Classroom bullying has become a major problem in the United States
over many years. According to Jim Wright of Intervention Central.org
February 2004, "Research suggests, though, that 7 percent or
more of students may be bullies and perhaps 10-20 percent may
be chronic victims of bullying." These statistics, of course,
vary from school to school, and the percentages may actually be
a bit higher nowadays. The question is, how can teachers handle
the classroom bully and protect the victims in their class?
Let the student's voices be heard. A school-wide survey can be
conducted of the students to determine the amount of bullying
that is taking place and define patterns of when and where attacks
are more likely to take place. This survey should be confidential
and strictly anonymous, meaning students are not to put their
names on the survey. The survey should include information such
as when and where bullying takes place and the behavior habits
of students who are more likely to be bullies. The staff can use
these results to better handle more teacher coverage during the
times that bullies are more likely to attack their victims. When
preparing the survey, be sure to list the names of trusted adults
in the school who students can turn to for reporting a bullying
Another effective way for schools to minimize acts of bullying
is for the principal to identify the terms of bullying, so that
all teachers and staff are aware of what is considered harmful,
negative, and hurtful behaviors across the board. If teachers
are aware of what the school in its entirety defines as bullying,
they can intervene more consistently, and thus the rate of bullying
in the school overall will drop.
The problem with bullies are most are smart enough to keep their
acts concealed from teachers and school administrators. It is
because of this that the teachers need to develop a higher sense
of awareness in their classroom to detect any bullying activities
that are going on. Bullies might pass threatening notes to students,
so a teacher must be acutely aware if that is taking place and
intersect these types of notes in order to properly discipline
Other prominent places that bullying takes place during school
hours is transitioning to a different class, at lunch, during
recess, and during gym class. This is when teachers need to be
alert to hall activities, as well as in the other places mentioned
above. Since bullies will usually deny participating in acts of
bullying when confronted with the situation, a teacher must be
assertive and firm when confronting a bully about their activities.
If a bully understands that a teacher is on to him or her, less
bullying activity will occur during school hours.
In order to effectively stop bullying in a school, the school
needs the help of all teachers, administrators, and parents to
take a role in the efforts to stop the activity. Bullying in the
classroom does not necessarily stay within the school. Bullies
will attack their victims (either physically or verbally) off
school premises. If a teacher suspects bully activity in their
classroom, it is the teacher's responsibility to bring this to
the attention of both the victim's parents and the bully's parents.
This way the families can communicate about the situation, and
hopefully be able to stop the bullying from reoccurring. If the
bully's parents refuse to take any measures to stop their child's
behavior, the teacher should tell the parents that they will be
watching their child closely, and if the bullying continues, harsh
consequences, such as detention or suspension will be enforced.
Since students are not always aware of what a teacher considers
to be bullying in the classroom, the teacher should hold a class
meeting to come up with the definitions of bullying. With the
whole class participating, everyone should be aware of when a
line is crossed, and be able to report such actions to the teacher.
The rules should be limited to three or four. Samples rules may
- Treat others with respect.
- Make classmates feel included.
- Help those that are being bullied.
As you can see, there are ways to reduce bullying in a classroom
and in a school in its entirety. It takes participation from everyone
involved from students to school staff to parents in order to
make bullying disappear, or at least minimize it greatly. No one
person can eliminate bullying alone. It takes teamwork.