Bullying prevention and intervention planning resource for school boards
Read the Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, a document to help you prepare and improve your bullying prevention and intervention plans.
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This document is intended to help school boards prepare bullying prevention and intervention plans. If you already have a plan in place, this Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (Model Plan) may provide additional elements to consider.
The Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan was developed by the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) in collaboration with the Accepting Schools Expert Panel.
A safe, inclusive and accepting school environment is essential for student achievement and well-being. There is conclusive research that shows that to reach their full potential, children and youth must feel safe, included and engaged in school.
There is a growing base of knowledge and evidence about what works. The Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) provides comprehensive information about bullying and how to address it.
An inclusive social climate based on caring and respectful relationships among and between students, teachers, other school staff, parents and administrators is generally accepted as a necessary supporting condition for learning.
Committed leadership and ongoing collaboration at all levels (individual, classroom, school, parent, board, community) among everyone involved are key factors to the success of a whole school approach.
A whole school approach engages all key learning areas, all grades and the wider community. All aspects of school life are considered, such as policies and procedures, curriculum, school climate, teaching and assessment practices, co-curricular and leadership opportunities.
The use of data is also a key factor. Data should be used to inform the development of bullying prevention and intervention plans, including the selection of evidence-informed programs and practices. A pre- and post-evaluation strategy is critical.
Creating a plan
Every school board must:
- establish a bullying prevention and intervention plan for the schools of the board and require schools to implement the plan
- seek input from students, teachers and other staff, parents, guardians, volunteers working in the schools, school councils and the public when developing the bullying prevention and intervention plan
- regularly review the plan and seek input from these stakeholders to update it
- work with schools to make the plan available to the public, such as posting it on a website
- sharing it in another suitable manner where a website is not available ensure the plan addresses any matter specified in the policies or guidelines made under clause 301 (7.1) (i)
Advice for enhancing and refining your plan
As boards continue to work to enhance and refine their plans, it is important that they:
- review school climate surveys and other relevant information to identify areas of concern
- identify what evidence-informed programs are currently being used to promote a positive school climate and support bullying prevention efforts of the board
- reflect on what other evidence-informed strategies and practices may help to address concerns
- ask who their key partners are and who else should be included
School boards should also review and use the information gathered in their K-12 Improvement Planning Assessment Tool to identify the most appropriate strategies to include in their bullying prevention and intervention plans.
Making these linkages assists the board improvement plan for student achievement (BIPSA) process, as school boards are required to identify targeted goals and strategies that are focused on improving the achievement of all students.
In addition, a well planned and well executed Board Leadership Development Strategy (BLDS) helps build coherence by supporting the achievement of goals outlined in the BIPSA and the development of a positive climate in the district and its schools.
Consider local needs
When developing their plans, school boards should take into account their local needs and circumstances, such as geographical and cultural considerations, as well as demographics. School boards should also consider the availability of supports and resources related to mental health and public health issues that have been developed by the board or by community agencies such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Take a multi-year approach
Fostering a safe, caring and inclusive school climate as well as addressing bullying prevention is complex. Efforts need to be sustained over time. Board plans can take a multi-year approach and should be revisited as new data and information becomes available, or as progress is made.
Elements of the plan
Education, awareness and outreach
Differing levels of knowledge and support for school board activities may exist. Efforts to increase education, awareness, and outreach will help to engage students, staff, parents and the broader community to support school and school board efforts to address inappropriate student behaviour, including bullying, as part of the whole school approach.
Understand and include the definition of bullying from the Education Act in your communications. Consider the following:
- identify different types of bullying, including cyber-bullying
- understand the myths and realities of bullying behaviour
- identify bullying and differentiate bullying from conflict, aggression and teasing
- understand power and peer dynamics
- identify how biases, prejudice and hate can lead to bullying
- identify different manifestations and underlying factors of bullying, such as body image, racism, sexism, homophobia, disability
Understand a whole school approach and the essential importance of a positive school climate for student achievement and well-being.
Develop awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to a safe, inclusive, caring and accepting school climate.
Identify ways to make students aware of how they can help prevent and address bullying.
Identify strategies to engage parents in conversations about bullying prevention and how to promote a positive school climate.
Reach out to parents and the broader school community. Consider the following:
- Reflect on relationships and interactions and focus on promoting healthy relationships using a variety of strategies.
- Become knowledgeable about community partners and resources available in the community. The availability of partners and resources will vary across the province.
Communicate and share with the school community, policies and procedures including school board or school Code of Conduct, equity and inclusive education policy and guidelines for religious accommodations, procedures to address incidents of discrimination, progressive discipline approach, and bullying prevention and intervention plans and strategies
Base the plan on data to assess, monitor and evaluate
Results of school climate surveys inform the development of the bullying prevention and intervention plans, including the selection strategies, practices, programs, etc.
