Anti-Bullying Model Policy and Best Practices
DuPage County Anti-Bullying Task Force
The DuPage County Anti-Bullying Task Force was convened in June 2010 under the leadership of DuPage Regional Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darlene Ruscitti and DuPage State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett who co-chaired of the committee. Former Attorney General Jim Ryan, who centered much of his work on school safety, served as Honorary Chair. Members Dr. Bennett Leventhal of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and Dr. Weissberg, Professor of Psychology and Education and Director of the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Research Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago, lent great credibility and a strong research base to the work of the Task Force. Anna Weselak, past president of the National Parent Teacher Association, representatives from legal firms that represent our school districts, DuPage superintendents, school board members, principals, parents and others were also involved.
The Legal and Policy Committee, consisting of a school attorney, state’s attorney, school personnel and parents, developed an excellent Model Bullying Policy. The new Policy, which the Task Force hopes will be adopted by all DuPage County schools, defines bullying as “any type of conduct that may reflect a coercive imbalance of power, is purposeful and repeated and places an individual in reasonable fear of substantial detrimental effect to his or her person or property or to otherwise substantially interfere in participating in any activity.” “It is very important that we have a definition of what we are up against so we will be able to recognize it and deal with it appropriately,” Ruscitti said.
The Best Practices Committee developed a comprehensive research-based Best Practices Manual utilizing the Illinois Rising Star model for school improvement as a framework for bullying prevention. The Manual describes how bullying prevention can be embedded throughout the school community using Rising Star’s “Eight Essential Elements of Effective Education” and focusing on the development of social and emotional learning skills. The Committee also developed a bullying protocol, incident reporting form and indicators as a tool for measuring progress.
The efforts of the Task Force are part of a larger initiative of Building a More Civil Society. Each school in the county has named a point person who will be trained to use the resources developed by the Task Force and who will provide best practices to the county-wide group. Their on-going work will include developing a three-year plan to continue to combat bullying and provide for the social and emotional development of all students.
The work of this group illustrates the best in community education bringing all partners to the table to do what’s best for kids today and into the future.