10 Second Intervention

Caring Adults Responding to Bullying at School:
10-Second Intervention

Here is an approach to reducing name-calling, put-downs, slurs, swearing and other forms of verbal abuse on campus.

Every adult on campus who hears the offensive remark shares responsibility for taking 10-seconds to intervene.

Additional interventions may be required. But, every adult can be actively engaged in reducing bullying by using this technique:

The 10-Second Intervention

Here’s how it looks:
1. Stop.
2. Turn calmly to whoever said the inappropriate statement.
3. Say something like, “That’s inappropriate language for school. Please don’t say it again”.
4. Then, move on – no lecture, argument or further discussion.

Rather than asking adults on campus to intervene with a whole “teachable moment” around verbal bullying, the 10-second intervention has a higher likelihood of success because it is a low-risk intervention and is more likely to be used.

When every adult at school is doing this consistently, it really gets the attention of students! It also puts into the air that caring adults on campus are trying to do something about bullying and make school a safer and more caring place for all kids. Frequent use of the 10-second intervention sends a consistent and strong message to youth about what adults will permit at our school.

Another by-product of this action is that students may begin to see the adults intervening as people they can trust to take action against inappropriate behavior. Caring adults, who notice, name and respond with a 10-second intervention when they see and hear bullying become “islands of safety” for youth.

Introduce the idea of the 10-second intervention at your school site. It is not the whole answer to reducing bullying, but it is a good start.

The 10-Second Intervention
• Engage all adults on campus as “interventionists”.
• Use as often as possible.
• Ideal for transitional moments when there is no specific target or perceived hostile intent. (That’s retarded! That’s so gay!)
• Make it brief and respectful; not a lecture.
• Make a mental note of who was involved.
• Watch for repeat offenders and report them to administration for further action.

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