Posts tagged bullying prevention



Kidding vs. Teasing at Pohatcong Township School


Today, I had the pleasure of spending my day with the 4th-7th graders at Pohatcong Township School in New Jersey.  This is my fourth visit to the school in recent years and it’s so awesome to be invited back again and again by a team that is truly dedicated to social-emotional learning in addition to traditional academics.

Last year, I spoke with kiddos about how the small, daily acts of kindness that they do in school are the most powerful way to bring an end to bullying.  We also talked about the difference between rude, mean, and bullying behavior and how to best respond to each one.

This year, we got into even more of the gray area and nuances of peer interactions, talking about the key differences between kidding around with friends and the kind of teasing that creates hurt and upset feelings.  We were all on the same page with the fact that we like to laugh with our friends and that joking around is fun!  Because they could so easily agree that kidding around is one of the best parts of being friends, the kids did a great job at thinking through and identifying when a joke crosses the line into being offensive or unkind–and how to prevent this from happening whenever possible.  We talked about what to do when we have inadvertently crossed the line and made a list of topics that should never (read: ever) be joked about.

With the younger students, I also shared the story, Just Kidding, by Trudy Ludwig.  The kids loved it!  I got to share this autographed copy of the book (courtesy of the author) with one winner of a random drawing, which was a great keepsake!

I taught eight back to back classes and loved every single one of them.  Great kiddos with fantastic insights and lots of say.


Making Kindness a Part of School Culture


This month, I’m working with my first grade students on the power of kindness and the idea that the “little,” daily things we do to reach out to others can make the biggest difference.

Making kindness a part of school culture is the most effective Bullying Prevention strategy.



10 Rules for Kids on How to Text Respectfully


One of the most popular workshops I offer for upper elementary and middle school students is called 10 Rules for Enjoying Life Online & Deleting Cyberbullying.  In my 45-60 minutes with students, we talk about, watch videos about, and share real life examples about how fun and engaging and USEFUL technology can be…and how to avoid reputation-damaging mishaps that can occur through texting and social media.  The students and I tend to laugh a lot but we also get real!  I think I open their eyes to some of the unanticipated long-term consequences of their online activities…and they always teach me a thing or two about a new app or game.  We all have so much to learn…

Here is a list I posted on Psychology Today of 10 Rules for Texting Respectfully that shares some of what I talk about with students and may be helpful to you as a professional or parent working or living with kids.


Is it Rude, Is It Mean, or Is it Bullying?


Easily the most shared post I have ever written, here’s a link to the original article, Is it Rude, Is It Mean, or Is it Bullying?

I begin every Bullying Prevention presentation that I offer to professional, parents, and students by defining and distinguishing these very important behavioral terms and explaining that words really do matter when it comes to how we talk about the behavior of young people.  By lumping all bad behaviors into the bullying basket, we run the risk of creating a “little boy who cried wolf” phenomena and causing this incredibly important issue to lose its urgency.

Please read on and share this post with anyone you know who is struggling to figure out what is going on for their child and how best to intervene.


Bullying Prevention Grant for Teachers

0 is offering a new funding opportunity to help teachers with bullying prevention.


The Grant offers $1,000 to two teachers each year to spend on resources and materials they need to promote safe, positive relationships among students.  Specifically:

  • $1,000 to spend on training, curriculum materials, or other resources to support bullying prevention, and
  • a 12-month subscription to’s videos, worksheets, lesson plans, and more.

Full details can be found on the Grant for Teachers here.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The first application deadline is March 1, 2019, and the second deadline is December 1, 2019.

Is it Rude, Is it Mean, or Is It Bullying?


Originally written in 2012, in response to a real-life encounter with a worried parent, my article on Is it Rude, Is it Mean or Is it Bullying? is one of my most-read posts and has resonated with parents, professionals, and kids alike, who share the common experience of struggling for how to properly define unwanted behavior without catastrophizing the event(s).

From this original post, I have had the opportunity to speak with audiences all over the United States through workshops and trainings and to consult with administrators and educators on best practices in managing bullying in schools.  Here are a few of the resources now available to help bring these critical distinctions between rude, mean, and bullying behavior to life:


Assessment Tool for those who receive reports of Bullying

Fun Activity & Answer Sheet for Students

8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book for Kids & Tweens

Bullying Prevention & Digital Citizenship Workshops

Addressing Bullying in School

In this week’s Classroom Q&A, Education Week’s Larry Ferlazzo asks:

How can teachers and administrators best address bullying in school?

Here’s my response, based on material from my book, 8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools.


The good news is that “big” solutions to the problem of bullying (such as tedious policy implementation, time-consuming investigations, and cumbersome documentation) are eclipsed each and every day by the small but powerful ways that educators communicate to students that their dignity is paramount and their safety will be prioritized. The hopeful news is that while there is no single cure-all to cruelty, there are all kinds of simple, focused, quick, and accessible strategies that administrators and teachers can use to bring an end to bullying in their schools and classrooms. Best news yet: Most of these bullying prevention strategies simultaneously build more positive relationships between students and staff.

What follows are 8 small (in terms of daily time commitment) yet big (in terms of their effectiveness) strategies teachers and administrators can use to address bullying in schools:


1. Understand the differences between “rude,” “mean,” and “bullying” behavior . Intervene accordingly.

2. Recognize the warning signs of a child who is being bullied. Reach out to young people who bully others. Insist that all young people are worthy of help and guidance from a caring adult.

3. Prioritize positive relationships between staff and students. When young people feel connected to adults, they are less likely to bully others and more likely to report incidents of bullying.

4. Create cultures of kindness in your school. Compassion, kindness, and empathy are the antidotes to cruelty, social exclusion, and bullying.

5. Reject the “kids will be kids” mentality. Bullying is never just a “rite of passage” for young people; it is an abuse of power. Kids need adult help in order to restore healthy power balances among peers.

6. Bullying tends to happen in the places and spaces where adults are absent. Increase adult presence in social spaces including hallways, locker rooms, recess, and the bus. Eat lunch with kids. Simply “being there” can significantly reduce the incidence of bullying in schools.

7. Make bullying prevention an everyday activity;not just a once-and-done assembly or week-long poster contest. Integrate bullying-prevention activities into daily routines, such as morning meetings, advisories, buddy systems, lunchtime seating arrangements, and more.

8. Establish a partnership with parents about bullying-prevention practices. Work with families to create guidelines for their kids’ social-media use and set shared standards for how kids must treat each other online.


For more responses to Larry Ferlazzo’s question, please visit the entire post on Education Week.

For more information and training opportunities, click here.

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Bullying Prevention Lessons for 5th Grade


Stopping bullying starts with teaching my 5th grade students how to recognize and differentiate types of bullying. Knowing key behaviors of each type of bullying empowers kids to understand what they are dealing with, so that they can best respond.








Activity instructions and extras can be found here:


Experts Share Tips to Stop Bullying in the Classroom


I love to be included in this roundtable, offered through, alongside professionals like Michelle Borba and Dorothy Espelage.  Hope some of our tips can be helpful to you as well!

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