Studies have proven students who are bullied often develop:
- Negative Feelings Toward School
- Higher Rates of Anxiety
- Increase Likelihood of Depression
Students with special needs may be less likely to speak up and tell a school administrator about the bullying. Other times, the issue may not be properly handled by the school.
In 2014 we shared a study that showed school bullying side effects can persist well into a person’s 50s – making bullying a serious issue that can impact individuals throughout their lives.
At the end of the day, it’s the duty of the k12 school to ensure that all students are safe from bullying – especially students with special needs. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Implement an Effective Bullying Prevention Plan
Education is a key piece of any bullying prevention plan. One of the most critical steps in preventing such bullying is teacher children about disabilities early. In Austin, Texas there is a ‘Kids First’ program for 2nd graders that is designed to help students learn empathy skills. Helping students understand different disabilities is a great weapon against bullying.
2. Focus on Bystander Buy-In
By educating students on the importance of peer advocacy, speaking up and notifying a school administrator when they witness a bullying incident, it products the student and empowers the student body. Popular students who have social influence can make the biggest difference – with studies reporting a 30% reduction in student conflict!
3. Encourage Students to Report Bullying Incidents – Anonymously!
There should be an established system for a student to report school bullying incidents and get immediate help. Did you know all 50 states have some form of anti-bullying legislation? It’s true! Some states even require schools to have an anonymous communication system for bullying.
For more bullying prevention tips and tricks, download our Anti-Bullying Strategy Guide!