Our school has been working to implement restorative practices as a means of addressing a variety of issues, including bullying and cyberbullying problems. Resolution circles bring students together (with school staff and even parents) to discuss issues, promote student understanding of the impact of their behavior, and develop a plan of action. Depending on the issue, typical school consequences may also be applicable (detentions, suspensions, etc.), but in many cases, the circles have been powerful experiences for everyone involved and meaningful opportunities for students to take responsibility for the impact of their behavior on others and work to repair the damage. Resolution circles are a voluntary process—and not all students choose to participate. The emphasis on understanding how one's actions caused harm and the support to make amends feels like a natural extension of the work we do with students to build a positive learning climate every day.
Ayesha Farag-Davis, Principal, Bruce M. Whittier Middle School, Poland, Maine
Three years ago we implemented the Olweus Bullying Program. The goals of this program are to reduce and prevent all types of bullying problems among school children and to improve peer relations at school. We found the elements of this program work very well in our school, as it promotes positive interactions and behaviors among students. In three years we have seen a great improvement in the social climate of the classrooms. This year we joined Rachel’s Challenge, which exists to stand alongside existing bullying programs to inspire, equip, and empower students to make a positive difference in their world. It is a powerful partnership to the Olweus program and promotes kindness and compassion so students can learn more in a safer, more respectful environment.
Kathryn B. Wood, Principal, Queen of Angels Catholic School, Roswell, Georgia
What approaches does your school use to prevent bullying?