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“How Effective are Chicago Public School’s Anti-Bullying Policy and Strategies?”

Author: Yaritzi Hernandez

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: According to Chicago Public Schools (CPS), bullying is defined as something that causes “physical, psychological, and emotional harm for students.” CPS’s Addressing Bullying and Biased-Based Behaviors policy includes broadly defining what bullying behaviors look like, broadly highlighting the type of practices needed to help develop a supportive school social environment, and the disciplinary action steps to take for a perpetrator of bullying. However, are Chicago Public Schools handling bullying in the most effective way? The purpose of this study is to find out what other factors should be considered when creating anti-bullying policy, how effective are the present-day anti-bully policies, and what types of best should be implemented. This literature review will critically examine CPS’s anti-bullying policy when it comes to its encouragement of authoritative punitive strategies, lack of consensus when it comes to identifying bullying, and lack of understanding student motives and social support needs. In addition, this literature review will also include insight on the types of best practices that will allow for the building of self-esteem, self-awareness, and autonomy for both students and adults. Findings have revealed that the use of authoritative punitive strategies should not be implemented as it can do more harm than good. In addition, such the implementation of practices should include all levels such as teachers, parents, the administration and be created with the understanding of student’s motives in mind. Lastly, having healthy teacher-student relationships facilitates better implementation of such polices. Recommendations include overall having practices and trainings that are made with student’s need for social support, autonomy, and motivation in mind. In addition, having a multi-level approach when it comes to implementing these practices in which they include parents, teachers and even the community. Lastly, the implementation of such programs such as the Positive Action Program and Social Emotional Learning curriculum for both students and adults along with having policies state mental health resources to those who bully and are victims of bullying.

Keywords: bullying, Chicago Public Schools, disciplinary action, autonomy, social-support, self-awareness, teacher-student relationships