Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Strategies to send #antibullying messages to students #YourEduStory

This week's topic: What strategies does your school use to send an anti-bullying message to students?

This is the most difficult #YourEduStory topic I've had thus far. Perhaps the problem is that I don't fully know the answer. We should. 

As an ITS, in some ways I am rather removed from the campus even though that is where I report every day; it's where my office is. However, since I don't know much about our anti-bullying efforts, I can say that they must not be effective.

When I had my own classroom, I used to show portions of The Bully Project (the movie) and Lady Gaga's Born this Way Foundation, among others. Both of these provide outlets for students. It's not just about giving an anti-bullying message. It's also about providing a safe place for those who are victims of bullying. 

Currently, the Bully Project is creating a mural to enlighten students about bullying. Adobe has partnered with the Bully Project to give educators materials to take a "creative stance against bullying." 

Digital citizenship and literacy are just one part of preventing bullying. Unfortunately, both are not an integrated portion of our curriculum. They are separate things that are not always taught. Or, they are "someone else's responsibility" to teach. As a result, the anti-bullying message is not as strong as it should be. 

With my tech stars, I had them engage in digital citizenship conversations via Google Hangouts with schools around the globe. This was a great opportunity, but it was not part of the daily classroom life. 

Last year, our district did a one book initiative. As a district, all read "Wonder," which has a great link to bullying. During that year, libraries and teachers created lessons to correspond with topics in the book. And, as a result, we had more awareness. I was more aware last year. This year, we did not do a one-book, one-district project and the awareness has diminished. The one-book project was one of the most effective strategies I've been a part of. 

This post is more of a realization that we are NOT doing enough to send an anti-bullying message. As I struggle to think of the items we have done to prevent it, I know that is evidence we are not doing enough. So, I throw the question back at you - what are you doing?

And, if you can't answer that question well - like me - what will you start doing? How will you start doing that?

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