The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) School Bullying Prevention Task Force recently issued its report on findings and recommendations for preventing and addressing bullying in Illinois schools. The task force found that to combat bullying, schools must also address other types of inter- and intra-personal aggressive behaviors, such as school violence. The task force recommends a two-step process for addressing these behaviors.
First, the task force recommends developing a leadership team made up of not only students and school staff, but also other stakeholders such as parents and community members. The task force recommends collecting and analyzing data to understand how bullying and school violence manifest themselves in the district and school environment. Then, the leadership team should choose programs and interventions that have been shown to be effective at addressing the issues found and create a district and/or school wide plan to combat bullying and school violence. The task force recommends using techniques such as social and emotional learning (SEL) and response to intervention (RtI) when dealing with students, and avoiding punitive discipline such as zero-tolerance policies. Finally, the task force recommends using various methods to implement and communicate the plan to all stakeholders, including through revised policies and procedures, professional development for staff, parent/family and community sessions, and school-based methods aimed to reach students. For students, the task force recommends relying on more than just school-wide methods to communicate the plan (e.g., assemblies). In addition, schools should also focus on methods aimed to integrate the plan into the curriculum.
To learn more about the ISBE task force guidance, the full document can be found here.