Bullying Prevention Toolkit for Educators, Parents and Students

The Illinois Bullying prevention law requires each school district to create and maintain a policy on bullying. The policy must be communicated to the students and their parent or guardian annually and updated every 2 years and filed with the State Board of Education. (Illinois Statute 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7)

Many school districts are seeking tools to use when developing bullying prevention strategies and activities. Provided below is the CCDPH bullying prevention toolkit that includes a series of resources for educators, students, and parents to enhance their bullying prevention skills and to prevent bullying. The purpose of the toolkit is to assist in creating a school culture in which students and staff know that bullying is wrong and will not be tolerated. The toolkit provides information to parents and guardians about the signs of bullying and how to get involved in bullying prevention activities.

What is bullying?

Illinois defines "bullying" as acts that frighten, threaten or harm others. Bullying behavior can include harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft and public humiliation.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or thought-to-be power imbalance. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance abuse and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying or something else is a concern.

There are three types of bullying:

  • Verbal: saying or writing mean (negative) things
  • Social: hurting someone’s reputations or relationships
  • Physical: hurting (assaulting) someone’s body or possessions

Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in school buildings, a large amount of bullying also happens in places such as the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to and/or from school, in the targeted youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

What is cyber-bullying?

Cyber-bullying is any form of bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, fax machines, cell phones, email, instant messaging (IM), text messages or the Internet. Examples of cyber-bullying include mean text messages, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites or fake profiles.

Cyber-bullying can occur 24-hours a day, 7 days a week and reach a kid even when he/she is alone; cyber-bullying messages and images can be posted anonymously distributed quickly to a wide audience, deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

What is the Illinois Bullying Law?

Illinois Statute 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7, which was passed in 2010, defines bullying and prohibits it in schools. Statute 105 ILCS 5/10-20.1 was passed in 2002 and requires the school board to address students who have demonstrated bullying behavior. Illinois Statute 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7 was passed in 2010 and extends the ban on bullying to electronic communications originating from school equipment and school networks. 105 ILCS 135/1-2 makes harassment through electronic communications a Class B misdemeanor. 720 ILCS 120/5 defines hazing and makes it a Class 4 felony if the behavior causes bodily harm. (Source: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7564656_bullying-laws-illinois.html)

Learn more about Illinois bullying prevention laws and policies.
Read the full text of Illinois Bullying Law.
To view the current status of Illinois bullying prevention bills, please visit the Illinois General Assembly Website.

Why is bullying a public health problem?

Bullying is widespread in the United States. It involves behaviors that can have serious and long-term health impacts such as depression, headaches, school absenteeism and poor school adjustment for those who are victims, the bullies themselves, and witnesses. In 2009, in a nationwide survey, 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey. (2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fact Sheet). In the 2010 Suburban Cook County Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS), 13% of high school students reported being bullied electronically (e.g. e-mail, social networking sites, etc.). (Suburban Cook County Youth Risk Behavioral Survey)

Bullying Prevention Resources

For educators

For students

  • Bullying Prevention Fact Sheets
  • Be More Than A Bystander
  • Student Coloring Book
  • Daily Tips Calendar : Adopted from the Virginia Department of Health, the calendar is designed to provide school personnel and others who work with the K-12 population with daily tips to share with kids and youth during the month of October and throughout the year.

Feedback

If there are local bullying prevention resources that should be added to our toolkit or if there is feedback or suggestions that you'd like to share about the usefulness of this toolkit, please submit them to: healthycook@cookcountyhhs.org

Acknowledgements

A special thanks to the Virginia State Department of Public Health for utilizations and adaption of the bullying prevention toolkit template and Student Daily Tips Calendar.