10 Great Ideas to Bully-Proof Your School
Thanks for requesting this Free Report. You’ve taken the first step in Dramatically Reducing Bullying at your school. These are the first 10 of a series of 28 great action ideas that you can implement at your school. Some are fun, some are more serious.
IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to implement all of these “action-items” at once. Read through this entire article and pick and choose the one’s that are right for your school. ONE AT A TIME!
Oh, also important – Clear it with your principal before starting any of these actions.
Remember, Bully Prevention is a year-round venture. There is no single solution. The more you do throughout the year, the better the results. Here we go…
Great idea #1
What’s Your Bully Prevention Policy? – Kick-off the year with a comprehensive bullying prevention policy and advertise it to the students and parents.
Your school or district may already have a policy in place. They may even have an entire program that needs to be dusted off and put into place. Ask your principal. He or she will know.
Once you get a hold of the policy, make a “Quick Tip” summary for both the students and the parents. Make copies for the teachers to use with the students. You can even send an email blast or make copies to send home to the parents. This shows both the parents and the students that you’re working to make your school better.
Great idea #2
The Bullying Incident Report Form – Create a “Bullying Incident Report Form” for teachers and/or parents to fill out if their child has been the victim of a bullying incident. Some schools already have this available. If so, make sure students, staff and parents KNOW that it’s available. This gives your staff the information they need to take the appropriate action. If there isn’t one, create it.
To put it together simply create a form with the following fill-in-the-blank information:
Name of Student
Location of Incident
Other Children Involved
Description of the Incident
Action Taken (for the teachers to fill out)
Result (to be filled out by the teacher)
That’s it. A super simple way to get things in writing and get away from any misunderstandings or miscommunication. Oh, and make sure to tell the students, parents and staff that it’s available (I know I already said that, but I thought I’d just say it again.)
Great idea #3
Hot Spots – A “HOT SPOT” is somewhere in the school where bullying is occurring most frequently. It could be a hallway, the teather ball court, or even a particular bathroom. If you’ve implemented the Incident Report, you already have a pretty good idea of where these hot spots are. If not, your principal should know from the verbal reports he/she has gotten from the teachers.
The solution? Rearrange the staff so that these hot spots are covered by adults. It really is that simple. Kids are way less likely to bully when an adult is around.
Great idea #4
Getting Parents Involved – When we talk about covering those hot spots, I get a lot of folks saying that they don’t have additional staff to cover them. I completely understand! With budget cuts and all, it seems impossible.
Here’s the solution. Ask for parent volunteers. Request that parents volunteer 1 day per month to add additional eyes on campus. If you have 500 students, that means you have at least 500 parents. If only a few parents volunteer, you will have at least a few extra sets of eyes during lunch and recess times.
You can advertise it in your school newsletter or email as part of your “Ongoing Bully Prevention Program”. Continually ask throughout the year. You will get response and it’ll help a lot.
Great idea #5
Getting Students Involved– This has proven VERY EFFECTIVE in elementary schools around the country.
Here’s what you do. First, assign 3 or 4 students as a Bully Prevention Crew. Have them name it something cool. Maybe B-Crew-4-U or something the student body can relate to. Student council members are great for this.
The crew will work together to create anti-bully campaigns to present to and get other students involved with.
Great idea #6
What Can the Student Bully Prevention Crew Do? – There are lots of projects that your Student Crew can do. I’ll go over just a few in this article.
The first is…
Make A Movie
Most students and their families have video recording and editing capability on their phones. Many know how to do an easy edit. And they LOVE doing it.
Here’s what you do:
Step #1) Supervise your crew in writing a simple Bully Prevention Script – Quick intro, a few scenarios, then a quick summary.
Step #2) Cast students from the school in the video.
Step #3) Students shoot the video.
Step #4) Edit the video. Make sure to create the credits (students love seeing their name on-screen).
Step #5) Have your Student Crew present it in an assembly.
