Bullying in schools can happen anywhere: cities, suburbs, or rural areas. According to research 1 in 5 students report having been bullied at school. Bullying is mean or hurtful behavior that keeps happening. It is unfair and one-sided.
Bullying is defined by three characteristics:
It is aggressive behavior that is usually repeated over time
It occurs in relationships where there is an imbalance of power that is real or perceived
It intends to harm or distress and/or has serious harmful or distressing impacts on the targets
Bullying is a form of school violence that can have long-lasting effects on people. The effects of bullying can last into adulthood and can take a toll both physically and mentally. Recent research shows marginalized youth (such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth) are at higher risk for being bullied. Bullying puts all youth at increased risk for depression, suicidal ideation, drug and alcohol abuse, and engaging in risky sexual behaviors. Bullying also can affect academics.
What We Do
We can help. MESA School Bullying Prevention is funded through the U.S. Department of Justice “STOP School Violence” grant. MESA works with rural and low-income schools across Indiana to implement a research-based bullying curriculum. MESA School Bullying Prevention takes a proactive approach to dealing with bullying by providing training and prevention education for students, teachers, administrators, parents, and staff through the Second Step Bullying Prevention curriculum.
The bullying prevention units are taught in grades K-5. Students and staff learn to recognize, respond, and report bullying. The lessons also empower bystanders who witness bullying behavior. The training helps staff learn how to effectively recognize and respond to bullying. In addition to the general all-staff training, we also train teachers, counselors, and administrators on how to coach and create safety and behavior plans and continue to follow-up with students involved in bullying. A safety plan is created for both the bully and the person being bullied. Staff members are trained and given resources to help create a positive classroom climate to minimize the likelihood that bullying will occur.
MESA also educates parents and community organizations about how to prevent bullying and how to support students who have been bullied. This multifaceted, proactive approach to bullying prevention will improve the students’, teachers’, and parents’ ability to recognize bullying behavior, provide tools to create a safety plan for the bully and the person being bullied, improve school climates, and create safe environments with protective measures to prevent bullying.
Contact Sherri Cripe about partnering with the MESA School Bullying Prevention program
This project was supported by Grant No. 2020-YS-BX-0102 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.