With the Department of Education demanding bullying prevention plans from schools, some parents are determined to move the process along. End the Bullying.com, a blogsite of concerned parents, has drafted a roadmap that tackles the problem on three fronts: children's behavior and attitudes, the use of data to identify problem areas, and in-school 'human' resources to intercept and mediate bullying issues. Specific components of the plan include:
1. Implementing positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) for each school. PBIS is a decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students. Schools that establish systems with the capacity to implement schoolwide PBIS with integrity and durability have teaching and learning environments that are:
- Less reactive, aversive, dangerous, and exclusionary, and
- More engaging, responsive, preventive, and productive
- Address classroom management and disciplinary issues (e.g., attendance, tardies, antisocial behavior),
- Improve supports for students whose behaviors require more specialized assistance (e.g., emotional and behavioral disorders, mental health), and
- Most importantly, maximize academic engagement and achievement for all students.
2. Ensuring that the district has a tracking system to monitor behavioral patterns, such as the Schoolwide Information System (SWIS). SWIS is a web-based information system designed to help school personnel to use office referral data to design school-wide and individual student interventions. The three primary elements of SWIS are:
- An efficient system for gathering information
- A web-based computer application for data entry and report generation
- A practical process for using information for decision making
These elements give school personnel the capability to evaluate individual student behavior, the behavior of groups of students, behaviors occurring in specific settings, and behaviors occurring during specific time periods of the school day. SWIS reports indicate times and/or locations prone to elicit problem behaviors, and allow teachers and administrators to shape school-wide environments to maximize students' academic and social achievements.
3. Investing in a school resource officer, at least part time and daily, for every school. They are the link between adults and children, rules and real behaviors. This officer could, with the school counselor, be the point person for bullying complaints from children or parents, thus being aware of the tide of interaction in the hallways where they work. This approach also offers a specific point-person on each campus for mediating bullying issues.
The founders of End the Bullying.com admit that the roadmap is only a starting point, and have asked for public input to refine the plan. They also acknowledge that any bullying prevention plan must also incorporate a policy of acceptance (not only tolerance) of all people, regardless of differences of any kind.