1) Safe students are more successful students. Research clearly shows that there is a connection between social and emotional well-being, school connectedness and improved academic achievement.
2) Some words DO hurt more than others. Bullying and hurtful name-calling based on identity has more severe effects than other kinds of bullying.
3) It takes more than a few good lesson plans to create safe schools. Programs that involve the entire school community including administrators, teachers, other school staff, parents and guardians, and students are most effective in creating a school environment that reduces hurtful, mean behavior and allows students to thrive.
4) Young students see and know more than we think. Most educators underestimate the amount of bullying and name-calling that students experience. Students are counting on the adults in the school community to help them figure out what to do about it.
5) There are many ways to be an ally. Students can learn to support someone who is hurt by bullying behaviors by speaking out, seeking support from an adult, listening to someone who has been hurt, talking to those involved, and learning about and appreciating differences.
6) Noticing differences is natural. We can learn not to make negative judgments on the basis of differences. When a student notices differences, adults’ responses can set in motion that student’s understanding and acceptance of difference – or the opposite. Use these times as “teachable-moments.”
When students report a more severe bullying climate, school-wide passing rates on standardized tests are up to 5% lower.
Virginia High School Safety Study, 2008
Compared with students harassed for other reasons, students who report being harassed for their race, religion, ability, perceived sexual orientation, or gender:
Stephen Russell et al. 2012
American Journal of Public Health.
Key strategies to change the school climate and norms of behavior include:
Maria Ttofi and David Farrington, 2011
Journal of Experimental Criminology
Elementary school staff often underestimate the number of students involved in frequent bullying. While the majority of the school staff estimated that less than 10% of their students were bullied in the past month, over 30% of the students actually said they were frequently bullied.
Catherine Bradshaw et al. 2007
School Psychology Review
According to the 5th graders included in a study of over 13,000 students in grades 5-12:
Peer actions that make things better are:
Peer actions that make things worse are:
Adult actions that make things better are:
Adult actions that make things worse are:
Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon, 2010
Youth Voice Research Project
6) Noticing differences is natural.
Meagan Patterson & Rebecca Bigler, 2006, Child Development;
Phyllis Katz, 1997, Race, gender, and young children
Lawrence Hirschfeld, 2008, In the Handbook of Race, Racism, and the Developing Child
Conversations about racial differences and inequities are associated with lower levels of bias in young children.
Phyllis Katz, 2003