Get an Attitude
Large or small, ethnically diverse or homogenous, urban or rural, primary or secondary: bullying occurs in every school and among students of all backgrounds. Yet some schools have a much higher incidence of bullying, while others have minimal problems. If demographic factors don't predict the incidence of bullying, what does?
The attitudes of adults make a tremendous difference in how frequently bullying occurs. School communities where adults are more likely to discuss bullying, actively work to prevent and manage instances of bullying, and create goals to stop bullying experience less of it. Although educating students about bullying is important, developing the understanding and skills school staff need to create a healthy, safe, and supportive environment is critical to shifting school culture.
As U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan remarked at last month's Bullying Prevention Summit, "The job of teachers and principals is to help students learn and grow—and they can't do that job in schools where safety is not assured." How do we ensure our schools are safe? Get an attitude! Whether you're an educator, student, guardian, neighbor, relative, or community leader, talk about bullying with each other and the young people in your community: talk about the importance of creating a school and community where students feel safe and understand the damage caused by bullying.
Join the conversation about a whole child approach to bullying prevention this month on www.wholechildeducation.org. Start by downloading this month's Whole Child Podcast. You'll hear from Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education; Penny Bisignano, Olweus coordinator for the state of Iowa; and Rachel Cole Lawson, high school guidance counselor at the Whole Child Award–winning Malcolm Price Laboratory School. Return to the Whole Child Website throughout the month for free tools, blog posts by experts, and other resources to help you address bullying in your school and community.
Learn more and stay up to date on policies and practices, data, strategies, tools, and important actions to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged by subscribing to the Whole Child Newsletter.