To be sure, bullying and harassment at school is not a rite of passage; it is a public health crisis. But just as harassment and bullying is sheer terror for children, it is also frustrating for parents and educators. How can parents and educators ensure the safety and well being of their children when most abuse goes unreported? What strategies should be put in place to ensure student safety? How safe do students feel in their schools? The best answers to these questions come from a source closest to the problem: the students themselves.
The first step that should be taken by schools, districts and their communities to stop bullying and harassment is get an honest assessment from students - in addition to parents and school staff - about whether they feel problems exist, and if they do, then when, where and how often. A well-crafted and anonymous survey that provides immediate results allows students - even those who are bullied - to respond freely, allowing educators and parents to target problems, identify solutions and come to a common consensus.
In most cases, it is the students themselves who offer the best solutions to bullying; the key is to identify ways to listen to them.