Researchers at the University of Kansas have been hired by the State Department of Education to develop a model anti-bullying policy for use in schools statewide.
All Kansas schools must have an anti-bullying policy, but coming up with effective policies and practices to meet that requirement can get complicated. Researchers at the University of Kansas plan to launch a statewide series of meetings in October to present educators with a model policy to build their own programs around.
Clinical child psychologist Paula Fite is helping to lead the effort. Fite says bullying, in all of its forms, has a direct impact on classroom performance.
“Kids are wondering, instead of paying attention to the teacher, who’s going to get picked on next," said Fite. "'Are they gonna make fun of my clothes, and are they gonna post something on Facebook about what I did today?'" said Fite.
Fite said the bully is also not paying attention, wondering who their next victim is going to be and where can they get away with it.
Fite says it’s difficult for schools to meet performance standards in that kind of a climate. The workshops will include strategies for staff on how to report bullying and how to respond to it.