices. Don’t hold a grudge against the bully. Give the bully an opportunity to put the past in the past.

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