Role of the Advisor

The role of the school-based advisor is to help students foster healthy and constructive peer relationships, out-of-school and at home, as well as being a liaison between students and the administration in the school.

Adults play an important role in the healthy development of our youth and ultimately the success of our communities – they inspire students to learn, help them be more resilient, and keep them safe and supported.

Maintaining Proper Boundaries

  • Always two adults and at minimum two youth during activities
  • Always an adult present when students have contact with community members/organizations

No Private Online Communication between Adults and Students

The most serious potential risk is educators failing to maintain proper boundaries or students misperceiving the online attention they were receiving as something more than educational and platonic. Of course, these concerns are also present in off-line communications between teachers and students as well both in and outside of school. Schools should consider developing a clear policy that establishes the professional standard for educator online presence and online student-educator interactions.

  • Inappropriate messages between educators and students become a very real possibility in online communication environments – it can make it too easy to move from discussing school assignments to asking more “personal” (even if innocent) questions.
  • Secret one-to-one private messages (DMs, Snaps, texts), outside the purview of any supervisory authority, are not archived for the future in case an investigation need arises.
  • Educators (or any adult for that matter) who connect with students online have an obligation to respond/intervene if they see inappropriate content or evidence of a violation of school policy or the law on a student’s profile, or any illicit behavior or information that may put students in harm’s way.
  • Being “friends” or “followers” with some students on social media they use for personal purposes and not others may lead to perceptions of favoritism or bias.
  • Avoid having to deal with selectively accepting or rejecting friend and follower requests from the parents or siblings of students.

Understanding Best Practices in Bullying Prevention

While school-based programs are known to reduce behaviors that contribute to bullying, at times bullying prevention programs fail to reach parents or other critical partners in bullying prevention.

For students and families who are impacted by bullying, this disconnect can be particularly problematic.

The Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit (for parents, educators and professionals serving children, youth and families) and its subsequent companion guides are intended to provide information, research and resources to aid in the prevention of bullying behaviors and other peer abuse. It is informed by more than 25 years of bullying prevention research and practice, including Preventing Bullying Through Science Policy and Practice,1 a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report, released by an interdisciplinary committee of experts, identified the following best practices for school-based bullying prevention and intervention, as well as misdirections in bullying prevention efforts.

Best Practices for School-Based Bullying Prevention and Intervention

  • Adopt a multi-tiered approach.
  • Dedicate class time to fostering social and emotional skills and competencies and communication skills and strategies for responding to bullying.2
  • Ensure effective classroom management.
  • Clearly define positive expectations for student behavior and reinforce prosocial expectations.
  • Provide effective supervision, especially in bullying “hot spots” like the hallways and playgrounds.2-4
  • Adopt clear anti-bullying policies and responsive procedures.3
  • Collect data on bullying via anonymous student surveys.
  • Train all school staff on bullying prevention and intervention.2
  • Involve parents and the broader community in bullying prevention.5,6
  • Integrate prevention efforts so that there is a seamless system of support.7

Read more about best practices.

Facilitating Groups

When facilitating groups, you might find it helpful to use our sheet on how to.

Photography & Video

Always get permission to take and post pictures and videos from those featured. Encourage everyone to feel comfortable speaking up if they feel misunderstood or not heard. Emphasize that you are operating and connecting in a safe space at all times.