Combating Bullying Across a School District

No Bullying Symbol

Bullying is recognized as a prevalent problem within schools across the nation; so much so, that in 2006, a National Bullying Prevention Month (October) was established to unite communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.

The facts speak for themselves. Nearly one in three U.S. students in grades 6 – 10 are involved in moderate or frequent bullying either as perpetrators, victims, or witnesses/bystanders, according to studies. With factors showing a strong correlation between bullying, student behavior, and academic outcomes, it is more important than ever for schools to find an effective way to manage the learning environment to enhance student safety, and, ultimately, student success.

Here in the Garland Independent School District, we believe that establishing trust between students and educators through a safe environment and positive culture is vital for academic success. To help create a safe environment and improve outcomes for our students, we implemented a data-driven program that would not only identify and address bullying, but help prevent it before it starts.

Being One Step Ahead of Bullying

Garland ISD, an “urban suburban” district in the Dallas area, has a student population of 58,000 across 71 campuses. As the second-largest school district in Dallas County—and 12th-largest in Texas—the majority of our students are minorities within a population that tends to be very transient. With such a large district, we face many challenges, including having many students in the at-risk category.

Contributing to the transient nature of the student population, Garland ISD employs a “choice of school” program; allowing parents to select the campus their children will attend for the upcoming school year. This makes it even more difficult for teachers to establish relationships with students and parents, and for teachers to know and understand individual behaviors and academic tendencies.

These factors, paired with ubiquitous social media and the rise of cyber bullying, contributed to our growing urgency to establish a reliable and efficient way to access, identify and help change behavior, with the goal of building a stable learning environment for our students.

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