A very creative and effective project. The students love doing it and seeing their friends in a movie. And you’ll have it forever. Super cool!
Great idea #7
The Pledge – Schools across the country are taking a “Bully No More” or “Bully Free School” pledge. Here’s what you do:
1.) Write a quick pledge for the students to sign. It can be very simple. Line items can be things like: “I will not put down, hurt, or otherwise belittle another student” and “I will report it to an adult when I see someone getting “bullied” and more. Make sure there’s a place for the student to sign.
2.) Have an assembly where you (or the principal), along with your Bully Prevention Student Crew introduce your brand new “Bully Free School Pledge”. Call it something cool that the students can relate to.
3.) At the assembly, invite students to sign the pledge to help create a bully free school.
Important: Make sure that only students that are serious about keeping up the pledge actually sign it. How do you do that? When introducing it, simply say something like “Only sign this pledge if you are serious about sticking to it. I won’t pressure anybody to sign. But I want to make sure that if you do, you are willing to stick to it.” This makes it NOT mandatory, but kind of adds pressure for the students to be serious. It also gives your principal leverage later if an incident does happen. You have a signed agreement!
Great idea #8
Spreading the word with T-Shirts – This sounds very simple, and it is. But it can also be a money-maker for the school. You’ve already figured out a great name for your Bully Prevention Student Crew. Now, have them create a cool saying/logo to put on a t-shirt. It can be the word “Bully” with a slash through it, or say “A Bully Free School Rules!” or some such saying. They’ll be much more creative and hip (yes, I said hip) than you or I.
Then, have T-shirts printed and have them available for sale. You can even mark them up a bit for your troubles. Spreading the word and making a bit of money for your PTA/PTO. Not a bad deal.
Great idea #9
Bully Awareness Week – Although the subject of Bully Prevention should be visited and re-visited all year long, a lot of schools put aside a specific week to promote Bully Prevention. Some make it a Blue-Ribbon Week (originally reserved for prevention of teen suicide, but somehow morphed into the week of non-violence that somehow morphed into bully prevention week), some choose other colors.
Schools have all sorts of activities that are “related” to bully prevention. But this is the perfect time to introduce your new Bully Prevention campaign or policy and get the students and staff working in the same direction.
Here’s a list of MANY activities that other schools have done. The list should give you some ideas.
Of course, the first is to have a great Bully Prevention Assembly. There are others, but yes, “The Bully Game” is definitely the way to go here.
- Invite the Mayor of your city to speak at your school about bullying (great press).
- Be a Hero not a Zero day – Dress as your favorite hero.
- Bully Free and College Bound Day – Wear your favorite college colors.
- Be a Buddy not a Bully – Pair older students with younger students to read them simple bully prevention books (there are lots on www.amazon.com). By the way, this creates an awesome bond with a lot of students and promotes harmony in the school.
- Short Story Day – Have the students write and illustrate a short story about bullying.
- Anti-Bullying Graffiti Wall – Cover a wall with paper and let them go to town. They love this one.
- Have each class list ways to be kind to each other. Show the entire list at the end of the week on a big screen or display it in the cafeteria.
- Turn Your Back on Bullying Day – Wear your clothes backwards.
- Purchase and have the students wear Anti-Bullying wrist bands or other bully prevention items such as bandanas, ankle bracelets etc… Be careful of gang colors.
- Decorate your school with yellow ribbons (or whatever color you decide)
- If you have a chain link fence, place colored plastic cups in the fence to spell out your slogan.
These are just a few ideas. You can brainstorm with your PTA/PTO, student council or Bully Prevention Student Crew. Many minds are always better than one.
Get the Parents Involved – Make a list of each activity that your students will do each day and send it home to the parents. The parents will help the students get ready for each day and they’ll look forward to it every year. And, as an added bonus, the parents will know that you’re doing something special for the children.
**** Oh, one last little note on this. I know a lot of schools do one specific week for bully prevention. And then they put the subject on the shelf until next year. Don’t let this be you! Students should be reminded, and the subject should be introduced and reinforced year-round. That’s the only way to make a real difference.
