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Prevention and Intervention

  • Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice. (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
  • Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are: tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling. (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
  • Bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference. (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
  • Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bullying youth (fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, etc.) were rated as more likely to make things worse. (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
  • Students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders. (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
  • Students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions helpful than educator or self-actions. (Davis and Nixon, 2010)
  • Hold separate follow up meetings with bullies and victims. Provide support and protection to the victimized student. Conflict resolution and peer mediation strategies are not appropriate here because the victim is being abused by the bully and there is an unequal balance of power. Help the vulnerable child learn to assert himself more effectively. Teach the bully how to get her needs met in other ways If possible, involve parents in the process.

Because teachers are unable to be everywhere in school, and because bullying often occurs underneath their radar, teachers may grossly underestimate the amount of bullying that goes on in their schools. This is especially true for cyberbullying (using email and websites) and relational bullying (behaviors meant to damage another child's friendships or feelings of inclusion by the peer group). Further, there is evidence that teachers are reluctant to intervene in bullying, and students report that teachers are ineffective in both preventing and intervening with bullying (e.g., Olweus, 1993; Holt & Keys, 2004) Given the long-term consequences of bullying for both bully and target, it is critical that teachers recognize and effectively address bullying behavior in their classrooms.