If a school campus is serious about eliminating bullying, all staff members must be involved. This includes administrators, teachers, para-professionals, cafeteria workers, custodians, and any other adult who has a presence on campus. It is imperative that every staff member understand that without consistent intervention from all adults, it will be very difficult to decrease the number of bullying incidents at your campus. If even a small percentage of staff members decide that bullying is not an important topic and they decide to ignore it, the students will be receiving mixed messages. This confusion will lead to distrust and the problem may grow worse. Therefore, all staff members must be on board and follow the same techniques to eliminate bullying. Consistency is the key. So, what can individual staff members do to help eliminate bullying?
· Learn how to properly question children. Learning how to properly question children about their actions is a good starting point. Learning correct questioning techniques and learning the correct questions to ask reduces frustration and the chance that the bullies will deny their actions.
· Model respectful behavior. One of the most important things that individual staff members can do to promote a climate of respect is to model this type of behavior. It is quite easy to tell the students how they should behave. However, modeling this behavior can be a little more difficult but much more powerful. Treating all students equally, maintaining a positive attitude, and being patient with disruptive students sets an example about being respectful and kind to each other.
· Listen. Listening is the most important communication skill and the most difficult to master. Listening to students who come to you with a problem can be time consuming and frustrating, especially if a particular student comes to you on a daily basis with a problem. It becomes easy to ignore their requests for help. However, when a student approaches you and claims to be a victim of bullying, we cannot ignore them. If we give these students the impression that their problem is not important, they will keep the problem to themselves and they will suffer. Many students who are questioned about why they don’t report bullying behavior to an adult often say that they have told an adult in the past and they were ignored.
By using a “team” approach to eliminate bullying, schools will be much more effective. All staff members must be trained on the correct techniques to eliminate bullying. More importantly, all staff members must implement the techniques. A few staff members will not get the job done. However, if ALL staff members are involved and do their part bullying can be decreased.