Last week, Secretary Arne Duncan from the Department of Education, along with several other agencies, sponsored the second annual national summit on bullying.
Multiple federal government representatives reminded the attendees that bullying remains a priority and that is good…Unfortunately we have heard similar messages at multiple White House Summits and multiple conferences.
So based on the advice of Benjamin Franklin who said:
Well done is always better than well said.
Beginning this week, now is the time to take the next step from “well said” to “well done”. To help with this transformation, I will identify examples of “well saids” along with potential ways a school leader might take next steps towards “well done”.
For example, Secretary Duncan said he would like to see a provision that calls for surveying students about bullying. Provisions are a “well said”, but provisions do not do anything. Next steps towards “well done” could include utilizing the award-winning TIPS platform from Awareity which offers anonymous and 100% customizable web-based surveying so each school can tailor the questions as needed.
Secretary Duncan said students are a “huge missing part of the equation” on addressing bullying. This is another “well said” and I agree. Last week before the conference started, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old from New York, killed himself after pleading for help for months. Jamey was trying to be part of the equation and even recorded a video for “Its Gets Better”. Unfortunately the school did not ‘connect the dots’ and it seems the right people at the school did not reach out. It seems the school was not prepared and did not investigate, did not stop the harassment, did not eliminate the hostile environment and did not prevent the harassment from recurring. Next steps towards “well done” could include the proven TIPS platform which allows ANY and ALL STUDENTS, family, teachers, staff and others to be part of the equation by anonymously reporting bullying incidents, suspicious activities, student safety concerns and etc. The TIPS platform also empowers the school’s Safety Team to confidentially review all incident reports, investigate all reports, record all actions taken by team members, track all at-risk individuals, set automated reminders for team members and search all reports related to an individual or incident.
Researchers at the conference say more research is needed. While additional research may be helpful, students are being bullied and students are taking their lives. It is time for “well done”.
Researchers also seemed to agree on another “well said”, that as much as the national movement to curb bullying has done to draw attention to the issue, addressing bullying may need to be a very localized effort. I agree and as stated previously, TIPS empowers each school the ability to customize and localize everything…because there is no one-size-fits-all.
One school counseling specialist noted that most schools do not have the time to research programs and outcomes. The school counseling specialist pointed out that what works in one school is not going to work in other schools even in the same county. She also mentioned there is another frontier… “How do we breed resilience in our children up front?” The TIPS platform offers a unique and proven Awareness Vault that empowers schools to ensure all students can access a curricula that helps them better understand bullying, risks, threats, consequences, policies, laws and responsibilities.
The next frontier and next steps involve:
- Acknowledging “well said” is not enough, “well done” is the key to preventing bullying
- Reaching out means new innovative platforms like TIPS are needed
- Empowering students, teachers and family members to get involved is critical
- Studies show only 1 out of 10 incidents are reported, but up to 70% or 80% say they would report incidents if anonymous incident reporting was available
Are your school administrators willing to take the next steps?