School anti-bullying programs can have a huge impact on kids, and the good news is these programs don't have to be major (and expensive) productions. PTO and PTA leaders say it's often small acts of kindness that reach kids and help them feel more a part of their school. Here's a list of PTO-tested anti-bullying campaign ideas that can help stomp out school bullying.
“Ask older students at your elementary school to casually patrol the playground while younger students are at recess. Encourage them to reach out to students who may be playing alone or to let teachers know about a student who seems to be struggling. With guidance, older students can help younger students resolve simple disputes.” —Christina C.
“If your school has a large tree near its entrance, adorn it with anti-bullying messages. If the notes are abundant, it will become a conversation piece and keep students talking about anti-bullying.” —Yaritza C.
“Use a theme for an anti-bullying program. For example, the Pillager (Minn.) PTO ran a campaign called Superhero: Stop Bullying that included a poster and essay contest. Each participant received a button with the Superhero: Stop Bullying slogan. Essays and posters were displayed at school to promote awareness and photos of prizewinning entries were published in the local newspaper.” —Misty C.
Build strength and confidence
“Create a program focused on fitness and athletics, two areas where kids are often bullied. A fun-in-fitness program can bring together kids who are bullied to work with students who can mentor. Together, the kids work on basic skills and teamwork. Not only does it send a message about healthy habits, but it can also boost confidence and self-worth.” —Jennifer C.
Message in a locker
“Work with middle school students to write positive and inspirational notes to classmates. Students then slip notes into lockers without being seen. Classmates later find a surprise note that boosts their spirits. It’s the act of writing the note as much as receiving one that improves students’ attitude toward others.” —Jenny D.
“Try to mix things up at lunch. Select a group of students, such as the National Honor Society members, to sit with different groups of younger students on a regular basis. Students will get to know other students who they wouldn’t typically meet.” —Tina C.
“Create a Random Acts of Kindness board. Start off with a bulletin board with a plain black background. Explain to students the idea behind random acts of kindness. Provide colorful sticky notes to teachers and ask them to write down a note about an act of kindness they observe. Soon the plain, black bulletin board will be a rainbow of colors and each note will provide an idea for another act of kindness.” —Francesca C.
“Set up a buddy club made up of a handful of reliable students who can reach out to students who may be new to the school or may be having trouble making friends.” —Mandy S.
“Ask children to participate in the morning announcements at school so they can share a daily message about anti-bullying. One option is to repeat a motto each day, such as “Treat people the way you want to be treated and make it a great day!”” —Shuyue V.
Kind words all year long
“Start by having each student pull a name of a classmate from a hat. Each student keeps an eye on their new “friend.’’ At the end of the week, students compose a note with compliments or nice thoughts and deliver it to their friend. The process is repeated throughout the school year and at year’s end, each student has a ring of index cards full of inspirational notes.” —Amy H.
“We’re virtual, so the idea is that kids will pick up the rocks at a designated time and either paint and return at their leisure or join us on a scheduled Zoom rock painting event where we can paint, chat, and share our creations.” —Alex K.
Many exhibitors who present anti-bullying programs at schools have created virtual versions of their talks. A quick Google search of anti-bullying assemblies in your area can call up local performers to reach out to.
Free Family Tech Talk Presentation (includes live Q&A for parents)
Your group can have an Internet safety expert from Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids & Families program host a free Zoom presentation and Q&A for parents. From social media to online gaming, parents will learn best practices to help their kids use the Internet in safe and healthy ways.
Check out 24 Awesome Ways To Encourage Being Kind at School for more ideas to build a respectful community.
Originally posted in 2013 and updated regularly.