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A Comprehensive Approach to Bullying Prevention

Thursday, April 4, 2019

According to the 2017 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report, four out of ten high school students (41.7%) report that bullying is a problem at their school, and females are more likely than males to say that bullying is a problem. Since Wisconsin began tracking in-person bullying in 2009 and cyberbullying in 2011, there has been no statistically significant increase in bullying at the high school level. Yet, the concern for educators, parents, and students remains. defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-age children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”

The Department of Public Instruction is required to develop a model school policy on bullying by students, as well as a model education and awareness program on bullying. Each school board must adopt a policy prohibiting bullying by students and distribute the policy annually to all students enrolled in the school district, as well as parents and guardians. School boards may adopt the model school policy on bullying from the DPI or create their own. Enforcing the policy is completed at the local level.

While DPI does not recommend specific programming, we encourage schools to use evidence-based programs.

The DPI has created supports for schools to take inventory of their approach to bullying prevention, along with a detailed resource map with links to examples, tools, forms, and training to help schools address any gaps in their bullying prevention programming.

Supports are also available to address differences between conflict and bullying, cyberbullying, and what to do if an instance of bullying falls under Wisconsin’s Pupil Nondiscrimination Laws, including Wis. Stat. § 118.06 (2019), which states that

no pupil may be excluded from a public school, or from any school activities or programs, or be denied any benefits or treated in a different manner because of sex, race, religion, national origin (including a student whose primary language is not English), ancestry, creed, pregnancy, parental status, marital status, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, emotional disability, learning disability.

(There are limited exceptions in the law for some same-sex schools.)

For these supports, and for more information, visit the DPI Comprehensive Approach to Bullying Prevention web page.


References n.d. “What is Bullying?” Accessed March 25, 2019.

Wis. Stat. § 118.06 (2019). Accessed April 2, 2019.