By Jessica Bouta,
West Elementary School Counselor
Creating a school atmosphere of respect, kindness, and safety requires the help of all people involved. School staff, parents, and children play an important role in teaching bully prevention skills and modeling how to show empathy, kindness, and respect to everyone.
Bullying behaviors often occur when adults are not around. Educating students on important strategies to help stop bullying empowers them to make good decisions should they encounter a difficult situation.
Children of all ages can be taught the “3 R’s to Help Stop Bullying”. This is the ability to Recognize, Report, and Refuse bullying (Committees for Children, 2013). Being able to recognize bullying provides children with the knowledge to know what bullying is and is not. Conflict and bullying are often confused and it should be noted that bullying is an act that is intentional and occurs repeatedly. The person it is happening to has not been able to get it to stop.
Reporting to a caring adult and refusing bullying are two ways students can be taught to respond when bullying is occurring to either themselves or others around them. Instructing children to report to a caring adult helps them understand that it is okay to ask for help and they should be encouraged to continue reporting until it stops.
When children refuse bullying they decide to not let it happen to themselves or others. One way to help create confidence is to role play in an assertive voice how to refuse bullying. Having an adult or friend close by can also help create the confidence needed to refuse.
Learning how to recognize, report, and refuse bullying will help children prepare to handle difficult situations with self-confidence and encourage them to stand up for others.
(Information adapted from Committee for Children, Bully Prevention Unit 2013)