This recent Education Week News commentary describes the tremendous under-reporting of levels of school violence in the US. My guess is that this might be true in other countries as well.
While the situation described saddens me, it does not surprise me. At Kidpower, we hear stories all the time from upset, frightened parents whose children have been harassed, bullied, intimidated, and attacked at school. We coach parents in how to advocate with school authorities for their children and in how to prepare their children with skills to protect themselves and get help. In our experience, most of these assaults are not reported.
To be effective, administrative and reporting solutions must include resources and skills for preventing and stopping peer aggression. Teachers, playground supervisors, bus drivers, parents and all other adults in the school community need to know how to notice problems sooner rather than later, and how to intervene in a pro-active balanced way. They need to be commended by school administrators for addressing problems, rather than trying to minimize those problems.
This article gives some of Kidpower’s perspective about what makes it hard for institutions such as schools to address problems and what actions we can take as individuals to address these issues:
Worthy of Trust: What Organizations Need to Do to Protect Children From Harm
The purpose of our Positive Peer Interaction Initiative is to give adults and children tools for building healthy relationships, for setting boundaries in powerful and respectful ways, and for being persistent in getting help. This article gives an example of how we use skills to address difficult and/or dangerous behavior.
Practice as a Management Tool for Unsafe, Disrespectful Behavior
These two articles are examples of our approach to dealing with violence in schools:
Armed Violence in Schools – Solutions for Empowering Children
Overcoming the Bystander Effect: Kidpower Response to Richmond High School Assault
Finally, this article provides guidance for parents on what to do to take charge of the safety of their children at school in ways that are realistic, respectful, and effective most of the time:
Bullying in Schools – Seven Solutions for Parents
At Kidpower, our goal is to empower administrators, teachers, parents, and children with knowledge and skills for creating cultures of caring, respect, and safety for everyone. We do this through our free on-line Library, our publications, and our workshops. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.