Trend Watch: Parent Groups Take On School Bullying

PTOs and PTAs customize anti-bullying education to their communities’ needs.

by PTO Today Editors


In elementary school, bullying might take the form of taunts on the bus or the playground. As kids get older, bullying can mean sending harassing text messages or posting embarrassing material on a social networking site. At every age level, PTOs and PTAs are working to prevent bullying and educating parents about how to respond when it does happen.

Elementary School

Many parent groups use interactive assemblies to get anti-bullying messages across to young students. In Cherry Hill, N.J., the Joyce Kilmer Elementary PTA sponsored an anti-bullying program that had BMX bike tricks. The Short Pump Elementary PTA in Henrico, Va., brought in a weight lifter for a program on the topic.

Elementary PTOs also work to educate parents about bullying issues. After its school district implemented a new anti-bullying policy, the PTA at Salisbury (Mass.) Elementary held a parent workshop to explain it. Speakers included the school social worker and a representative from the school bus company. The PTA provided free baby-sitting to allow more parents to attend.

Middle School

Middle school bullying programs often shift the focus to Internet safety and cyberbullying. The Wayland (Mass.) Middle School PTO addressed issues related to bullying at many meetings this school year. Parents learned about state anti-bullying legislation, received advice from local police officers on handling cyberbullying, and heard tips from the school technology specialist. The PTO also added links to Internet safety resources on its website.

Another middle school group, the West Jackson Middle School PTO in Jefferson, Ga., gave parents advice on what to do if their kids view objectionable content online or visit online gaming sites.

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