Parents want and expect their children to attend safe schools. Educators should do all they can to create, foster, and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff. This website is designed to provide schools and communities with links to useful information and resources. The information provided here can help schools in their efforts to prevent bullying, harassment, and other violence and crises from occurring and prepare for, respond to, and recover from critical incidents.
Resources for parents and schools to use after a crisis (updated Dec. 14, 2012)
Additional Response Resources
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
Available in Amharic, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese
Requirements for School Safety
A special legislative council study committee developed a comprehensive school safety bill in 2009. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature and was signed into law by the governor in May of 2010. The link will take the reader to the text of Wisconsin Act 309 that outlines the requirements school districts are required to implement in order to enhance safety.
Wisconsin is one of eleven states awarded a four-year federal grant on Safe and Supportive Schools. The goal is to improve conditions for learning in the areas of school safety, school environment, and school engagement, and also increase capacity for making data driven decisions. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will carry out the four-year project (2010-2014) to improve conditions for learning in 14 to 19 school districts, selected on the basis of high numbers and/or rates of disruptive drug- and violence-related incidents at school. Participating school districts will receive significant support from DPI in the forms of funding, professional development, and technical assistance. This support will be used by the high school staff and administration to develop, implement, and evaluate a three-year intervention plan to improve the conditions for learning in the selected high schools.
The Department of Public Instruction has produced a number of web-based presentations on best practices in school safety and youth violence prevention. To view these archived presentations at your convenience, select from the list below or click on Student Services Webcast Series for these and related webcasts.
Hope after Tragedy: Weston's Story
A Model for School Security/Crisis Plans
Trauma Sensitive Schools, Part 1
Trauma Sensitive Schools, Part 2
Men Encouraging Non-Violent Strength, Students and Schools Promoting Safe Relationships
Character Ed: The Jefferson Way
Restorative Behavior Solutions with the Solar Model
Make it Better: Starting and Supporting Gay-Straight Alliances
Practical Information on Crisis Planning
The following phases address the major components of good crisis planning. Crisis plans need to be developed and customized to meet local needs. Resources are provided for each phase to assist communities and school districts in the planning process.
- Mitigation & Prevention - what can be done to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property
- Preparedness - the process of planning a response for critical incidents
- Response - steps to take during a crisis
- Recovery - how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis
- Comprehensive Guides
Consultation and Assistance
Department of Public Instruction Student Services/Prevention and Wellness Staff
Center for School, Youth and Citizen Preparedness
Local Wisconsin School District Safety Coordinators
National School Safety Center
Wisconsin Association of School Boards (policy services)
Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association (WSSCA)
Resources for Bullying Prevention
Bullying Prevention Curriculum: Rethink, Units for Grades 9-12 aims to expand students’ understanding of the dynamics of bullying behavior in the school and broader community. The seven lessons included help students critically examine influences in the school, community, and peer groups that contribute to or support bullying. This publication can be accessed here or purchased from DPI Pubsales.
Using an age-appropriate and multi-strategy approach, Bullying Prevention Curriculum - It's Time to Act, Grades 3-5, and It's Time to React, Grades 6-8, explore the key knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to help develop a school free of bullying behavior. In each curriculum, real-life situations are outlined so students can practice communication skills that are effective in addressing bullying behavior. Sample assessments are also included for students to demonstrate their increased knowledge, skills, and dispositions surrounding this key health and safety issue. An excerpted version can be accessed here. The full publication of each can be purchased from DPI Pubsales.
My child has been bullied. What can I do?
Information for parents of students who have been bullied.
Act Now! On-Line Bullying Prevention Program
Through a partnership between the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Department of Public Instruction, effective and engaging on-line bullying prevention programs for students in grades 4 - 8 are available at no cost to Wisconsin schools. See Act Now! for students in grades 6 - 8 or Act Now! for grades 4 – 5. For more info click here.
