Resources To Prevent Bias-Based Bullying And Gender Stereotyping
Creating a school without bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping takes commitment from everyone in the community. Here are a few ways to get started in your school:
In the classroom:
- Avoid statements like “Boys don’t wear pink,” or “Girls can’t play football,” because they limit student aspirations and enjoyment. Allow all students to thrive with messages like “all students can wear pink,” and “girls can play sports, too!”
- Develop classroom agreements that focus on respect for all people.
- Explicitly build a classroom community where students respect one another, help each other and work together.
- Ensure that you interrupt all teasing and name-calling, not just when it’s convenient. Remember to explain to students why their words are hurtful rather than just stopping the behavior.
- Use lesson plans that create conversations about bullying, harassment and sticking up for each other, but remember that your work as a classroom community must continue past the lesson!
- Answer questions about diversity in age-appropriate ways. If you avoid answering questions like “what does gay mean?” you send a message to students that being gay is bad or shameful. In preparing for difficult questions, practice makes perfect! Take the time to work with other educators to practice answering difficult questions.
Steps for school-wide action:
- Ensure that the entire school community –– including administrators, teachers, school staff, families and guardians and students –– are most effective in creating a school environment that reduces hurtful, mean behavior and allows students to thrive.
- Make sure anti-bullying policies specifically name groups that are more frequently targeted for harassment like race, ethnicity, ability and actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Naming it helps stop it.
- Ensure supervision of hallways, playgrounds and cafeterias.
- Be sure that professional development about bullying prevention specifically covers bias-based bullying and LGBTQ and gender put-downs. Educators benefit from understanding the impact of and practicing interrupting biased-based bullying.