Thursday, February 2, 2012

20 Innovative Ways Schools Are Combating Bullying

February 1st, 2012 by Staff Writers at Online College Courses.

Bullying always has been a terrible problem plaguing schools in America and beyond, but it took a tragic epidemic of high-profile victim suicides for anyone to actually care about curbing the issue. Now that people are finally beginning to realize that treating one another like garbage over petty details might not be the best thing for students, parents and school districts alike are formulating various strategies to put an end to the madness. Some are actually incredibly innovative, although some of the more traditional methods boast their own benefits as well.

  1. Incorporating babies into the classroom

    Infants, come to find out, can be useful for reasons other than producing poo and barf seemingly on command. Toronto-based Roots of Empathy and similar organizations have started introducing babies into classroom settings with the hopes of encouraging students to build compassion. And so far, it's actually yielded results — participants tend to loosen up and pay closer attention to lessons and each other, lessening bullying instances in the process.
  2. Comic books

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Stop Bullying initiative printed up comic books to distribute to kids with the hopes of shedding light on a serious issue. Other schools have run with the concept by asking students to write and draw scenes or stories of their own. Visualizing the realities makes it easier for younger kids to recognize the problem and either intervene or fetch a caring adult.
  3. Film

    Similar to the comic book example, some schools have opted to show movies such as The Bullying Project and foster discussions between students, faculty, staff, and parents about the roots and solutions. More resourceful institutions might want to challenge kids — especially teens — to shoot short films of their own. Doing so will not only help bring forward real experiences and perceptions, but offer a sort of creative solace to bullying victims as well.
  4. Have students teach one another

    If babies are unavailable, try establishing (monitored!) programs where students sit down with one another and simply talk. Areas with very diverse demographics could especially benefit from such exchanges, because cultural misunderstandings and stereotypes do often feed into bullying situations. In addition, this structure can also be adapted into a peer counseling service, nurturing a sense of connection and community dissuading brutality.
  5. Bulletin boards

    Younger children with a preference for bright colors and engaging visuals might benefit greatly from learning about the bullying problem via bulletin boards. Kits are available through various vendors, or teachers can put their design skills to good use with something more original. Involving the students themselves in the creation process will only add to the education factor, encouraging them to speak up while speaking out.
  6. Apps

    iPhone users suffering beneath a bully's grip now have the free A Thin Line app at their disposal — and those who do not own the smartphone enjoy the same perks on the accompanying website. MTV sponsors this digital discussion by allowing kids and teens to share their own experiences with unwanted advances and harassment. For the adults, they post numerous resources and questions to help them combat the serious issue at the authority level.
  7. Puppet shows

    Pacer's KIDS AGAINST BULLYING program hosts puppet shows in schools as a means of teaching the younger set why bullying is unacceptable. Schools without the funding or resources to bring the initiative to their students can stage their very own performances using what's on hand — or task students with writing their own. Beyond puppetry, the same concept also works when presented as a skit or short play.
  8. Peer intervention

    Training students to serve as peer counselors and advocates bridges gaps with the faculty and promotes greater understanding in the classroom. Pacer and other anti-bullying organizations burst with excellent suggestions about the best ways to nurture leadership and empathy skills needed to reach out the bullies and the bullied alike. After all, as the next innovation reveals, sometimes the perpetrators need intervention for more than just their behavior problems.
  9. Therapy

    Many — not all — bullies lash out at their peers because of issues at home or within themselves, and the most effective schools realize they need as much (if not more) counseling than their victims. In Charleston, a partnership between Alice Birney Middle School and Medical University of South Carolina has started providing various psychological services for ill-behaved kids. When combined with a rigorous education regimen, their bullying rate decreased as more and more students received the mental help needed to be a more productive citizen.
  10. Coordinating with sexual assault awareness, prevention, and crisis organizations

    Another fruitful partnership that quelled the bullying issue understandably involves anti-violence shelters and schools themselves. In Austin, SafePlace, which serves as a shelter for victims of rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse, and a half-dozen public elementary schools teamed up for a CDC- and University of Texas-sponsored program dubbed Expect Respect. Unlike many other initiatives, it focuses on bullying in its myriad forms, comparing and contrasting instances on and off campus.
Kathy Stemke's websites: Helium Education Articles: Education Articles: Follow me on twitter: Follow me on Facebook:!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile Follow me on LinkedIn:


  1. This is a great post. I can not wait until The Bully Project comes out. It is really a wonderful film that hopefully brings to light what it really feels like when people do those things to others. Interesting about bring babies into the classroom. I did a week long project on my blog about Bullying. It is an extremely important cause to me since I was bullied from elementary school till the day I graduated from High School. Thank you so much for sharing this. I wish more blogs would talk about this subject in detail.

  2. Thanks for your comment Jenny. As a retired teacher I know how important the subject of bullying should be.