Preventing Bullying and Harassment of Students Perceived as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender
Students perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are at much higher risk than peers for bullying and harassment at school and elsewhere. This resource includes recommended strategies to create safe schools for these students and their peers. For a webcast on this topic see Safe Schools: Preventing and Addressing Anti-Gay Bullying and Harassment
Training on Preventing Bullying of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students
Through a partnership with the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, regional workshops are available to train school staff in creating safe school environments and preventing and addressing bullying. For more info click here.
DPI's Model Bullying Policy
Each school board must adopt a policy prohibiting bullying by pupils. The school board may adopt this policy, and is required to distribute the policy annually to all pupils enrolled in the school district and to their parents or guardians. The school board is to provide a copy of the policy to any person who requests it. For a webcast on this topic see: Safe and Respectful Schools: Policy on Bullying
DPI's Model Bullying Prevention Program
Classroom activities for students in grades 3-8 are included in the 88 page printable document. For webcasts on this topic, see: Safe and Respectful Schools: Education Lessons on Bullying Prevention and Safe Schools: DPI Bullying Prevention Curriculum and Verona's Story
This webcast describes cyberbullying, the intentional and repeated harm of others through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices and what to do about it. Bullying should be reported to police.
Pupil Non-Discrimination Program
Pupil harassment, a form of discrimination, is behavior towards pupils based on a protected class that substantially interferes with a pupil's school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment. (PI 9.02(9), Wis. Admin. Code). Many instances of bullying may also be harassment. The pupil nondiscrimination program provides technical assistance to local school districts, parents and school district residents on matters relating to nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity under state law and related federal laws, and the pupil discrimination complaint and appeal process under state law and rules. (Section 118.13, Wis. Stats. and PI 9, Wis. Admin. Code).
Violence Prevention Program Assessment Tool
This assessment tool is designed to assist elementary, middle, and high schools identify gaps and strengths in their violence prevention program. The indicators within the assessment are recognized as best practices in the area of school violence prevention and contain six components: School Environment, Curriculum and Instruction, Student Programs, Pupil Services, Adult Programs, and Family and Community.
Effective Strategies to Address Gangs
An online tool to address local gang problems created by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
Gang Awareness booklet developed by the School District Of Beloit, WI
Madison Metropolitan School District's Gang Prevention Program
Key External Resources
Teaching Tolerance-Southern Poverty Law Center
Mix it Up at Lunch; Teacher Resources; Bullying Resources/School Climate with a focus on power and privilege
GLSEN-Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network
GLSEN works with educators, policy makers, community leaders and students on the urgent need to address anti-LGBT behavior and bias in schools. GLSEN strives to protect students from bullying and harassment, to advance comprehensive safe schools laws and policies, to empower principals to make their schools safer, and to build the skills of educators to teach respect for all people.
Stop Bullying-Governmental Website
Updated website addressing aspects of bullying. Information for parents, students, and school staff.
National Education Association-Bully Free Campaign
Lists national resources but also includes guidance for classified staff who are often witness to a lot of the bullying that happens in schools.
Additional Web Sites
- Bullying Prevention Policy Guidelines, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2007
- Bullying in Schools
- Gender Bullying - teacher tools/lesson plans
- Pandemic Flu, DPI
- Injury and Violence (including suicide)
- Keep Schools Safe (National Association of Attorneys General and National School Boards Association)
- Emergency Management for Schools
- Emergency Planning, U.S. Dept. of Education
- U.S. Department of Education, School Safety
- Massachusetts Department of Education - Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
- Bullying and Suicide Prevention webinar PowerPoint
- Seclusion and Physical Restraint
- Community Toolkit
- Bullying Prevention Training Modules
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Stop bullying
- U.S Department of Ed - Preparing your School for Crisis
- Crisis Prevention and Response - UCLA
- Strategies for reducing bullying in schools - Stop Bullying Now
School Safety Policy Resources: