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According to the National Center of Educational Statistics (NCES), more than one out of five 12- to 18-year olds report experiencing bullying—and because many incidents of bullying go unreported, the true number of bullied students is likely much higher.


Because of its profound negative impact, addressing bullying should be a top priority for school officials and SROs. Combating bullying effectively requires a mix of technology, strategy, and culture. Read on for 5 tools and tactics officials can use to prevent and respond to bullying in their schools.


  1. Create an open environment through awareness programs

The most effective bullying prevention programs include school-wide education on what constitutes bullying and the extent of its harm, as well as prevention tactics, bystander intervention strategies, and reporting of incidents.


Technology, such as educational videos, self-paced training programs, and mobile personal safety apps, plays an important role in creating a culture of awareness and open communication. By promoting the positive outcome of these technologies, victims are encouraged to come forward. After all, if bullying incidents aren’t reported, identifying, addressing, and preventing this behavior effectively is extremely difficult.


  1. Provide the ability to report anonymously

Providing anonymous reporting tools can alleviate the common fear of retaliation. When students and family members are confident that their identities will be protected, they are more inclined to report incidents knowing their concerns will be taken seriously and the incidents will be handled with discretion. Furthermore, the presence and promotion of anonymous reporting capabilities serve as a deterrent to bullies on campus.


  1. Collect statistical data to understand bullying trends

School administrators who provide anonymous reporting capabilities see a significant uptick in the number of bullying claims. By capturing this information with the right tool, administrators are better equipped to make educated decisions on how to combat bullying in the future. Data analysis provides deeper insights, such as:

  • What is the most common type of bullying on your campus? Is it physical, emotional, social, or a combination of the three?
  • Which demographics are most likely to experience bullying on your campus? What can you do to support these demographics specifically?
  • What are the effects of bullying on your campus? What resources can you provide to diminish these effects and decrease adverse outcomes?


  1. Build a data-driven safety plan

Effective safety plans differ based on the specific needs and issues of individual schools, but a comprehensive plan must address bullying at each stage of the incident lifecycle. Prevention tactics include educating the entire community about the negative effects of bullying, providing the necessary tools and information to empower them to intervene when a situation escalates, and improving surveillance in bully-prone areas.


Identifying bullying is improved by promoting the availability of easily accessible reporting tools, increasing awareness of the signs of bullying both in school and at home, and encouraging bystander intervention by students, staff, and faculty.


An effective response plan must protect the victim’s identity, enforce consequences for bullying, and discourage future misconduct. Most importantly, responding to bullying claims should involve counseling and support services for students. Both bullies and victims may have social, emotional, or behavioral issues and helping students manage these problems is key to preventing future incidents.


  1. Continue to report, analyze, and optimize your prevention strategy

Anonymous reporting tools provide a continuous feedback loop that helps administrators understand whether or not safety plans are effective. Continued use of reporting technology on campus and data analysis helps detect changes in bullying behavior and provides administrators with insight into specific needs from year to year.


Administrators must remain hyper-aware of the bullying climate within their schools at all times. Keeping detailed, easily accessible records of bullying incidents helps administrators track the social culture, identify high-risk individuals, and understand when and where a more aggressive plan needs to be implemented.


Ready to take a more proactive approach to bullying? Contact us to request a demo or learn more about our comprehensive suite of education-specific security solutions.