Social services are limited in the White Pine County School District community, 240 miles from the closest city. When the district’s efforts to reduce bullying in schools did not work, school leaders tried a different approach: asking students about the problem.
The Bully Survey asks four questions: Where does bullying occur? What time of day? What is the form of bullying? Who are the victims and who are the bullies? After the surveys are received, students identified as bullies and their parents meet with administrators and school counselors to discuss the identified behaviors.
The program has had an immediate impact, especially at the middle school, where most bullying issues occurred. More than 70 percent of the students identified as bullies do not reappear on subsequent surveys, and less than 10 percent of the students appear more than twice.
Students often are surprised to learn their peers see them as bullies and are rewarded when they are no longer on the bully list. Support and assistance are provided to both the students and their families as a critical element in successfully reducing bullying incidents.
While no single activity or program will wipe out bullying, this program has made a huge impact.