|Benefits of an Anti-Bullying Policy|
|Friday, 17 October 2008 18:44|
In talking to parents over the past years, it is clear that what they want most for their children is to know that they are safe at school. When a child does not feel safe at school, it affects everything else that goes on in that child's life. Many schools have an unofficial reputation for tolerating bullying. This reputation is usually common knowledge throughout the student community. In these schools more children tend to feel anxious about their personal safety and as a result many are reluctant to attend. By the time a school has a public reputation for being a "tough school", many victims have suffered in silence.
Once the issue of bullying is brought into the open by the school, and the community is made aware of the "No Bullying" policy, the school gains a reputation of being safe for all children and is seen as an active partner in taking care of children.
The benefits to students are significant as well. When children know that the school they attend actively works to make the learning environment a safe environment, and that bullying is not tolerated, they can afford to relax their guard and divert more of their attention to learning rather than staying safe. Even students who cannot be categorized as victims or bullies, but who witness bullying, feel more comfortable when they know that the school community, students, staff and administration stand together against bullying.
Regardless of what kind of school environment students have previously encountered, when they enter a school with a Zero Tolerance for bullying, students who have bullying potential usually test the policy. For this reason, it is important that the school maintains the active teaching of non bullying behaviors, and publishes school-based bullying statistics ( Appendix E). Students need to know that this is not just a 'shot in the dark', and that the policy will be reviewed and maintained each and every year.
Although it is best to have the entire school working toward a reduction in the number of bullying incidents, in situations where this cannot be achieved, classroom teachers can adopt individual programs. This is not as desirable for obvious reasons, but it is a start to tackling the bullying problem.
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