Great idea #10
Getting Local Businesses to Sponsor Anything – “I want to do lots of activities throughout the year, but my PTA/PTO has no money or very little. Certainly not enough to provide incentives for the students to thrive in ANY extra-curricular activities.” This is the sob story of almost every school in the country. And for good reason. With budget cuts and state tax measures, the schools are getting less and less money. And families can afford less and less for those wrapping paper and cookie dough fundraisers. The bottom line is that the bottom line has hit rock bottom. But there is a solution.
Enter our hero – The Local Business
Local businesses love to promote themselves to schools. Look at it from their perspective. With just a small donation of services, products or gift certificates (some they wouldn’t even use anyway), they can reach 100s of students and parents. It’s great publicity for the business and it promotes goodwill.
With a little bit of footwork on your part (or your sponsor committee head), the proper form, and a little due diligence, you can get almost anything.
Here’s the step by step process to getting sponsors.
- Have a specific event or project to present to the business for them to sponsor. Usually anything on bullying is a pretty easy sell. But make sure you’re very specific with the event/project.
- Create a Donation Request Letter for perspective businesses. Remember, you may not want to use the word “Bully” when talking to your students, but that word goes a long way with donations.
- Research local businesses near your school. And don’t be afraid to think big. You’re just as likely to get the local Vons or Albertsons, or even Big Sports Team to sponsor you as you are the local Mom and Pop shoe shop.
I’ve seen Dodgers and Angels baseball tickets, zoo tickets, free Chick Filet and Burger King certificates, bubbles, flashlights, glowing key chains and just about every other type of prize you can imagine. Don’t be shy. The more you ask for, the more you’ll get.
Make a quick phone call to find out THE NAME OF THE PERSON IN CHARGE OF DONATIONS TO SCHOOLS. Make a list of those.
Here’s the part where you need to do a little leg work. You can mail the letters to the businesses. But the truth is that you’ll get very little response. You’ll be much more successful if you get on the phone, make sure the contact is there, and personally visit the business. If it’s a super large company (Baseball team etc.) then an appointment may be necessary. If it’s smaller (Vons, Albertsons, local mom and pop), then walking in is best. Walk in, ask for the contact, and make your pitch.
If they say yes, then negotiate the donation right there on the spot. If they say no or maybe, say thank you very much, give them the letter and leave.
**** Follow up with a phone call – This is of the utmost importance. If they say no or maybe, chances are they put your letter away, never to be found or looked at again. A quick phone call will refresh the idea in their mind and give you another opportunity for negotiation. If they still say no, then let it go. If they still say maybe, make another follow-up call. Keep calling those maybes until they turn into yeses.
Final few notes on donations:
First note: Some companies will simply help because they want the goodwill, the tax write-off and they think it’s the right thing to do. Some will want something in return. During the negotiation, if they ask for something in return, be prepared to offer them advertising at your school. Whether it’s on the back of the gift certificate, an announcement at your assembly, or something printed in a program or on a T-Shirt or such. Be prepared with an offer. This will help a lot!
Second note: Most local organizations have a limit to what they can give, so don’t go back to the same organization too often. It can be better to have 10 donors contributing small amounts than one footing the whole bill, in case the one organization is unexpectedly unable to help next time.
Third and last note: Remember, some of the parents of the students at your school own small businesses. Most would be happy to support your projects. Make sure to put out a request in your own school newsletter or as an email to all parents in the school.
There ya go…
The first 10 Bully Prevention Ideas to help you bully-proof your school. Once again, please don’t be overwhelmed. Do not attempt to implement all of these “action-items” at once. Pick and choose the one’s that are right for your school. One at a time.
Hopefully you have or will put many into use at your school and make a huge difference. THANK YOU for being a giant part of the bully prevention movement at your school. The students at your school and your own children will be better off BECAUSE OF YOU!