Monday, March 7, 2011

Minnesota Summit on Bullying Empasizes "whole environment" not just the characteristics of the victim

Today, MFC attended the first Minnesota Summit on Bullying. The Summit was a sell-out with over 400 teachers and school officials attending.

MFC was encouraged that the summit emphasized the importance of focusing on the whole school environment, including bystanders, staff and parents. The summit did not emphasize programs that focused strictly on the characteristics of the victim – like “Welcoming Schools” developed by the Human Rights Campaign.

In fact, the Summit showcased the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The Olweus program has over 35 years of research and acknowledges, “that bullying isn’t limited to the student who bullies and the student being bullied.” Olweus uses the Bullying Circle where “students are able to identify their role in an incident and determine what they can do to stop it from escalating.”

Last year, MFC called on parents and students to join with their school officials and stand up to the bullies in their schools.

MFC was particularly interested in the “Best Practices in Bullying Prevention” presented by Marlene Snyder, Ph.D. Clemson University. Snyder research emphasized the Top 10 Strategies for effective bullying prevention.

  • Focus on the whole school environment
  • Assess bullying at your school
  • Garner staff/parent support
  • Form a group at school to coordinate bullying prevention/intervention activities
  • Provide training for ALL staff members
  • Establish and enforce school rules and policies regarding bullying
  • Increase adult supervision in “hot spots” for bullying
  • Intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying incidents
  • Focus some classroom time on bullying preventions and intervention
  • Continue efforts over time

The event was sponsored by the Hazelden Foundation, Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, MN Assoc. of Secondary School Principals, MN Dept of Education, MN Dept. of Health, MN School Social Workers Assoc. and the National Assoc. of Elementary School Principals.

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