Bullying Prevention Program: An Integral Part Of SWPBS

CONNIE FOSTER, Director of Coordinated School Health

During the summer of 2010, Cannon County Schools began devising a plan to intensify the bullying prevention efforts of their School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) Program. This work has finally come to fruition.

As part of the Bullying Prevention plan, Cannon County Schools have developed the following strategy statement regarding bullying behaviors: We recognize bullying as any word, look, sign or act that hurts a person’s body, feelings, or things. We also recognize bullying as a type of violence that occurs when someone uses his or her power unfairly and repeatedly to hurt someone else.

The overall goal of the Bullying Prevention program is to empower students to report bullying behaviors and to give school staff the tools to recognize, intervene, and issue consequences for bullying behaviors they witness or hear about from students. Students who bully will receive appropriate consequences to help them realize that bullying behavior is not appropriate and will not be tolerated at school.  

When students returned in January from their holiday break, they participated in Bullying Prevention lessons designed to help them:

• define bullying

• understand what behaviors are considered bullying

• understand the effect of bullying behaviors

• develop empathy for targeted students

• learn ways to respond to bullying behavior

• learn when and how to report bullying

• learn the consequences the school has established for engaging in bullying behavior

In their efforts to make schools safer and violence-free, Cannon County Schools pledge to intervene in incidents of bullying and to strictly enforce rules against such behaviors as they empower students to report bullying and to treat one another with respect.

Because the Bullying Prevention program takes a system-wide approach to responding to bullying in school, it not only involves the students and school personnel, it involves families. The link between families and positive behavioral interventions and supports is an important one. When families are meaningfully involved in educational activities, their children do better in school.

Families play an important part in their child's education and social development. In many Cannon County schools, family participation in the SWPBS process is growing. Some parents are members of district and school planning teams and participate in SWPBS activities in a variety of ways.

However, due to work schedules and other commitments, many parents are unable to participate in such activities during the school day. Despite the constraints of time and hectic schedules, all parents can stay involved by encouraging their children to discuss the day to day happenings in school which will greatly contribute in making Cannon County Schools safer and more nurturing for all students.