August 26, 2010

Ten Strategies in School Bullying Prevention & Intervention

School bullying was the target of a two-day Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, USA on 11-12 Aug 2010. The bullying summit, which was being attended by government officials as well as superintendents, researchers, corporate leaders and students, looked to come up with a national plan to reduce and end bullying in schools.
Dr Susan Limber presented at this summit, where she outlined 10 best strategies that represent “best practices” in bullying prevention. The following extract was taken from the website and represents Susan’s research and experience in this area. Below this extract is some information about Enough is Enough’s latest program to address bullying in our schools and the community. We invite you to share your thoughts with us.
Susan P. Limber is director of the Centre on Youth Participation and Human Rights and professor of psychology at Clemson University. Dr. Limber's research and writing have focused on legal and psychological issues related to youth violence (particularly bullying among children), child protection, and children's rights. She directed the first wide-scale implementation and evaluation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in the United States.
Bullying is aggressive behaviour that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength.
Often, it is repeated over time and can take many forms. In many respects, research on bullying prevention is still in its infancy. Although researchers have documented success of some comprehensive programs in reducing bullying, we still have much to learn about which aspects of these programs are most important.
However, a review of existing bullying prevention programs and feedback from educators in the field led us to suggest ten strategies that represent “best practices” in bullying prevention and intervention.

1. Focus on the social environment of the school
To reduce bullying, it is important to change the climate of the school and the social norms with regard to bullying. It must become “uncool” to bully, “cool” to help out students who are bullied, and normative for staff and students to notice when a child is bullied or left out. This requires the efforts of everyone in the school environment–teachers, administrators, counsellors, other non-teaching staff (such as bus drivers, nurses, school resource officers, custodians, cafeteria workers, and school librarians), parents, and students.

2. Assess bullying at your school
Intuitively adults are not always very good at estimating the nature and extent of bullying at their school. Frequently we are quite surprised by the amount of bullying that students experience, the types of bullying that are most common, or the “hot spots” where bullying happens. As a result, it is often quite useful to assess bullying by administering an anonymous questionnaire to students about bullying. What are the possible benefits of conducting a survey of students?
  • Findings can help motivate adults to take action against bullying;
  •  Data can help administrators and other educators tailor a bullying prevention strategy to the particular needs of the school; and
  • Data can serve as a baseline from which administrators and other educators can measure their progress in reducing bullying.
3. Garner staff and parent support for bullying prevention
Bullying prevention should not be the sole responsibility of an administrator, counsellor, teacher–or any single individual at a school. To be most effective, bullying prevention efforts require buy-in from the majority of the staff and from parents.

4. Form a group to coordinate the school's bullying prevention activities
Bullying prevention efforts seem to work best if they are coordinated by a representative group from the school. This coordinating team (which might include an administrator, a teacher from each grade, a member of the non-teaching staff, a school counsellor or other school-based mental health professional, a school nurse, and a parent) should meet regularly to digest data from the school survey described in Strategy 2; plan bullying prevention rules, policies, and activities; motivate staff, students, and parents; and ensure that the efforts continue over time. A student advisory group also can be formed to focus on bullying prevention and provide valuable suggestions and feedback to adults.

5. Train your staff in bullying prevention
All administrators, faculty, and staff at your school should be trained in bullying prevention and intervention. In-service training can help staff to better understand the nature of bullying and its effects, how to respond if they observe bullying, and how to work with others at the school to help prevent bullying from occurring. Training should not be available only for teaching staff. Rather, administrators should make an effort to educate all adults in the school environment who interact with students (including counsellors, media specialists, school resource officers, nurses, lunchroom and recess aides, bus drivers, parent volunteers, custodians, and cafeteria workers).

6. Establish and enforce school rules and policies related to bullying
Although many school behaviour codes implicitly forbid bullying, many codes do not use the term or make explicit our expectations for student behaviour. It is important to make clear that the school not only expects students not to bully, but that it also expects them to be good citizens, not passive bystanders, if they are aware of bullying or students who appear troubled, possibly from bullying. Developing simple, clear rules about bullying can help to ensure that students are aware of adults' expectations that they refrain from bullying and help students who are bullied. 
For example, one comprehensive program, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (see resources section on the Web site) recommends that schools adopt four straightforward rules about bullying:• We will not bully others.
• We will try to help students who are bullied.
• We will make it a point to include students who are easily left out.• If we know someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.
School rules and policies should be posted and discussed with students and parents. Appropriate positive and negative consequences also should be developed for following or not following the school's rules.

