Why unstructured free play is a key remedy to bullying

October was National Bullying Prevention Month, and in my decade of teaching in high-poverty public elementary schools, I’ve seen strategy after strategy and initiative after initiative implemented to decrease bullying.

While every case is unique, having a general understanding of why a student chooses to bully can be helpful.

Kids usually bully for one of the following reasons: they are frustrated with life’s circumstances and don’t have the emotional tools to cope, they don’t have many friends and are lonely, they have issues with emotional regulation, or they feel powerless to control their life for any number of reasons.…Read More

5 ways bullying changed during the pandemic

Throughout my career as a school counselor, I’ve worked with students in a variety of educational settings. This includes alternative and charter schools, traditional brick-and-mortar settings, and online school.

Even though they’re all different, I’ve witnessed similar bullying behavior and trends in each of them.

Here are five ways bullying has changed during the pandemic–and one way it’s stayed the same:…Read More

Rise Vision Creates Free Posters for Encouraging Safety and Reducing Bullying for Students

(September 29, 2021) –– Anti-bullying is focused on promoting safety, addressing behaviors, defining rules and expectations, and rewarding positive behavior through communication. All teachers, staff, and administrators must be on board to prevent bullying from occurring. Rise Vision has released 10 free anti-bullying posters for schools that feature positive messages and motivational quotes to promote healthy student learning. The posters can be printed, shared on digital signage, websites, and on social media. 

The posters are available for download as both JPEG and high-resolution PDFs, in landscape and portrait-oriented formats.

“Bullying impacts students online and in schools around the world. October is Anti-Bullying Month and so to help schools spread the message we’ve created this set of posters. The 10 posters share messages that promote kindness, discourage bullying, and raise awareness. We hope schools find them valuable and that they help reduce bullying.” Shea Darlison, Head of Revenue.…Read More

Are schools really safe?

When we think about school safety our first instinct is physical safety. Sadly, it’s a real concern with the all-too-regular gun shootings and bullying that occurs. However, there’s a far more common and pervasive issue occurring: emotional safety.

Since the industrial revolution, school has been primarily taught in an authoritarian style where kids are judged constantly and relentlessly from academics to behaviors. In addition, teachers and peers use shame and degradation to show their “higher” value or status, which causes additional emotional trauma.

We might think it’ll “toughen kids up,” but given the levels of [emotional] stress kids experience every day, it’s doing far more harm than good. Not to mention, emotional stress changes brain chemistry–especially when you experience this type of regular cortisol release. Kids aren’t spontaneously “going crazy” and “mentally ill” with depression and anxiety; they’re simply trying to survive in their environment.…Read More

10 essential reads for burned-out teachers

Teachers were stressed even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended schools and sent teachers and students home to learn virtually, but the pandemic certainly added to growing teacher burnout.

The truth is that teachers manage much more than instruction. Teachers offer support and encouragement and are an integral part of students’ lives. In some cases, they’ve privy to information students don’t want to share with their parents or caregivers, putting teachers in the important position of stepping in to keep students safe from abuse, bullying, or self-harm.

It’s no wonder, then, that with all teachers juggle, their burnout rate is high. Here are some essential reads to help manage and conquer teacher burnout–and put educators in a fresh frame of mind as they close the door on the 2020-2021 school year and take the summer to refresh, refocus, and de-stress.…Read More

Lightspeed Systems® Launches Lightspeed Alert™ Solution for Threat Detection of Suicide, Bullying, and School Violence

Austin, Texas, April 15, 2021- Lightspeed Systems®, the leading K-12 online safety and effectiveness solutions provider, announces the launch of Lightspeed Alert™, a threat detection solution for self-harm, bullying, and school violence, helping to provide schools and districts with early warning detection to prevent incidents and promote student safety.

Statistics regarding student mental and physical safety are startling. A recent survey found 93% of parents are concerned about their child’s mental health due to extended campus closures and isolation, and another study from the U.S. Secret Service found 75% of school shooters demonstrated concerning online activity before the incident took place. With these concerns, it’s critical for schools and districts to have the type of early warning threat detection that Lightspeed Alert can provide. 

Lightspeed Alert leverages smart AI to actively scan and alert on concerning student behavior anywhere students engage online. Real-time alerts and safety dashboards equip district and school staff with the visibility and tools to respond to threats and manage cases. For an extra layer of protection, Lightspeed Alert provides 24/7/365 human review by highly trained safety specialists who conduct a threat assessment of flagged behavior and escalate imminent threats via a live phone call to school district personnel or law enforcement.  …Read More

How automation keeps bullying in check—both in-person and remote

Even a pandemic won’t stop bad student behavior–and in many cases, it inflames behaviors such as bullying.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Laura Lockhart, director of student services of Keller Independent School District in Texas talks about how the district digitally updated their bullying reporting process to keep students safe and meet federal reporting regulations.

Related content:  How COVID put a spotlight on equity…Read More

Gaggle Releases New Cyberbullying eBook for National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Cyberbullying is one of the greatest threats to student safety, with nearly 15% of students ages 12–18 having reported being bullied online. October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and Gaggle has published a Cyberbullying eBook to help administrators, educators, parents, and students understand and react to digital harassment. The new eBook offers a fresh and up-to-date analysis of cyberbullying, with additions on remote learning and updated resources.

Available for free, the comprehensive eBook details the importance of full awareness and involvement from administrators, teachers, and parents in order to protect students online. The eBook includes guidance for dealing with all aspects of cyberbullying, from prevention to identification to discipline. The guide also offers an updated list of cyberbullying resources and websites, so students, parents, teachers, and administrators can do further research and learn new ways to handle incidents of cyberbullying in the future.

“Gaggle is committed to student safety at all levels, and cyberbullying is a huge threat to student safety both in and out of the classroom,” said Gaggle’s CEO and founder, Jeff Patterson. “It’s important for all parties to be informed and prepared in order to protect students from cyberbullying. We hope that this eBook can provide students, parents, and teachers with the information and resources they need to handle digital harassment in a safe and fair way.”…Read More

The state of student safety

District administrators are under immense pressure from parents to keep their children safe and are investing money in school safety initiatives. Communities have shifted from the belief that “it can’t happen here,” to doing everything they can to prevent it from happening.

Twenty years ago, the concerns about student safety were about preventing classroom misbehavior, physical bullying, fighting, and drugs. Now, it’s much more complex and the stakes are higher. We are literally talking about life and death issues for our students. What has changed in recent years to explain this increase in personal self-harm, suicide, and school violence?

Related content: 6 reasons we’re using a student safety platform…Read More

How to cut your bus disciplinary referrals by 67 percent

Several years ago, my school adopted a Positive Behavior Support Program (PBSIS) program. Solutions to persistent problems pointed school climate in the right direction, reduced disciplinary referrals, and tackled bullying incidents (suspensions decreased by four times, and bullying incidents by three times).

PBSIS and programs like it are replicable, if school communities and their leaders are patient and sustained in adoption. Resources are available for free. Part of implementing such a program includes a schoolwide identification of problem areas in the school. This should be done through data analysis (run a report of how frequently incidents happen in various locations) and from voting by staff and students. (We use Google Forms to determine school community perceptions.)

Survey says…
When we surveyed our school community and compared this to our own data, four problem areas emerged:…Read More