To prevent bullying over the long-term, all members of the school community must be involved. This includes not only the student who is targeted by bullying and the student who bullies, but also the peer group.
Mobilizing the entire school community around the goal of fostering a healthy school culture is extremely important to prevent bullying. Schools can take positive action aimed at communicating that the teachers and school administration are eager to take the issue of bullying seriously and determined to involve everyone in finding creative and constructive ways of reducing violence and peer aggression. The school thereby sends a message to all that fostering healthy communication, positive practices and a kind, inclusive, welcoming culture is important and necessary. This may seem like a monumental task, but there are simple strategies that can be implemented. For example, working cooperatively, administrators, teachers and school staff can:
- Distribute a survey to all members of the school community, asking for their opinions about bullying in the school. Creating a portrait of your school's experience with bullying can give you an idea of what kind of bullying is happening in your school, and what students, teachers, administrators and other school staff really think about the issue.
- Establish a school-wide committee whose mandate is to analyze the questionnaires and communicate the results. This committee might gather and exchange information from other educators about positive practices in their classrooms.
- Launch a consultative process to generate ideas and opinions about bullying prevention, with the goal of creating and implementing a long-term bullying prevention plan which could be managed and guided by the same school-wide committee described above.
When everyone knows that the school community is working together toward ending peer aggression, an important statement is made about common values and vision. It opens the possibility for old patterns and habits within the school to be challenged and shifted, allowing a new and more positive climate to be nourished, creating a school where bullying is much less likely to flourish.