The best way to stop bullying is to accept that it exists, just like weeds and cobwebs. Every school needs to establish an appropriate anti-bullying, whole-school philosophy which is supported by an active, consistent prevention policy. This should include a code of conduct, protocol or guidelines for each school member, clearly defined actions (e.g. cyber bullying) and appropriate consequences. Ideally, the whole local community should be involved in this process, e.g. council, police, media.
Some schools prefer to embed bullying in a wider framework such as wellbeing or resilience. Others feel uncomfortable with an 'anti-bullying policy'. However, they must include the word 'bullying' in their policies, whether it is anti-harassment, welfare or discipline or any other policy - otherwise the true message will be lost.
• Whole school - The principal, students, parents and teachers, affiliated associations and local school district governing boards must be involved in making, maintaining and monitoring the school policy. The policies need to be comprehensive and deal with bullying at all levels, not just a problem class, and must include all forms of bullying, e.g. mobile phone and Internet bullying.
• Culture change - Good intentions are futile unless the school is truly committed to creating a peaceful environment and making the whole-school anti-bullying policies operational. This means that mutual respect is valued more highly than bullying, and that this is reflected in the common, everyday language.
• Collaboration - The school needs a collaborative approach to create a safe environment. Everyone who is actively associated with the school - including teachers, parents, students, targets, bullies, school board and local districts - needs to be involved and accountable for their role in reducing or preventing bullying. This includes everyone else connected to the school community, such as canteen workers, local shopkeepers, bus drivers and pedestrian crossing personnel.
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