Author: Amy Giesler, LCSW

The beginning of the school year is the perfect time for us to reflect on our responsibilities as educators, in every role, to promote a positive school climate. New Jersey’s mandate, The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 2010, c.122) sets forth policy and program guidelines for addressing bullying in the school environment. School districts and charter schools are required by this mandate to deliver age and developmentally appropriate instruction to children on preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB). Best practice standards in bullying prevention and intervention indicate that the first line in defense against bullying behavior is maintaining a school climate where respect and positive regard for all individuals is expected.

Here at The Windsor Schools, the implementation of a school-wide Positive Behavior Support program helps establish an environment conducive to learning, where students feel safe to grow educationally, socially, and emotionally. At the core of our universal Positive Behavior Support program are “The Windsor Academy Student Expectations.” Overall, these expectations provide the framework for students to develop behaviors that support allow them to succeed. The Windsor Academy Student Expectations address specific behaviors that may be related to bullying. “Choose Respectful Words” and “Keep Hands, Feet and Objects to Self” are positively stated and reinforced to remind students that everyone has the right to feel safe and welcomed in school. In addition to school-wide behavioral expectations, more intensive support is provided to students who have engaged in bullying behaviors or have been bullied themselves. Students who have demonstrated the aggression characterized by bullying behavior work with Licensed Social Workers, who can help them uncover the motivation behind their actions and learn empathy for others. Conversely, students who have experienced bullying receive the intensive emotional support, validation, and self-esteem development that is so critical to countering the emotional impact of this behavior.

Positive school-wide expectations for behavior help Windsor students learn how to treat each other with respect. Through the acquisition of pro-social skills, students who have bullied others learn alternate strategies of relating to peers, while students who have experienced bullying are treated with dignity and empathy.

To learn more about how The Windsor Schools can help your students with bullying, visit www.thewindsorschools.com