A school-wide approach to bullying works best because bullying can – and does – happen anywhere. Bus drivers, crossing guards, school nurses and other support staff often witness bullying and want to take positive steps to deal with it. Below are some tips that can help your efforts.
Preventing Bullying on the Bus
- Establish a positive atmosphere on the bus. Be clear, fair and consistent about rules.
- Treat students the way you want to be treated and the way you want them to treat each other.
- Learn and use their names. Introduce yourself.
- Get to know all of the students on your bus — including the students who bully.
- Use positive, nonverbal interactions — a smile, a nod, a thumbs up, a high five, a pat on the back.
- Notice something positive the students do and say something about it to them or someone else where they can hear it.
- If you regularly drive for a group like a sports team or club, get to know what they do. Go watch them in action and say something to them about it.
- Submit positive bus referrals.
Intervening in Bullying on the Bus
- Learn about bullying so you know what you’re looking for.
- When you see something, do something. Be assertive and calm.
- Start with verbal warnings. Use the name of the student who is bullying.
- Call your school or dispatcher according to policy. Sometimes the call will stop the behavior.
- If the behavior escalates, stop the bus in a safe place and give it your full attention.
- Maintain control of yourself.
- Stand up and speak loudly, clearly and calmly to the involved students.
- Do not argue with or try to convince the student who is bullying.
- Move affected students to new, safe seats.
- Report incidents as required by your school’s policy.
- Talk to other school staff about what you’ve witnessed. Share your concerns about the students you drive, since they interact with the same students during the rest of the day.
Source: U.S. Department of Education’s Safe Supportive Learning Environments
Preventing Bullying on School Routes
- Get to know your students, especially their names. Calling them by name increases accountability for their behavior and helps develop a positive relationship.
- Be constantly mindful of students’ behavior. If a student is aggressive towards another, or if a student appears sad, take note of it and report it to the proper personnel.
Intervening in Bullying on School Routes
Crossing guard interventions in bullying will rely heavily on district policy. If your district gives you significant flexibility in reacting to bullying situations, here are some tips:
- Inform yourself about what bullying looks like, including the warning signs for students who have been victimized.
- If a student is being bullied and it is safe for you to do so, ask them to stop. Be assertive but kind.
- Report any incidences to your school per school policy.
Identifying Students Who May Be Being Bullied
Familiarize yourself with common health complaints of children who are being bullied. These include:
- not sleeping well
- bed wetting
- feeling sad
Preventing and Responding to Bullying
- If you suspect bullying, ask the student about it. If bullying is occurring and it is consistent with your school policy, report it to an administrator or guidance counselor.
- Become engaged with your school’s anti-bullying task force. If there isn’t one, talk to your principal and spearhead it!
- Educate yourself on your school’s policy on bullying. Be sure to develop a working relationship with the counselor at your school. Oftentimes students will come to you with problems that should be dealt with in a counseling setting.
Bully Victim Identification and Intervention Program for School Nurses, Nora Zinan, 2010. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Capstone Projects. Paper 2.