Keenan Blog

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Anti-Bullying Efforts: It Takes a Village…

Kathy Espinoza 10/8/2013
Kathy Espinoza

Did you know…

Sooner or later most children will be challenged, socially, emotionally or physically. Children frequently do not tell their parents or another adult they are being bullied. Often, they believe an adult will not take their problem seriously or will handle it inappropriately. It is imperative parents and educators ensure children feel safe in school in order for them to perform to the best of their ability and achieve academically.
A school-parent partnership is the “glue” that makes bullying programs work and helps to improve the students’ academic performance. The principal needs to take the leadership role in making parent participation a high priority for his/her school.

“One of the most important factors in creating a good school is always
going to be parental involvement in its life”
                                  (U.S. Department of Education)

It’s important for school staff to view parents as resources and partners, rather than obstacles. Here are a few suggestions:

PARENTS:

  • Bullying prevention is a partnership between parents and school personnel.
  • Open communication is critical between parents and school staff.
  • When starting with the child’s teacher, don’t assume they are aware of the situation.
  • Don’t demand or expect a solution on the spot. Have your child watch you calmly and respectfully problem-solve with school personnel. Let the common ground be that you both would like to determine the best course of action.
  • A School-Wide Approach to Bullying Prevention. Research shows that the most effective method of dealing with bullying is to have the whole school involved. Approach the principal and explore what the school is doing about bullying. Review school policies and procedures with your child.

PRINCIPALS:

  • As much as possible, involve parents in developing and evaluating an Anti-Bullying policy.
  • Hold Parent Nights or discussion groups to share the policy. Invite key members of community, including the Police. Have a dialogue with parents about whether they think there is a bullying problem in school and what they think can be done to address it.
  • Invite parents of new or transferring students to a meeting focusing on the school’s anti-bullying procedures and develop the school-parent partnership.
  • Parental flyers sent to parents and available in the school office. These should provide clear information on what to do if they suspect their child is being bullied.
  • Student flyers (by grade level) that explain what students should do if they are bullied. Parents are sent a copy of this.
  • Have a named person on the staff that coordinates links with parents and has a special responsibility as a parent advocate.
  • Post on the school’s website, your anti-bullying efforts, policy and relevant information.
  • Inform parents through newsletters of relevant developments in the school, especially actions being taken to educate students about bullying.

Keenan will be participating in an upcoming conference hosted by the California School Resource Officers Association (CSROA). The San Diego conference on October 28 and 29 will feature keynote speakers Justin Patchin, Ph.D. from the Cyberbullying Research Center, who will discuss Cyberbullying and Technology Trends and John Vandenburgh from Peer Leaders, who will present on the Power of Relationships.

CSROAAt the conference, I will be presenting a session on “A Counselors Perspective on Effective Bullying Prevention Programs and Online Resources”.  Teamed with a seasoned, 30-year school counselor, Sylvia Stowers from Stowers & Associates, the session will cover how to research exceptional programs that work, steps to simple implementation, common pitfalls and areas of resistance, and best practices for gaining ‘buy in’ from teachers, counselors, parents and most importantly, the students. The session will examine a case study of a successful Bullying Prevention/Character Development program, from inception through implementation, with objective markers in place to evaluate success along the way.

You can get more information about the Conference by contacting: chlopez@sdcoe.net

The CSROA is comprised of dedicated peace officers and educators of California who readily commit their experiences, efforts, and knowledge to achieve the common goal of providing all California schools with a safe and healthy learning environment. Members of the CSROA serve California’s schools statewide, participating in various community-based prevention efforts and convene with a number of committees dedicated to recognizing the potential in today’s youth.

Resources for many of these topics can be found on Keenan’s P&C Bridge, under the School Safety Center. This center offers principals assistance with issues such as bullying, cyberbullying, child abuse, gangs, suicide prevention, emergency preparedness, and Parent Night resources.