Current research reveals that one in six children is victimized by bullying behavior. The type of bullying has also become more serious. There are more physical acts of peer violence than ever before. The Child Assault Prevention (CAP) project offers a comprehensive approach to the problem of bullying in schools. “CAP’s Bullying Prevention Program” is an innovative program designed for Kindergarten to 8th grade and is to be implemented in schools that have already had the Child Assault Prevention Program. It has a three-prong approach to the problem with workshops for school staff, parents and children.
‘CAP’s Bullying Prevention Program’ seeks to mobilize the school to:
• raise awareness and identify types of bullying and harassment
• encourage anti-bully/harassment polices
• train adults in appropriate intervention strategies
• improve student communication, conflict resolution, problem solving and other social skills
The program has received very positive feedback from participating schools. The strongest recommendations come from the children trained in the program – over 500,000 to date. Many of them have shared not only their accounts of victimization but also their stories of bullying others. On more than one occasion, students have resolved to ‘stop hurting others’. With assistance from the school, they received help to begin changing their aggressive behavior.
A whole school approach to the problem includes workshops for school staff, parents and students.
This initial meeting at the beginning of the school year brings together the school administration and the CAP county coordinator to go over the specifics of implementing the ‘CAP’s Bullying Prevention Program’ Program in the school.
All school staff are invited to this 1 hour workshop. It helps school staff recognize the effects of bullying behaviors on victims, bullies and witnesses and addresses the school community’s responsibility for appropriate intervention strategies to promote a safe school environment.
This 1 hour workshop is similar to the teacher/staff workshop. It helps parents to discuss the problem of bullying behaviors in their schools and communities. Strategies are given on how parents can help children who are victims, bullies or witnesses, change their behaviors.
Kindergarten – 2nd grade- This two day interactive workshop uses a variety of age appropriate techniques to engage young children in activities and discussions about bullying behaviors. These activities help develop empathy for children who are bullied and promote assertive and positive behaviors within the classroom. The use of affirmation and cooperation encourage team building within the group.
Role-plays are used to illustrate situations and children are asked to brainstorm successful strategies. Self-assertion, peer support and telling trusted adults are the strategies CAP facilitators encourage the children to use. These role-plays give children the opportunity to participate in supportive roles as witnesses and to practice positive behavior.
3rd- 8th grade – These workshops are developmentally appropriate for students in the elementary and middle grades. They promote awareness and sensitivity to bullying behaviors and offer strategies for responses to bullying behaviors. A time frame of 90 minute workshops inclusive of review time is provided for each classroom. These workshops highlight the interactive roles of not only the victim and bully but also the witnesses. It empowers the witnesses, who comprise 85% of all children involved in the bullying dynamic, to take a stand by not participating in bullying behaviors and in reporting acts of aggression
Cyber empowerment lessons are incorporated into the 3rd-8th grade programs with opportunities for the students to discuss cyberbullying and to problem solve strategies to use if faced with any problems with electronic communications among their peers or adults.
At the conclusion of each day’s workshop, children are given the opportunity to meet individually with the CAP facilitators. The purpose of this review time is to reinforce skills taught during the classroom workshop. It is also a time when children may ask questions, seek help in problem solving a specific bullying situation.
CAP’s hope is to strengthen and empower all students to be SAFE, STRONG and FREE.
Optional Program Review:
A meeting held to review the information gathered and the results of the dialogue with students as well as planning for the next phase of the bullying prevention program. A written synopsis will be given that will summarize the amount and severity of bullying in the school from the school community’s perspective. Suggestions will be given for ongoing de-escalation of bullying in the school, as well as planning for the next phase of the bullying prevention program.
‘CAP’s Bullying Prevention Program’ is a program offered by all of New Jersey’s 21 CAP county projects. For more information, call your local CAP project.