How do we #stopbullying in schools, on the street, on social media, etc.?  It is a tough question.  I have been thinking about this a lot over the last month or so. As an educator, I am struggling with the fact that the rise in hate crimes, bullying incidents, and something as basic as hateful name calling is spilling into school hallways and classrooms.  Every educator, regardless of voting history, needs to be seen as a “safety pin” to all students whether it be in their classroom, at their school, throughout the community, on social media, etc.  If we want our students to think before they speak, act, or post, we must do the same!

Professional Development Ideas and Resources

  • Encourage discussion – Find an article about specific incidents happening in schools or develop scenarios about bullying incidents.  USA Today has an article about several such incidents that happened after the election. Using a table talk format, have teachers discuss how they would react if they witnessed this type of behavior in their classroom, at their school, out in the community, on social media, etc.  This is scary stuff, so be prepared to offer suggestions.  Have the school policy guidelines available for teachers to use as a reference. One thing I have started doing on social media is posting #stopbullying in the comment field of an inappropriate post.   
  • Digital Citizenship – Digital Citizenship addresses more than just online bullying.  Make sure your teachers understand what it means to be a good digital citizen.  Allow teachers to spend time at sites like common sense education.  Be sure to allow teachers time to discuss these ideas.  This site has a scope & sequence as well as other resources that teachers can use to help them generate ideas for implementing strategies in their classroom.   Consider a discussion on how some of the strategies for being a good digital citizenship can transfer to being a good citizen.
  • Other resources –  How to Teach Digital Citizenship, stopbullying.gov, Cartoon Network Stop Bullying, Stomp Out Bullying

Lesson Plans

  • Encourage discussion – An activity similar to the first item under Professional Development can be used with students.  I have found that students love scenarios.  Use various scenarios from the news or incidents at your schools and have students discuss how the situation could and should be addressed.
  • Promote proper behavior – Have students find an example of inappropriate behavior in the news, on a television show, in a book, etc. and have the students write how the person should have handled the situation appropriately.  Maybe even have the students write the person a letter.
  • Digital Citizenship – Make sure students know what it means to be a good digital citizen.  There are lesson plans at common sense education (see link above under Professional Development).