Implementing Effective Programs to Increase Safety and Reduce Bullying in Connecticut Private Schools, USA: A Policy PerspectiveAngela M. Hudson Davis1, Paul A. Bourne2*
- Corresponding Author:
- Paul A. Bourne
Director, Socio-Medical Research Institute
E-mail: [email protected]
Introduction: Providing a safe, supportive, and encouraging school environment is a social responsibility that parents delegate to lawmakers, teachers, and school administrators. It is in some respect a public right—or at least a perceived right—that the public has come to expect from its lawmakers, teachers, and administrators. Objectives: This research seeks to evaluate the role of Safe School Climate Coordinator in establishing a school climate programs and related policies to improve school safety and reduce bullying. Methods: The research employed the qualitative methodology from which six key themes emerged: mental health support; resource constraints; impact and influence of technology and social media; clear definition and distinction of bullying, harassment, and teasing; parental involvement and support; and importance and significance of the network’s culture. Nine participants from seven private schools in Connecticut took part in semi-structured interviews that were specially designed and conducted by the researchers. The nature of the interviews allowed participants to provide useful insights into the role they played in enhancing school climate by carefully developing and implementing policies and programs that reject violence and promote a school environment that is safe and conducive to learning. Findings: The administrators were involved in training teachers and staff in detecting bullying activities and to immediately address them if identified. In order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the participants and any information that was shared during the discussion, no personally identifiable information was used. A three-letter code or initials was used to further mask the identity of the participants. Each school administrator contributed equally to the discussion and actively participated in the semi-structured interviews. Most were interested in the outcome and willingly agreed to provide input regarding the development and implementation of school safety and antibullying manual as a deliverable for this action research project. Conclusion: The Safe School Climate Coordinator role was examined to ascertain actions taken to improve school safety and prevent bullying activities. The results of this study highlighted the importance of robust policies and careful oversight by the school administrators in maintaining a safe and bully-free environment. A safe and nurturing school culture paired with strong leadership can positively influence the school’s environment resulting into improved academic successes and favorable behavioral outcomes of students.