Bullying prevention month is celebrated every October. It’s used as a time to focus on the definition of bullying, to raise awareness of the prevalence of bullying, and strategies to stop it from happening. Thanks to state legislation and increased awareness, most schools are mandated to do something about bullying.

The way schools celebrate and educate Bullying Prevention Month varies widely. Many schools will hold assemblies about bullying and maybe a lesson in class. What we’ve found, however, is the effect of those one-time lessons quickly fades and reinforcement is necessary throughout the year.

We wanted to check in with our TEAMology schools to see what they were doing about bullying prevention and SEL and show them some new tools. Here are our take-aways from the trip:

  1. Every school needs to figure out what works for them. We visited 4 very different schools in terms of age, demographics, and funding. Prescriptive programming that works in one of these schools would be so hard to implement in another. TEAMology is flexible enough and provides an outline to allow a school to fit it into their culture.
  2. Students can be and are amazing leaders. We spoke to groups of student leaders who take their responsibility very seriously. They are working with administrators in the schools to make sure the student voice is heard. This inspired us to start the Junior TEAMbassador Program – where students between the ages of 10-14 can be nominated by teachers and parents to be part of a group that interacts with us to improve school culture and climate. Read more in our blog.
  3. Don’t underestimate the “little ones”. We had 2nd graders explain to us perfectly what “resiliency” meant. That’s a big word with a bigger concept, but by giving them connections to our character, Ruby, and her symbol (a bouncy ball), they have no problem describing it. They are watching and soaking in more than we realize.
  4. The majority of students we spoke to had seen or experienced bullying themselves. It is still very prevalent and still a very hard part of their school lives. The silver lining is that there are even more stories of students helping each other and being upstanders and knowing how to handle bullies.

We had such a great time and want to thank: Eastern York Middle School, Fairview Elementary School – Waynesboro AreaSchool District, Propel Homestead, and Trinity North Elementary School for allowing us to come in and see the awesome things you are doing!

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