STOP: An Anti-Bullying Guide for Families, Schools, and Others Working with Children

Presenter: Graham Hartke, Psy.D.

View the webinar’s corresponding slides here

View the Webinar

Bullying is a serious and far too pervasive problem that may lead to long lasting problems for children, adolescents and adults. Effective intervention and prevention of bullying is essential to protect our kids, quickly stop unwanted aggressive behavior, and promote prosocial skills in all environments. This webinar will provide an overview of bullying, why it occurs, and strategies for how it can be prevented and responded to in school, at home, and online.

Dr. Graham Hartke, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and was recently appointed Director of the NJCTS Tourette Syndrome Clinic at Rutgers. He is a graduate of Rutgers University where he received his graduate degree from the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology with a doctorate in school psychology and a concentration in Sport Psychology.


  1. G. Wells says:

    Can you give any practical real life tips when the school doesn’t help the situation? Is there a particular website/resource you would recommend?

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      It is unclear what is meant by not helping the situation, but in general trying to improve communication is often a main goal. Parents should put their concerns in writing and document their interactions with school personnel regarding the bullying incident. Also, It can be helpful for parents to request meetings with school officials in person to discuss concerns. In these meetings, it may be necessary to bring to a school’s attention how their (the school’s) actions in response to a bullying report might have made a situation worse.
      School officials are required to respond to bullying incidents, but might not be aware of every important piece of information/evidence, particularly how it is affecting children at home. Schools are also not always aware of how children respond to each other after a bullying report is made. Parents should request to speak with the bullying coordinator (often a school counselor or vice principal), and in some instances might need to speak directly with a principal or superintendent. If parents are still having difficulty with the school they might want to seek legal assistance from an education lawyer.

  2. G Daigle says:

    Sometimes parents are concerned about saying the right thing to say to a child who is feeling like a victim. You mentioned a number of resources, is there one in particular that would help parents with the right words?

  3. L Rhyme says:

    Any tips on how to avoid sitting along at lunch or on the bus in middle school?

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      If parents notice their child is sitting alone at lunch or on the bus in middle school, it is important to first assess the situation by talking to your child and the school/bus driver to find out: Why this is the case? Is it deliberate (is your child choosing to sit alone, or are other children purposefully ignoring/leaving out your child)? How long has this been the case? There are many reasons why this may be happening, and it is important to address those reasons specifically.
      After figuring out what is going on, parents can work with teachers and/or school counselors to facilitate social engagement. Intervention also involves speaking with the children about their concerns and identifying children they would be willing to sit near/with.

  4. Linda P says:

    My son in 5th grade had problems last year – minor ones, but they made him very uncomfortable. What can we say to help him get more at ease this year?

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      It is important to speak to the school (teacher, counselor, principal) about your concerns at the start of the year so they are aware, and can back you up when you communicate to your child about the supports available in school (counselor, safe person to talk to) if they need help. Next talk to your child, and listen to their concerns. Explain what they can do if they are having difficulty (school plan), and that the teacher/counselor know about their concerns and are there to help.

  5. Michelle B says:

    My son was in middle school and harassed. Then when he attended summer camp he had similar experiences. In your experience is it possible that some kids give off some way of being that calls attention to them in a negative way. The same could be said for kids that change schools.

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      I am sorry to hear about this. These situations do happen, and can be very upsetting for both children and parents. In these circumstances it is helpful to have a proactive plan with the school/camp to (1) make the school (camp) aware of potential bullying problems and (2) set up supports (staff members who child can talk to, pairing child with positive peers, extra supervision and check-ins). Also, in some cases it could be helpful for the child to have individual and/or group therapy to help develop social skills, and/or get involved in supervised extra curricular social activities to build confidence/self esteem/ and social skills (sports, clubs, educational programs, performing arts etc..)

  6. Kristen G says:

    When you said that bullying doesn’t stop after high school you mean the bully doesn’t stop being a bully – correct? Is a victim typically a victim even in college and beyond?

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      I meant that people can bully at any age. I didn’t mean that every bully continues to bully, or every victim continues to be a victim throughout the lifespan into adulthood. Childhood bullying victims are not typically continuing to be victims into adulthood, but overall they do have a higher chance of having some type of mental health problems than others who did not bully. Of course, every individual and situation is unique and these are general statements.

  7. Rebecca S says:

    Does bullying seem to run in families – parent to child or sib to sib?

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      The environment a child is raised in can influence bullying behavior.
      Children of authoritarian parents (more directive less responsive, harsh punishment) tend to exhibit more bullying behaviors than children raised in more authoritative parents (demanding but supportive)

  8. Tim K says:

    What is it called when parents are yelling at kids and coaches on the side lines, is that considered bullying? It’s certainly not good modeling! I understand the desire to support your child, but some of these parents are out of control.

    • Dr. Hartke says:

      Depending on the situation it can be called many names. In many circumstances when this behavior is not crossing the line, it is passionate parent spectators cheering on their kids. When it turns ugly, aggressive, persistent, and disruptive, yelling at coaches can be considered harassment or intimidation, because there may not be a power difference to call it bullying. Yelling at kids can be considered harassment, bullying, or intimidation.