Create Change within Your School
Does your school have a bullying prevention policy? Does it have a bullying prevention committee? Do students know what to do if they are being bullied or see bullying? If the answer to any of these questions is no, consider taking these steps to change what is happening in your school.
- Talk with an adult in your school about how to create a schoolwide approach to bullying prevention. You might choose a teacher, coach, social worker, guidance counselor, principal, superintendent, or other adult you trust.
- Find out if your school has a schoolwide bullying prevention policy. If it does, ask how is it communicated to students and school personnel. If it doesn’t, ask how students can be involved in drafting one.
- Suggest that your school recognize and participate in National Bullying Prevention Month activities.
- Ask if a bullying prevention committee comprised of students, school personnel, parents, and community members could be formed.
- build awareness that bullying will not be accepted in your school
- teach school staff and students how to recognize and respond effectively to bullying situations
- evaluate and update school bullying prevention efforts to reflect current needs
Show Policymakers You Care
Show you care by telling your state and national elected officials what you think about bullying and what you want them to do about it. Those officials include your state governor and legislators, as well as your U.S. senators and representatives. Letter-writing campaigns and in-person meetings are two effective methods of reaching out to policymakers.
Letter Writing – Customize this template to fit your audience. You can strengthen your case by adding a personal story or including names of people in your school who have signed “The End of Bullying Begins with Me” petition. Mailing your letter is the most effective method to get your policymakers’ attention, but you can email it if you prefer. Not sure who your elected officials are? Find them below under “5 Easy Tips for Meeting with Policymakers.”
5 Easy Tips for Meeting with Policymakers
- Determine Who Represents You
To find out who the elected officials are in your area, use these resources.
- U.S. Senators https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- U.S. House of Representatives https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
- Do an Internet search for your state legislature’s name (for example, “Minnesota state legislature”).
- Visit the National State Conference of Legislatures at http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=17173. In the first box, select your state. In the second box, select “Legislators,” then click “Get Legislature Links” to find your state’s legislative website.
Schedule a Visit
Contact the legislative assistant and request a meeting. For state legislators, allow at least two weeks before you want to visit; for federal legislators, allow three to four weeks. Be flexible. If you schedule a visit when legislators are not in a busy legislative session, they will have more time to focus on you.
Prepare for Your Visit
If you are going as a group, determine who your group spokesperson will be and who will bring up which points. Bring copies of any fact sheets or personal stories with contact information on them for you to leave with the legislator or a staff person. Consider bringing the signatures of those who have signed “The End of Bullying Begins with Me” petition. Another option is to create a mural in which the student body writes why they care about bullying prevention. Visual demonstrations of widespread support are very powerful.
Conduct the Visit
Be prompt for the meeting, introduce yourself (and your group), and explain the reason for the visit. Be prepared for questions and never make up an answer when you don’t know. Tell the person you will get do some research and provide the answer after the meeting. Ask the legislator if he or she supports your issue, and be sure to say thank you!
Promptly send a thank you note to the legislator or staff person you met with, along with any additional information you promised to answer in your meeting.