Bullyproofing at Back-to-School Night

Will you be meeting your students’ families at back-to-school night soon? If so, you have a golden opportunity to take another important step toward bullyproofing your classroom.

I’ve written previously about how parent involvement is a key part of an effective bullying prevention program. Our students’ family members often know about mean behaviors going on among children that we don’t know about: in the neighborhood, on sports teams, or even at school. They may feel these behaviors are minor and not something teachers need to know. Or, they may feel that if teachers knew what was happening, we’d handle it in ways that would make things worse.

Teachers need to know about small mean behaviors going on among our students. Mean words and exclusion, even if they take place outside of school, damage our classroom communities. Furthermore, if we hear about meanness soon after it starts, we have an opportunity to nip it in the bud. Once mean behaviors escalate into bullying, it’s far more difficult to turn them around.

At back-to-school night you’re probably planning to share information about how you will be teaching reading, writing, and math this year. In addition, make a point of telling your adult audience that creating an atmosphere of kindness and inclusion really matters to you. Let them know that if they witness or hear of mean behaviors going on among your students, they should tell you, even if they seem like small things. Assure them them that you’ll keep the information confidential, that you’ll avoid publicly exposing their child, and that you’ll address mean behaviors that are taking place in school.

A simple statement like this at the end of your presentation can make all the difference: “More than anything, I care about keeping school safe and kind for all children. Please let me know if you hear about anything that is not safe or kind. Together we can take care of all students.”


How to Bullyproof Your Classroom offers a practical, proactive approach to bullying prevention. Learn how to create a positive classroom environment and how to respond to mean behavior before it escalates into bullying.

“Teacher-friendly from start to finish!”  —Martha Hanley, Grafton, MA

Caltha Crowe is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher with nearly forty years of experience teaching elementary school students and twenty years of experience mentoring new teachers. She is the author of three books: Sammy and His Behavior Problems (NEFC 2010), Solving Thorny Behavior Problems (NEFC 2009), and How to Bullyproof Your Classroom.

Tags: Bullying, Family Night, Working with Families

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