October is National Bullying Prevention Month
National Bullying Prevention Month is an opportunity to reflect on the classroom and school culture and assess the extent to which bullying is part of that culture. It is a time to examine best practices when it comes to creating respectful school environments that foster inclusion and respect. The large body of research on effective responses to name-calling and bullying concurs that schools and other educational institutions can best address these behaviors through ongoing, comprehensive plans. These can include both intervention and prevention strategies and engage all people in the school environment: students, educators, school staff, families and other community members.
Every day in schools across the country, students are targeted by bullying based on aspects of their identity including race, religion, gender and gender identity, appearance, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc. Some of the most serious cases of bullying that occur in schools are the result of bias based on identity groups. Name-calling and bullying, like other bias-motivated behaviors, have the potential to escalate into more serious incidents of violence if they are unchecked.
How Can Teachers and Parents Prevent Bullying?
The cycle of name-calling, bullying and cyberbullying is best interrupted by others engaging in ally behavior. Educators can help students by exploring with them the range of ally-building strategies and by practicing those skills and behaviors. Students can be motivated and empowered to act as allies and help contribute to creating a positive “ally culture” at their schools. Parents and families can keep the lines of communication open by talking with their children about bullying and cyberbullying and listening to what is happening for them in school and online.
State Anti-Bullying Laws
All fifty states and the District of Columbia have passed bullying prevention legislation. This information can be useful for schools when developing their own school and district policies. ADL’s Bullying Prevention Statutes Chart provides detailed information about each state’s bullying and cyberbullying laws. The resource includes links to the anti-bullying statute and whether each includes certain requirements such as statewide model policy, cyberbullying harassment provision, procedures for reporting, notification of parents, and more.
ADL Bullying Prevention Statutes
Below are resources educators and families can use to discuss bullying and cyberbullying throughout the year in school and at home.