Harassment and bullying are entirely unacceptable in the workplace. A school environment is no different. School management, teachers, and staff must take firm action to prevent any such incidents. It can lead to complex working conditions, undermine health and safety, and lead to feelings of loneliness. In severe cases, it could also lead to individuals leaving the school.
Any school management must take harassment and bullying at work extremely seriously. A school's professional code of conduct must consider it as unprofessional behavior. No person within a school must discriminate against, harass, or make any discriminatory remarks against any other individual.
Bullying is a kind of indiscriminate harassment not necessarily connected to any of the factors related to harassment, but equally unacceptable. A collaborative approach is key to creating a nonthreatening working environment in a school.
Common attributes of harassment and bullying
In several cases, the attitude of the supposed harasser or bully many not be connected to any specific aspect. Abuse of power is one of the reasons for harassment as well as bullying. A conditioned mind is a strong motivation for various forms of prejudice.
Another common characteristic of harassment and bullying is that it is not acceptable for the person subject to those actions. Sometimes such measures are not easy to challenge and even harder to report.
Addressing harassment and bullying
Individuals must feel assured about their complaints and action taken against the perpetrators of the act. Only then would they report any such incidents.
Even if school management cannot manage the issues themselves, they must support individuals in approaching the concerned authorities for justice. There has to be some consistency in dealing with such incidents.
If individuals cannot speak about it, then they should be allowed to put it in writing. The ideal result at this phase is for the allegedly unacceptable behavior to stop.
When bullying or harassment in a school is widespread, for instance, in an entire department managed by a senior faculty, then such cases must be addressed as a collective issue.
In cases involving violence or the threat of violence, school management must respond immediately. Every school must have sufficient procedures in place to deal with violence. If required, the school authorities must report to the police or look for legal guidance.