October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and it’s a great time to talk to your child about bullying. Many parents are concerned about whether their child is being bullied, but does it occur to them that their child could BE bullying someone else?
Preventing bully behavior starts at home. However, it’s up to individual schools, teachers, and administrators to enforce the message that bully behavior is not acceptable on any level. It takes more than a presentation, lecture, or reminder. Preventing bullying begins with strong character education that focuses on kindness and respect for each child.
Luckily, at Westminster, there are over 40 different countries represented in our student body—so lessons about diversity, tolerance, and respect for other cultures are inherent in all aspects of school life. For example, one student’s lunch may contain food from his or her culture and others may ask questions about it. Teachers will guide the questions and answers, so that lunch can be a great learning opportunity for the children.
Students are also respected as individuals. When a child feels respected, he or she will begin to gain the confidence needed in order to avoid bullying behavior. Also, he or she will be less likely to hide being bullied and get the proper help from a trusted adult.
Kindness is emphasized as well. From the science classroom’s credos to treat animals with love and respect to the Builders Club community service projects, Westminster students are taught that kindness always prevails.
That’s not to say that bullying behavior does not happen. There are occasions where parents, teachers, and administrators need to step in and mediate hurtful behavior. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding this type of behavior, and the involved students are counseled immediately. Also, group talks are held when the situation arises—to discuss the best way to handle someone who is being unkind.
Our culture now has more and more ways in which children can be unkind to one another. It’s very difficult for parents to monitor every way in which their child might be involved with bullying—the giving or receiving end. So, for October’s National Bullying Prevention Month, take a minute to speak to your child about ways he or she can prevent bullying.
More information can be found on PACER.org’s website: www.pacer.org