Bullying is a widespread problem among today’s youth.
A national study showed that 27 percent of students reported being bullied at school, while 14 percent reported that they have been bullied away from school. Quality, effective after school programs can help schools and communities combat bullying.
After school programs provide access to caring adults and a less formal, more open learning environment where students can feel safe from peer pressure, build confidence and learn how to deal with bullies in school and online. After school leaders can implement the following specific prevention strategies to create a safe environment for every student (adapted from Eyes on Bullying):
- Establish and enforce clear rules for appropriate behavior. Ensure that staff model the expected behaviors.
- Establish a clear protocol for staff to follow when they encounter bullying.
- In programs that include mixed-age groups, establish separate areas that different age groups can call their own.
- Keep a record of the bullying incidents that occur to detect trends and develop more effective prevention strategies.
- Maintain clear communication with parents. Let them know when a bullying incident has occurred, their child’s involvement and the resolution.
For more tips and strategies, check out Bullying in Out-of-School Time Programs: Tips for Youth-Serving Professionals and Volunteers.