In recent years school districts have done more and more to prevent harassment, bullying and intimidation within the school environment. One would assume that with school districts now being required to report incidents of harassment, bullying and intimidation that the amount of cases would be going down. There is no definitive way of determining if this is true or not as we are still struggling to identify bullying and often find ourselves in a reactive state, rather than a proactive state.
Your school district has probably established a team to handle HIB incidents within each school and they have probably been trained to some degree on conflict resolution, but is it enough? Often with incidents of physical altercations there is a common way for school districts to handle it: the person who retaliates gets in trouble. The first blow is rarely seen, but the retaliation always is. The same applies to situations of harassment, bullying and intimidation. Usually the agitator or aggressor has nothing to worry about, but the victim does. The victim is often seen as someone who has done something wrong by failing to report the incident promptly. Some victims even fall further into the situation if their teacher hasn’t noticed any incidents in their classroom. Peer pressure is another concern, where if the bully is the entire grade’s bully no one may want to cross them.
It is paramount to be proactive, rather than reactive when it comes to bullying. Being reactive often punishes the victim in some form or fashion where they feel they cannot come forth with their issues. Being proactive punishes the antagonist or aggressor and can limit future issues.
There are tons of resources available on the subject matter, such as Simple K12’s Bullying Intervention Toolkit. However, the best way to me to prevent bullying within the school environment is to get your school district to be proactive. School districts often create Public Service Announcements regarding bullying. Do one within your schools where you show the problem and inform the students on where to go for solutions (naming the HIB team, resources, etc.). The PSA below on Cyberbullying should serve as a good start.