Eliza Byard on Professional Development and the Prevention of Bullying
Eliza Byard is the Executive Director of GLSEN.
"Effective and inclusive bullying prevention laws and policies are a critical foundation for good response at the school level. Part of that is because of the signal they send by specifically including categories of bias-based bullying and harassment – signaling to those adults who may have their own questions, beliefs, and issues that they need to think about how to hold those while treating every student in their care fairly and effectively. But those laws and policies don’t live in the school and the implementation of those policies through effective professional development for teachers and school staff to be part of that conversation in the hallways and in the classrooms is absolutely critical. You have to make sure that schools have the time and space to integrate issues of relationship development, of community moral norms and expectations, into the curriculum over the course of the year in a pro-active way. And it also means that teachers need to be assessed on their ability to manage the classroom culture in a particularly holistic way. We need a robust understanding of what happens in a school and in a classroom so that that’s moved forward in a way that truly prepares students for success in life and that really lives out the values put on paper by a piece of legislation."