“’Whenever I am dealing with a child who is being bullied, I always tell them, 'You don't deserve to be mistreated.'"
Heidi Lauzon knows just how destructive school bullying can be. A CPI Certified Instructor and a behavior consultant for the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District, Lauzon believes that all students are affected by bullying, even those who are witnesses to the event. With most bullying taking place during “unstructured” times and places, such as on the bus or online, schools need proper policies and action plans to help keep students safe.
Lauzon recently addressed the faculty of the Ironwood Area School District about bullying prevention and management. While many schools have a zero tolerance policy, bullying can still happen. One of the first things staff need to do is identify bullying when it happens. Teasing, for example, tends to be harmless and is not considered bullying behavior until it intends to cause harm.
Other best practices include:
- Stopping bullying on the spot.
- Finding out what happened.
- Supporting all kids involved.
An important thing to realize, says Lauzon, is that “’bullying is not just a healthy stage that everyone goes through.’” Whether the student is the bully, bullied, or bystander, having strong staff involvement, implementing positive behavior intervention strategies, and building safe environments will help decrease the prevalence and impact of bullying and get kids help.
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