In honor of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, Laura Campbell, the Crisis Center’s Community Education Coordinator, share s three-way approach to increase awareness and promote positive steps to prevent bullying/cyber bullying:
What Students Can Do
- When it comes to bullying/cyber bullying, the student body holds the most power! Start or join an Anti-Bullying Club or a School Safety Committee. Fill your hallways with posters reminding students that bullying will not be tolerated in your school.
- Do not respond or forward messages of cyber bullying or sexually suggestive pictures/video.
- Keep all evidence of dates, times, screenshots of messages and if possible, include them when reporting bullying to a teacher or administrator in your school.
- Speak to students being bullied. Let them know that nobody has the right to make them feel like that and offer to go with them to report it. This interaction gives them hope.
- Be an UPSTANDER
What Schools Can Do
- Incorporate the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)* into the curriculum, assuring that students learn of the NYS Law and who their DASA Coordinator is. If they know bullying of any kind is against the law, they may feel better reporting it.
- Launch an Awareness Campaign; bring in an interactive bullying/cyber bullying workshop that relates to the students.
- Have teachers, aides and other faculty or staff keep a watch for students experiencing warning signs of bullying, or students who are isolated or unengaged.
- Promote an Anti-Bullying Club or a Safe Schools Committee to empower students to stand up to bullying.
- Assess bullying/cyber bullying in your school by conducting anonymous student surveys. Oftentimes bullying goes unreported and underestimated by staff or faculty. Schools that conduct such anonymous student surveys usually get a clear picture of what may be going on.
What Parents Can Do
- Talk about bullying/cyber bullying in conversation; it tells your child that you are aware of it.
- Remain nonjudgmental, which may be difficult if your child confides in you that he/she is being bullied, but it will encourage your child to trust you even more.
- When asking questions, come from a place of curiosity and keep an open mind, so your child doesn’t feel that you may be placing blame on anyone. This could frighten him/her into thinking that you may make the situation worse. Include your child in on the next steps to take.
- Use open-ended questions like:”What does bullying/cyber bullying mean to you?” “Whom would you speak to if you were being bullied?” Remind them that they could always talk to you.
- Familiarize yourself with the Dignity For All Students Act (DASA) so you can be an advocate for your child.
- Before a child tells a parent about bullying, they have usually tried to ignore it or help themselves first, so it may not be helpful to tell them to stand up for themselves or ignore the person. When a child tells a parent about bullying they are usually looking for the parent to guide them to a solution that makes them feel empowered.
For information about a cyber bullying presentation for your school or community group, call Long Island Crisis Center at 516/826-0244. For support, short-term counseling and resources and referrals, call the Crisis Center’s 24/7 hotline at 516-679-1111 or Chat LIVE Long Island by clicking here.
* The Dignity for All Students Act states that NO student shall be subjected to harassment or discrimination by employees or students that holds the possibility of interfering with his/her school learning. This includes online bullying that may affect the students concentration during the school day.