Establish a task force

Schools have a fluctuating population. Delegating the task of 'dealing with bullying' to an excellent, caring staff member who may leave is unreliable. Schools need to establish a combined committee or task force representing every group associated with the school, e.g. students, teachers, parents, support staff, administrators and community members. It should include the counsellor and welfare staff, i.e. a school-based or visiting psychologist, social worker, chaplain, student welfare coordinator and pastoral care person.

• The task force members may vary from year to year but their purpose is ongoing and focused on reducing bullying.

• They could explore the extent and severity of bullying, use focus groups, consult colleagues and experts, investigate suitable options, research other successful programmes, select a variety of curriculum material, and help develop programmes.

• They should organise a support network so that the programmes are not implemented in isolation and fail.

• They need to monitor the policies and programmes annually. When appropriate, they can introduce new material and discard what is ineffective.

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