As a principal, it is your responsibility to keep a check on bullying and ensure that no untoward incidents happen. You must have seen first hand how badly bullying can affect a person and the many ways in which it can be damaging to a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
Here are 7 ways in which you can deal with bullying in your school.
1.Develop a school-wide code of conduct
Rules go a long way to mitigating untoward incidents. If you have a strict no-bullying policy in place ( with appropriate retribution in place for those who engage in bullying), then you are going to have lesser instances of bullying occurring. This is not to say that bullying will completely die down but it does mean that fewer students will be tempted to break the rules.
2. Be aware of all the things happening in your school
Being a principal is a 24/7 job and you cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening at your school. This means that you need to walk around the premises, keep open office hours, frequently and informally talk to students and teachers. When you ask people in formal settings if any wrongdoing is happening, you will probably be met with polite murmurings of no. If you want to find out what is happening at your school, then you need to involve yourself in it. This way, you can also easily prevent any wrong doings from happening.
3. Increase adult supervision
You of course cannot have teachers hovering around students all the time, but do make sure that when a large number of students are mingling together, there are teachers at the fringes who are keeping a sharp eye out for bullies and other mischief maker. Also ask older students to keep a look out for younger ones and also conversely, ask them in general to keep a look out for students who might be experiencing bullying.
4. Educate students and school staff about bullying
Sometimes students and staff might not even realize that they are being bullied, so used are they to being bullied. You need to educate your school about bullying and why it is a reprehensible way of dealing with people. You can either educate them yourself or call in experts and have them talk to your school. Educating your school will at least cut the bullying problem ( should you have one) in your school by half.
5. Involve the parents of children in a bullying program
Parents too must be involved in bullying prevention programmes. It takes a team-effort to get rid of pervasive evils such as bullying and it is not something that you can get rid of by crusading all alone in school. Make parents understand why bullying is such a serious issues, the harm is causes and the ways in which it can be prevented.
6. Practice what you preach
You cannot tell your students and staff not to bully people and then turn around and engage in the same nasty behavior. You should practice what you preach. If you do not condone bullying, then nor should you engage in it. The principal of the school is also the leader of the school and as such needs to set an example for the entire school student body.
7. Establish a system where a student can report bullying
You need to institute a system in place where students can report incidents of bullying. Whether it is reporting to a teacher, or dropping an anonymous tip in a box, you need to figure out how students can let you know that they are being bullied or someone else is being bullied.
How did you, as a principal, deal with bullying in your school? Did you use any of the above methods? Please share your ideas with us in the comments section below!