Identifying Bullying in Your School
This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.
The following are some critical questions police should ask in analyzing the problem of bullying in schools, even if the answers are not always readily available. The answers to these and other questions will help police guide the school in choosing the most appropriate set of responses later on.
Does the school believe it has a problem with bullying?
Is the school aware of the long-term harms associated with bullying and chronic victimization?
Is the school aware of the different types of behavior that constitute bullying?
Does the school know how often bullying occurs on the campus each year?
How does the school's level of bullying compare with that of other schools that have examined bullying?
Does the school have a policy to guide teachers and other staff in handling incidents of bullying?
How does the school identify bullies? Are records kept? Are they adequate? Are school counselors in the loop?
What insights do teachers have about bullying? Can they identify some of the chronic victims and bullies?
How are others (e.g., parents, police) brought into the loop, and at what point?
Given that most bullying occurs in areas where there are no teachers, is the current method for identifying bullies adequate?
Where do bullies operate at the school?
What are the consequences for bullying at the school? Are they applied consistently?
Does the bullying stop? How is this determined?
Victims and Victimization
Does the school know all the victims of bullying?
How does the school identify victims? Given that most victims and witnesses do not report, is the current system for identifying victims adequate? Who are the chronic victims? What has the school done to protect them?
What are the most common forms of bullying victimization? Does the school policy address them?
Does the school have a policy regarding the reporting of bullying and the role of bystanders?
Locations Where Bullying Occurs
Where does bullying most often occur? Do data support this?
When does bullying occur at those locations?
Are those who supervise the locations during those times trained to identify and appropriately handle bullying incidents?
Has the school made changes to the locations to minimize bullying opportunities?
The Problem of Bullying in Schools. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, May 2002.
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