This story missed my radar the first time it was published in March, but it’s an excellent story about how one school in Ely, Nevada dealt with their bullying problem. It had gotten so bad at the school, kids were actually leaving to go to other schools. The school worked directly with the kids who were identified as the bullies:
Fed up with the bullying, Hansen (the principal of the school) scoured the Internet for information and spoke with school officials across the state to come up with an innovative plan.
He started by conducting a “bully survey.” Every student in the school was asked to write down the names of the bullies. Reading through the surveys, Hansen noticed the same eight names kept popping up.
Instead of outing the bullies, Hansen used the surveys to identify the problem kids and meet with them individually. During the meetings, he worked on solving their problems individually, which often stemmed from trouble at home.
He also got the bullies involved in extracurricular activities as a reward for good behavior.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be effective to bully the bullies, so we used it as a teaching moment,” Hansen said.
Hansen also set up student groups to intervene if they saw a problem. The group organized a role-playing game in which students can act out their problems, instead of acting out in school. Students and staff alike say the school has been transformed.
I give credit to the school and principle for taking a proactive approach to the problem. I hope they remember that every year the bullies will change and they’ll have to take on the challenge again to identify and work with them. It’s amazing that only 8 kids from this school caused the issue that sent other kids away. But some innovative thinking on the principle’s part helped to solve the issue at that school.