This is what we did at Kaitaia Intermediate School in 2001 to reduce bullying/ violence by 90% in 12 months.
1. We got GSE personnel to observe in classrooms over three days (about 5 hours in total) to note every incident of ‘violence’ (anything from taking a rubber without asking, name calling, pushing, shoving, fighting etc) so that we had baseline data on the extent of the problem. There were 40 incidents in that time.
2. We surveyed all students asking them two questions. (1) Have you been bullied in the last month? (2) What is the name of the bully?
3. We were able to identify the same 3-4 names popping up and worked with them and their parents. (In some cases when working with the family it was easy to see where the bullying/ violent behaviour comes from).
4. We sorted out our discipline system, so there were instant consequences that the students understood, and teachers didn’t have to spend teaching time dealing with misbehaviour.
5. We provided professional development for teachers to improve their behaviour management strategies.
6. We provided professional development so that teachers improved their teaching. A lot of bullying/ violence occurs when there is ‘down time’ in class.
7. We tidied up our ‘systems’. e.g. walking in quiet lines around the school, lining up for buses after school, sitting down to eat lunch. basic stuff really, but children appreciate order. Disorderly behaviour in an ordered environment stands out.
8. We invited the same GSE people back 12 months later to observe in the same classes for the same amount of time.
9. Bullying/ violence had reduced by 90%. (4 incidents were noted in that sameobservation time).
My concern for the $62m set aside to address bullying is that it will be squandered on high level and complicated ideas when simple solutions based on what works on the ground are required.