The Bully Free Classroom

The Bully Free Classroom is one of the most comprehensive references for K-8 teachers and administrators on how to “bully-proof” today’s classrooms.

This affordable book (less than $20) helps educators learn how to deal with bullies at school by applying common-sense together with effective prevention and intervention tips.

One of the biggest strengths of this book is the a huge amount of reproducible pages which teachers can use as hand-outs to help parents, students, victims, and bullies understand that schools must become “bully free” zones where everyone can learn and teach in a positive environment without fear.

As teachers, you’ll learn that your job is not only to stop bullying in the classroom, but to keep students who aren’t bullies or victims “from starting down that road”. Although a tough subject to deal with, this book does an outstanding job presenting relevant, up-to-date material which will help kids “learn without fear” and allow teachers the freedom to teach without worrying about bullies and their victims.

Most interesting to me, the statistic from The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). They estimate that 160,000 American children miss school every day for fear of being bullied. That number should be all the motivation it takes for schools to implement “bully free” classrooms.

You don’t have to attend a special seminar to get a grip on what’s going on. By reading this book, you’ll have access to over 100 tried and true tips and strategies to use immediately in your classroom and over 45 pages of reproducible handout masters.

This positive and practical book can help entire your elementary school identify the important problem of school bullying. Better yet, Dr. Beane’s tips, strategies and activities can be easy to implement. Down-to-earth suggestions require little or no advance preparation and few, if any, special materials.

Again, go back to the statistics and realize that according to the NASP, approximately one in seven school kids is a bully or a victim and 22 percent of fourth through eighth grade students report academic difficulties caused by peer abuse. With the recent school tragedies in the news, it’s time to act NOW to change the way parents, students and teachers think about bullying. It is not a “rite of passage” that kids must endure. It’s up to you to implement this in your classroom and pass the word around to administrators in your school that this book is a “must have” teaching tool.

Emphasizing the important role that teachers play in our schools, Dr. Beane reminds teachers to “never underestimate your ability to make a difference.” According to Beane, bullying starts in preschool, peaks during the middle school years and declines during high school. Says Beane, “Bullies don’t just grow up and grow out of it. The must be taught better ways of relating to others.”

Whether it’s name-calling, teasing, threats, harassment or intimidation, kids deserve an environment free of bullying. Just because it happens in the playground or the lunchroom doesn’t make it right.

Don’t miss The Top Ten Facts About Bullying, an excellent overview of what bullying is, who can be affected by it and why it’s important for teachers and parents to get involved in prevention AND intervention.

Helpful quizzes and surveys to hand out to your classroom can you identify problems or potential problems. In Creating a Positive Classroom, teachers will learn how to clearly communicate a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in the classroom while reinforcing positive behavior and resolving conflicts appropriately and effectively.

Another excellent reproducible master, “Our Classroom Is a Place Where…” can be found on page 20. This mini-poster serves as an excellent base for setting up a bully free classroom. You’ll find important, positive statements such as “We have the right to be ourselves” and “We treat each other with respect” in this master.

Spend as much time as you can in the Creating Positive Classroom section before moving on to the other sections (Helping Victims and Helping Bullies). I flagged and outlined several important areas in the Creating Positive Classroomsection and came up with a barrel full of important information to help you teach elementary-age kids learn the importance of how to respond to bullies to how to make more friends. By setting rules and enforcing them about bullying and behavior, you can teach your class a great deal about coping and strategy skills, while also learning a huge amount about their students.

As the parent of a child who was victimized at school and after reviewing several books on bullying, I found the section, Helping Victims, to be a delightful approach to help the victims of bullying, with the entire class, and on an individual basis or in small groups.

You’ll learn how to identify victims or potential victims; how to encourage students report bullying (much bullying goes by unreported); how to communicate with parents and get them involved in your “bully-free” classroom; and how to protect yourself.

You can also teach your students how to defend themselves and others; how to strengthen their bully resistance skills while building their social skills, and how to use humor and other “power skills” to disarm bullies.

Did you know that bullies need help, too? In the section, Helping Bullies, you’ll learn how to help bullies foster positive attitudes and build self-esteem while giving them the opportunity to shine. Remember, if kids don’t change their bad behaviors, bullying may be habitual, leading to violence or trouble with the law.

An excellent Resources section, located in the back of the book, contains information on books for adults and children on the topic, as well as videos, other materials, and organizations (with web site URLs and some toll-free phone numbers).