4.2 Supporting School Staff

Cyberbullying is a real problem and it happens more often than we know or expect. Schools sometimes became aware of the problem but are poorly equipped to handle it. School staff might not know how to respond, what their competencies are and what is out of their area of expertise, how to respond to one-time incidents or how to develop a school-wide strategy if cyberbullying has escalated. Teacher and other school staff members often report that they would like to react, but do not know how and they feel powerless.

In this section, we will explore some basic guidelines and strategies for schools that wish to address specific cases of cyberbullying among students. Members of school staff will need to recognize the problem, explore it, plan, implement and evaluate an intervention or a strategy. The role of the multiplier in the intervention process is to be a facilitator, support person, and counselor. Multipliers cannot develop cyberbullying strategies and interventions for the school staff or instead of the school staff.  They can, however, offer their knowledge and skills to help with the process. Most often, this will mean that they will help the school think and talk through the following steps:

  1. Recognizing incidents of cyberbullying
  2. Assessing incidents
  3. Reporting incidents
  4. Immediately responding to specific incidents
  5. Developing, implementing and evaluating a general strategy for dealing with cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is only one form of unacceptable behaviour that we might encounter among students. Schools often do not have a strategy or a procedure to deal specifically with cyberbullying; however, most schools have codes of conduct, policies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour or even counter-bullying policies. Cyberbullying should be dealt in the context of these policies.