Support and positive encouragement from administrators, teachers and staff are important for the success of a student-led campaign.
Room for the campaign in budgets and school time shows buy-in of student engagement and a concern for positive school climate. It is important that district and school-level administrators and staff learn what the campaign is about, what the goals are and the level of commitment that is required before any options are presented to students.
It is important that a group is diverse and represents the student population.
It is also important to think about students who have experienced bullying, their friends and those in the school that can bring about change. Here are some things you need to think about before building participation.
- Students who have been or are currently impacted by bullying, whether they are being bullied, witnessing bullying or bullying others.
- Students who should be included to make the experience a positive one.
- Students in your school who have the desire to bring positive change.
- Students in your school who might be able to make a difference.
- Students in your school in whom other students trust.
- Student leaders who will help build and sustain the movement.
- Student leader who has an existing platform and is an influencer on campus and in the community.
- Students who should be included that represent your student population.
- Students need to genuinely care about supporting their school’s bullying prevention efforts.
More information on building participation.
One of the best practices in bullying prevention is to make sure any program, initiative, campaign or movement is not a short-lived effort because:
In order to realize higher rates of success, programs must be implemented and sustained over time.
Students will not invest meaningful time or effort in a movement that does not have longevity or a positive impact on their lives.
Below are some quick recommendations for keeping sustainability in mind.
- Is there administrative and staff support for student-led initiatives?
- Have you identified adults in your building who will assist you?
- Who will take over if you are unable to support the students?
- What is the process for official approval of a new initiative in your school?
- Have you identified community support for additional resources? E.g., parent group, local businesses, local and state government.
- What role will your students play in institutionalizing and elevating this movement?
- What are key components of a successful student-led initiative in your school?
- Could this initiative be linked or integrated with any other existing initiatives? E.g., school climate, character education, SEL or other bullying prevention efforts.
- Have you identified future opportunities for students to be engaged in bullying prevention as they move on to high school?
- Do you have team building activities that would bring cohesion to the group as new members are added?
Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutions.
The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) has developed the Advocacy and Communications Toolkit to support advocacy work that can be used by students as a starting point.
This toolkit guides afterschool supporters on how to advocate for their programs but can easily be utilized in a school setting. It includes:
- Fact sheets focused on Pennsylvania advocacy information, Pennsylvania After 3PM, and afterschool and youth development strategies.
- Federal and state advocacy budget timelines.
- Media outreach and tips to help effectively advocate for your program.
- Sample communications templates to help advocate your program.
PSAYDN also provides several other resources on advocacy.