Below is the start of a roadmap to addressing bullying in schools. Input is welcome. The goal is to come at bullying from three directions: targeting the children, targeting the data, and targeting the day-to-day reality on the ground.
1. Implement positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) for each school.
2. Ensure that the district has a tracking system to monitor behavioral patterns, such as the Schoolwide Information System (SWIS). This has been touted as a cover-your-ass system for districts to ensure that they’ve responded to bullying complaints, but its use as a way to monitor for patterns and problem areas cannot be overlooked.
3. Invest in a school resource officer, at least part time and daily, for every school. They are the link between adults and children, rules and real behaviors. This officer could, with the school counselor, be the point person for bullying complaints from children or parents, thus being aware of the tide of interaction in the hallways where they work. This approach also offers a specific point-person on each campus for mediating bullying issues.
Any plan involving these factors must also incorporate a policy of acceptance (not only tolerance) of all people, regardless of differences of any kind. Period.