By Peri Sualp……….

In my last week’s article I started to write about bullying especially in school aged kids. Bullying is never OK, cool or acceptable. No one ever deserves to be bullied. This week I’d like to share my ideas on the role of the school and what can be done to prevent bullying in schools.

Schools have to be safe and protected places and every single student has the right to feel secure and content in their school where they spend most of their days. I think it’s the schools’ job to create a peaceful environment during the school hours if they want to raise happy and successful kids.

The first thing a school should do is to set severe rules and regulations on bullying and show zero tolerance to any misbehaviour against these rules. Otherwise no bully will stop their actions.

Then, there should be regular courses to teach and remind the students of good and acceptable behaviour. Maybe even adding ‘relationship’ lessons to curriculum from early ages might help building strong bonds among children and might help prevent intolerant acts. Also organising campaigns against bullying might raise awareness among kids.

In my opinion, schools MUST have an experienced consultant on this subject matter so that those in need can go and consult.  Counselling should be available for the bullies and for those who get bullied. Eventually both need help!

Another idea is placing complaint boxes where anyone could drop a letter anonymously. I think this would help a lot to detect the bullies because most of the time the kids who are bullied or even the other kids who witnessed the incident are afraid to talk about it.

An after club where children can join and learn about how to behave or how to defend themselves etc. is another idea that can be created by the schools. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a bully had to join in this club by the force of the school regulation without his/her gang around and had to listen to the ‘victims’ and build up some empathy?).  Also, club students themselves can write plays and act out different bullying scenarios in the classroom or in the school hall.  By interactive action/drama everyone can easily see and understand how bullying is hurtful and wrong.

Besides, all the kids should learn to stand up for those who get bullied and not to be bystander to the bullies. Schools must support and remind this idea all the time. The more the number of kids on the good side, the more kids will have courage to stand up against bullies both for themselves and for others. Well behaved students can change, or better, stop the intolerant acts. Everyone should learn to be a buddy not a bully!

As you see there are lots of things that can be done in the schools in order to raise awareness of bullying.  Schools are a very powerful environment not only for education but also for learning, therefore they have a great role to teach good manners and acceptable social behaviour. I believe schools CAN stop bullying. Being one of the children who gets bullied most of the time, I hope schools can manage to show their power more efficiently.