Student Safety at The Tobin School: Findings from the School-Wide Bullying Survey
Thank you to all the students, parents, teachers and staff who participated in the Tobin Bullying Survey. We collect this information every few years to get all perspectives on student safety at the Tobin School. In recent years, awareness about bullying has grown and received attention from Massachusetts’ lawmakers, who passed Anti Bullying legislation. We are pleased that our findings show that 53% of veteran Tobin teachers/staff feel bullying has decreased at the Tobin over the last 5 years.
We are also pleased that the majority of students across all grade levels report that they have never been bullied at school. This includes all forms of bullying including teasing, being left out, physical aggression, and online intimidation. However, about one third of students report that they have experienced bullying sometimes or every once in a while, primarily in the form of teasing or other relational aggression and not physical bullying.
The places in school where the students report that bullying is most likely to happen are generally the less structured settings like the playgrounds, hallways, and cafeteria. This is in keeping with how 90% teachers/staff report as the safest place (classrooms) and the least safe (bathrooms, school bus, and playground).
When bullying occurs, the majority of students in all grades report they respond by walking away/ignoring, telling an adult (teacher or parent), or telling them to stop. These responses are consistent with some of the strategies students are taught in the Second Step, Responsive Classroom / Developmental Design curriculums.
Teachers/staff reported that their biggest challenge in confronting bullying is: determining who is at fault when you didn’t see what happened (32%) and catching bullies in the act (30%). Sixty four percent of teachers/staff report that they feel like they’re able to stop bullying when it happens most of the time.
Of parents, 61% reported their child(ren) has not been bullied at Tobin and 38% their child(ren) had been bullied. Despite that, 98% of parents reported that the Tobin is a safe place for their child(ren). The majority of parents reported that when their child complains of being bullied they will respond by talking to him/her (73%) and calling the teacher (52%). While there is a reported ease with communicating with the teacher, many parents added that they desired more information from teachers about bullying behaviors and the measures taken when an act does occur. In addition, many parents wanted the topic of bullying to be mentioned at parent-teacher meetings.
The physical and emotional safety of Tobin students is a matter of great importance to everyone involved with the school. We will continue to use this data to strengthen the areas of the building where people feel less safe and improve communication between teachers and parents.
Boston University School of Social Work, Graduate Intern