I attended a Safe School Training program and received a book entitled The New Bullying. It was published by Michigan State University. It is a book that discussed how social media, social exclusion, laws and suicide changed bullying. In the sixth chapter they discuss how teachers wish for more training when it comes to bullying in the school.
There are forty-nine states that have anti-bullying laws in place and many school districts are scrambling to find curriculum that they can implement to teach the students what bullying is and how to prevent it. The problem is that most teachers feel that they lack the training when it comes to understanding the meaning of bullying behavior and how to deal with it.
“I think that Pennsylvania’s anti-bullying laws in schools are somewhat effective, although I wish it was more straightforward and gave the consequences of certain actions so each school is on the same page.” Said Lauren Sady, a first, second and third grade teacher in the Philadelphia School District. She said complicated definitions of bullying can be a problem.” (The New Bullying 2012)
At my teacher-in-service programs most teachers share that their school has a “zero-tolerance policy” but when confronted with a bully situation they really don’t understand in depth as to what zero tolerance means.
Most schools instruct teachers to send the student to the office and let the administration deal with the bullying behavior. They then send the student home on suspension and never follow up or brief the teacher on what the next steps will be.
If schools want a real zero tolerance policy they need to instruct teachers what it means. They need to explain to them the consequences for a student’s aggressive behavior and what is expected of the teacher when it comes to any follow-up policies.
At my teacher training programs I have had several teachers say that they can’t clearly define the difference between goofing around and bully behavior or as one teacher asked me “what is the difference between conflict and bullying? In my curriculum and in my training sessions I spend a lot of time on this topic. They need to understand the differences so that they‘re able to implement the right disciplinary action.
“Improving student behavior and academic performance generally requires changing school climate and school culture.” University Community Partnerships@Michigan State University 2004
Teach the teachers bully prevention they will teach the students and in time there will be a change in student behavior and a safer school climate for all.
Note: Richard Paul offers teacher training visit our web site www.richardpaul.com
Copyright Richard Paul 2013