Photo credit Flickr user Twentyfour Students
As more research is conducted on bullying and bullying prevention programs, it becomes abundantly clear that bullying is a multi-faceted problem that requires an equally multi-faceted solution.
In fact, did you know…?
- 1 out of every 4 students (22%) reported being bullied during the school year.
- The top reasons given for bullying: Looks (55%), Body Shape (37%), and Race (16%).
- Students with developmental disabilities are 2-3 times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers.
- 9% of students who identify as LGBTQ were bullied in the last year based on their sexual orientation or gender expression.
- 64% of students enrolled in weight loss programs have reported being bullied.
- Bullying has been linked to low self-esteem, anxiety, high rates of school absence, and physical illness.
Here are five things your school can do to create a bully-free learning space:
1) Students and staff must work together to cultivate an environment of acceptance and respect. Studies have shown that bullying prevention programming is only effective when the entire school works together to create a positive, uplifting environment.
2) Specifically address groups that are disproportionately affected by bullying. Students that are targeted by bullies are often different or unique in some way, so it is essential that schools promote a tolerant environment for each and every student and staff member.
3) Begin defining bullying in elementary school and address it through adolescence. Especially in elementary school, students might not be aware of all the actions that can be considered harmful. It is crucial to define bullying early on so every student can identify bullying behavior in themselves and their peers.
4) Education is key. Research has shown that it is not enough to simply address bullying when it happens – it is essential that schools educate students before bullying even starts.
5) Teach students to be responsible bystanders and to intervene. Bullies and victims alike say that when a bystander intervenes, bullying is twice as likely to stop.
CLIMB Theatre knows that educating kids about bullying is a crucial part of creating a safe school climate. Our plays and interactive classes empower students to step up when they see bullying of any kind, as well as to cultivate understanding, empathy, and respect to get at the root causes of bullying. Learn more about our bullying prevention programs.