A pre- and post-evaluation strategy is critical. The pre-evaluation creates a baseline and identifies gaps and areas of concern for the school as well as areas of strength and success. A post-evaluation phase gathers evidence to test the efficacy of the prevention, responses, interventions or supports provided in order for changes to be made where necessary.
Identify the main issues of concern in a particular school raised by students, school staff, parents, as well as identify issues in the physical environment.
Conduct a needs assessment, for example, what are the current processes for reporting, response, support and follow up on issues.
Develop a pre- and post-evaluation strategy. These should be informed by the results of school climate surveys, and other relevant information which may include suspension and expulsion data, the board violent incident report, and reviews of programs and strategies. Steps in an evaluation strategy would include:
- creating a baseline and identifying areas of concern
- measuring success
- making changes where necessary
- creating an action plan to address areas of concern
Identify children and youth involved in bullying (including the bully, the person being bullied, and those who may have witnessed or been affected by the bullying). Consider a risk assessment approach in order to do this.
Identify learning and training opportunities that are needed.
Review and update your plan as a result of gathering new information and share with the school community
Policy and procedures
A strong legislative and policy framework, coupled with a whole school approach, are important steps in bringing about systemic change.
- actively communicate policies, procedures and guidelines to the school community
- review policies, procedures and guidelines and include the school community in this process in order to build upon and sustain a positive school climate
- review guidelines and procedures or develop new ones to address discrimination and harassment as they may apply to students, staff, parents and community members
- outline roles/responsibilities of the school community, including students, staff, parents, and community members
- ensure goals address areas of challenge, as identified in school climate surveys and other relevant data
Focusing on prevention is critical and should be an ongoing effort.
Fostering a positive learning and teaching environment that supports academic achievement and well-being for all students will help reduce the potential for incidents of discrimination, harassment and bullying.
The steps below outline what schools can do to strengthen prevention measures:
- Describe the roles and responsibilities of safe and accepting school teams (the name of this school committee may vary, for example, safe and caring schools committee or healthy schools committee) to the school community.
- Identify bullying prevention and intervention programs or activities that are evidence-informed and that address the needs identified by the board or a school. These should be addressed at the:
- individual student level
- classroom level
- school level
- board level
- parent/community level
- Identify relationship building and community building programs that are present in the school, classroom and in the larger community.
- Identify and support:
- activities that promote a positive school climate
- training strategies for school staff
- awareness raising strategies for students, for example, social emotional learning, empathy, developing self-regulation skills
- awareness raising strategies to engage community partners and parents in early and ongoing dialogue
- ways to make linkages to curriculum resources and day to day learning
- caring adults and student leaders within the school and school community
- Provide opportunities for regular check-ins with students at risk of engaging in bullying, and those who have witnessed or been affected by bullying.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to develop effective classroom management strategies, incorporating progressive discipline.
- Establish and maintain respectful and caring classrooms, for example, model equitable and inclusive behaviour and language.
- Align supervision plans to address where and when bullying happens, as identified through school climate surveys.
Intervention and support strategies
Interventions and supports should be evidence-informed, timely and take a whole school approach.
- Use "teachable moments" within a progressive discipline approach to address inappropriate behaviour. Consider mitigating factors like the student's age, the circumstances of the behaviour, and the student's history before determining the most appropriate way to respond to each situation. Consider a range of options to address the behaviour and help the student learn from their choices.
- Have processes and strategies to identify and respond to bullying when it happens.
- Follow up after bullying incident(s) with students, parents, teachers and other school staff, where appropriate.
- Identify strategies for supporting students who engage in bullying, who have been bullied, and others who may have witnessed or been affected by bullying while respecting privacy. These strategies could include school based resources and/or referrals to community agencies, for example, mental health services or public health.
- Communicate to the school community the progressive discipline approach to address inappropriate behaviour and the procedures that are in place to support students (as well as their parents) who have been harmed or who have engaged in serious behaviour incidents. These policies and procedures must outline what schools are required to do to support students, including the development of specific plans to protect students who have been harmed. It must also outline a process for parents to follow if they are not satisfied with the supports that their children receive.
Please submit your suggestions or comments to email@example.com.
Share your school or board tools and templates
Samples of school and board tools and templates will be posted on the Institute for Education Leadership website to facilitate sharing and learning across the province.
If you would like to have your school board or school level bullying prevention and intervention plans or other related tools and templates shared on this site, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- footnote Back to paragraph Adapted quote UNESCO Institute for Statistics, A Place to Learn: Lessons from Research on Learning Environments, 2012, page 47.