What strategies do educators use to respond to bullying?

Did you see the YouTube video of the 68-year old bus monitor being bullied, posted at on June 18th.

A number of recent news articles shows the outcome of community support in raising 700,000 dollars for the bullied grandmother, plus illustrates other humanitarian supports by Southwest Airlines who is giving the grandmother and her eight grand-children a three-night trip to Disneyland, and by the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort in Florida, who promised her a week's holiday in Florida.

Along with this community response, the video sparked an investigation on the part of school officials and local police. The grandmother did not want to press charges against the boys - after the video went viral, they were already receiving many death threats - but she did want an apology and a new bus route so she wouldn't have to face them again. The outcome for the four Grade 7 boys was a full year's suspension from school - they will be transferred to a district Reengagement Center in a non-school facility where they will be offered an academic program as well as formal instruction related to conduct and behaviour - plus they will take responsibility for their actions by doing 50 hours of community service with senior citizens. 
I wonder how this was received by them and their families, and if the boys will learn from it? The other important question this raises is what more can we as parents and educators in schools be doing to ensure that children are conscious of their own and others' bullying behaviours?
In the newly published book Creating the Dynamic Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers, Second Edition (Pearson), in our Chapter 3: An Inclusive Classroom Atmosphere, we talk about creating a community of learners as a first step to building mutual respect and self-worth. We discuss equity as a fundamental condition and the foundation on which you need to build your classroom community. An equitable classroom sees students being treated, not equally or in identical ways, but rather, to meet the needs and interests of all students so that they can each reach their potential. Cooperation and collaboration are key, and students need to learn to work together in cooperative, heterogeneous groupings. In this book, we provide numerous activities to find out about learners, to create team work and build inclusion (with such activities as Identifying commonalities - Just like me, creating a timeline, using meaningful artifacts, forming an identity circle, creating an All About Me picture book, community circle, people search Bingo, things in common, nametap art, coat of arms, etc.). We focus on the teacher's role in being a positive role model and using culturally-relevant activities and literature, visuals, and media, attending to issues of stereotyping and bias, gender, culture and religious backgrounds, aboriginal and indigenous groups, English language learners, and exceptional learners. We provide many classroom management tips and practical strategies linking to classroom routines and procedures, consequences vs. punishments, character education, social skills, and cooperative group learning, to name a few. We also have an extensive section on responding to behaviours, including low key responses, logical consequences, resolving disagreements, self-monitoring, and direct intervention.
In this chapter, we also have a section on Responding to Bullying, which provides an understanding of bullying, active/interactive learning experiences about bullying, explicit interventions to address bullying, involving parents and community, and whole-school strategies, such as professional development about bullying, a sample letter to parents about bullying (which is also provided on our Text Enrichment Site so it can be modified), references to research about bullying, and a checklist for creating an inclusive, equitable, and safe classroom and school atmosphere.
I wonder what other strategies you as educators have used to respond to bullying issues? Please let us know your thoughts and comments...

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Reader Comments (1)

Here is a very interesting article by Marie Lardino, Principal of Voice Intermediate School located in the Distillery in Toronto. See what you think...

November 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterSusan Schwartz

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