7. Increase adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs
Bullying tends to thrive in locations where adults are not present or are not vigilant. Once school personnel have identified hot spots for bullying from the student questionnaires, look for creative ways to increase adults' presence in these locations.

8. Intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying situations
All staff should be able to intervene effectively on the spot to stop bullying (i.e., in the 1–2 minutes that one frequently has to deal with bullying). Designated staff should also hold sensitive follow-up meetings with children who are bullied and (separately) with children who bully. Staff should involve parents of affected students whenever possible.

9. Focus some class time on bullying prevention
It is important that bullying prevention programs include a classroom component. Teachers (with the support of administrators) should set aside 20–30 minutes each week (or every other week) to discuss bullying and peer relations with students. These meetings help teachers to keep their fingers on the pulse of students' concerns, allow time for candid discussions about bullying and the harm that it can cause, and provide tools for students to address bullying problems. Anti-bullying themes and messages also can be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.

10. Continue these efforts over time
There should be no “end date” for bullying prevention activities. Bullying prevention should be woven into the entire school environment.

Enough is Enough has launched the new bullying resiliency program in  schools, known as Positive Solutions. 
It is a multi-session program designed to tackle bullying in and outside the school. While it targets bullying behaviour, its outcomes can extend beyond the positive classroom to develop more robust and resilient students and community citizens. Ken Rigby, one of the most famous Australian anti-bullying experts, has contributed to the content of this project. 
Ken Rigby is an Adjunct Research Professor and an educational consultant based at the University of South Australia.Over the last ten years he has become a leading authority on bullying and peer victimisation with more than 100 refereed papers and other publications. His book "Bullying in schools and what to do about it" has been published in Australia, the UK and North America and is regarded as a standard text.
The following extract from Active Education Magazine(1) outlines  Rigby's three broad approaches that schools use in responding to bullying.
Moralistic approach

 This involves an assumption that the perpetrator of aggression is doing the wrong thing deliberately. It involves confronting the aggressor with the values of the school, an insistence upon apologies, the employment of consequences and often the involvement of parents. While it can work, it does not necessarily actively engage the aggressor and can result in a bully cynically acquiescing to demands while planning to get back at the victim in more indirect ways.

Legalistic approach

 This involves a set of rules and predetermined sanctions for breaking them. It involves no moralising but simply the consistent application of a policy. Advantages include the clear communication of expectations and the relative speed with which the policy can be implemented in individual cases. Students and parents are often involved in establishing the policy and this can make the enforcement of the rules more acceptable. Some schools have taken the underlying legal philosophy further by establishing "bully courts", including mock trials involving perpetrators, victims and witnesses, and the handing down of verdicts and relevant punishments. While the legalistic approach has been very successful, critics argue that it does not necessarily engage the perpetrators, who may still seek revenge on the victim and/or witnesses.

Humanistic approach

 Humanism views peoples basically good and having the capacity to do the right thing when they are trusted, respected and encouraged. The best-known humanistic method of dealing with bullying is the Method of Shared Concern, developed by Anatol Pikas, which sees bullies and victims invited to a series of individual and group meetings to draw up a plan for behaviour change that is followed up on to ensure it is carried out. Opinion on the efficacy of this method is divided, with critics deriding it as naive and idealistic. It very much depends on the skills of the teachers involved.


Enough is Enough proudly presents:


1. Professor Larry Owens, PhD, Aggression in schools and What to do about it. Active Education Magazine, June 2010, p 20
2. Bullying Prevention Summit 2010, USA:



  1. I thank you for maintaining this blog and for being so informative. It is 1am and I could not sleep. This is secondary to the fact that one of my children has been bullied, and not for the first time, at school. Of all things, at the school social dance. Something that everyone ought to be enjoying. While the school maintain that they will "sort it out in the morning", I worry for my son. It pains me to have seen his heart breaking once again.
    We all grow up, but when? What consequences will there be down the track for those on the receiving end of bullying? As a nurse, as a loving mother, I fear the worst..and plan to take positive action to prevent the worst from arriving.
    This blog is exactly what I needed... I shall read on and grow strength from the words. I need it, my child needs it. The World can be such a sad place.

  2. hi
    we can say that family used of any attack fallow of bullying system student sport of cyber bulling.

  3. Hi I have a child that has been bullied and he has reached the point were twice in one week he has lashed out and hit his bully. As a result my child has been punished, which i don't disagree with, but as his builly uses words not violence our school will not help. is there anything i can do to get my son help?