Zero tolerance for bullying. Period.
Just as businesses have sexual harassment classes, schools should have an entire day at the beginning of the school year dedicated to teaching what bullying is, what the consequences may be, teaching tolerance and compassion, ways to get help if bullied without repercussions. Simple yet very powerful.
If bullying occurs, the students should not be suspended but sent to a 2 week bootcamp...a very hard one at that...away from family and friends with no contacts allowed, no TV, no computer, no games... just them with their thoughts. I have seen little terrors coming back from those bootcamps become little angels! Just suspending them is not enough. In fact, it is quite nice to have a little vacation from school.
Kids have to be taught that there are gonna be severe repercussions to any kind of bullying. Period. These are the steps I suggest:
1)We try to PREVENT by first exposing them to the impact that their words and actions may have on someone's life.
2) We then EXPLAIN THE SEVERE PUNISHMENT i.e. bootcamp that they will be sent to if they bully anyone.
3) If the first two steps didn't prevent the bully from bullying, the kid is sent to a 2 week BOOTCAMP.
4) If their bullying results in someone taking their lives, they should be TRIALLED in a court of law. (And if old enough, be trialled as adults.)
The ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY should keep just about any kids from bullying!