School staff can do a great deal to prevent bullying and protect students, but they can’t do it alone. Parents and youth also have a role to play in preventing bullying at school. One mechanism for engaging parents and youth, a school safety committee, can bring the community together to keep bullying prevention at school active and focused.
- Benefits of Parent and Youth Engagement
- How Parents and Youth Can Contribute
- School Safety Committees
Benefits of Parent and Youth Engagement
Research shows that school administrators, such as principals, can play a powerful role in bullying prevention. They can inspire others and maintain a climate of respect and inclusion. But a principal cannot do it alone. When parents and youth are involved in the solutions:
- Students feel safer and can focus on learning.
- Parents worry less.
- Teachers and staff can focus on their work.
- Schools can develop more responsive solutions because students are more likely to see or hear about bullying than adults.
- School climate improves because students are engaged in taking action to stop bullying.
- Parents can support schools’ messages about bullying at home. They are also more likely to recognize signs that a child has been bullied or is bullying others.
How Parents and Youth Can Contribute
Schools can set the stage for meaningful parent and youth involvement, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Parents and youth need to feel valued and be given opportunities to contribute their expertise. To sustain parent and youth involvement, schools need to provide meaningful roles for them. For example:
- Students can contribute their views and experiences with bullying. They can take leadership roles in school to promote respect and inclusion, communicate about bullying prevention with their peers, and help develop rules and policies.
- Parents can contribute to a positive school climate through the parent teacher association, volunteering, and school improvement events.
- School staff can keep parents informed, make them feel welcome, and treat them as partners. Schools can consider identifying a school coordinator to support parent and youth engagement strategies. Schools can set meeting times that are convenient for parents and youth and may consider additional incentives such as providing dinner or child care.