When it comes to the counselors’ role in cases of school bullying, it is safe to say that they hold a lot of important power that can help avoid or mitigate crises. In other words, these individuals can play a crucial part in helping students overcome bullying as well as teaching the perpetrators valuable lessons.
Related resource: Ranking Top 30 Psychology Degree Programs Online (Bachelor’s)
Identifying the Problem
The first step towards resolving something begins with identifying and acknowledging that there is a problem. Sometimes, however, it can be borderline impossible for schools to keep up with the actions of every single student. Due to this, they may be unaware of the bullying that is taking place. The way that the counselors can step in is by utilizing their pre-existing connections with students and leveraging them to obtain information. After all, most schools’ principals and other members of the senior management will seldom have close relationships with individuals students. The counselors, on the other hand, are mandated to get to know everybody who comes to their office in order to help them resolve their struggles. Hence why it is very likely that these professionals would become aware of the bullying much sooner than most other school workers.
Upon learning about the problem, counselors have a few different options that can be used to solve the matter. The first and most common one is to try and discuss the issue directly with the parties involved. The reason why this tends to be a preferable method is due to the fact that it avoids involving the parents prematurely and gives students a sense of trust that the counselor is there to help. Therefore, they will often organize formal meetings with the individuals who are the perpetrators of the bullying as well as those who are the victims. Through these encounters, the counselors’ goal is to identify the underlying cause of bullying and attempt to resolve it before any unnecessary escalation takes place.
Reaching out to the Parents
Since there are certain situations where counselors cannot completely resolve the problem, there may come a time when the parents need to be involved. Although the counselors themselves will seldom venture to personally get in touch with the parents, they will correspond with the appropriate party from the school’s senior management. That way, they can start the initial communication that is going to lead to a solution. Of course, this option is usually reserved for more complex cases where the bully does not seem to respond well to one-on-one meetings with the counselor. In addition, it can be used when bullying exceeds a certain threshold and morphs into dangerous behavior that puts students in “at-risk” status.
Following up With the Victims
Finally, the counselors who work to resolve bullying are always actively communicating with prior victims. Doing so allows them to proactively detect and prevent any further instances of malicious behavior that can restart the entire problem. Not to mention that it helps them keep an eye on the student who underwent trauma and may still be recovering from it. According to Forbes, some counselors even model the change that they want to see by sharing their personal experiences with bullying.
Another crucial role includes organizing school-wide campaigns that aim to raise awareness about unacceptable behavior and incentivize students to report it. That way, the counselors can prevent bullying by making students aware of just how widespread the effects of all their actions are.