With research reviewing anti-bullying programs showing vague results, parents and schools must continue to work together to address expanding concerns regarding school-based bullying. By comparing effective and ineffective programs, anti-bullying advocates can make the first move in overcoming this aging problem thriving in U.S. schools.
What Makes an Ineffective Anti-bullying Program?
Schools that treat harassment and continuous teasing as “ordinary” childhood behavior create a climate in which negative peer relationships grow. Ineffective programs give room for varied interpretations in terms of “girls just being girls” and “boys just being boys.”
Among the most harmful ambiguities in present anti-bullying practice burdens the victim with the responsibility of advocating for their needs and defending themselves against bullies. By making victims stand up to their bullies, educators, and even parents, are indirectly showing that the victims’ own social deficiencies are the root of bullying. Moreover, this kind of focus may actually endanger the victims.
Ineffective anti bullying programs focuses solely on individual bullying incidents. To go to the root of bullying, schools have to foster a school culture that is more tolerant and accepting. Add to that, majority of bullying incidents will go unnoticed by school staff. Frightening, but being unable to “see everything” and “be everywhere” restricts options for stepping in on all bullying episodes.
Educators’ firmness and consistency are needed for a school’s anti-bullying policies to work. When the entire institution does not unite against school bullying, students will always find places to bully other students emotionally and physically. To read more about bullying and how to prevent it, check out http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/08/health/anti-bullying-laws-work/.
What Makes an Effective Anti-bullying Program?
Effective anti-bullying programs work on the entire school climate and not just certain peer interactions. Such programs not just teach students appropriate communication and positive social leadership techniques, but go to the extent of redesigning school hallways and classrooms in a way that promotes a sense of community and acceptance. A lot of programs are particularly made for school climates that invite bullying and negative behavior.
An effective program utilizes strategies and supports at each level in the school — from individual classrooms and students to anti-bullying groups composed of both educators and students. Among the best dismantling the school to prison pipeline programs are those that use a systemic method, zeroing in on all level components, starting from community to individual, and then classroom to school. In supportive programs, bullies will be isolated. They have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment, with punishments clearly spelled out for those who will commit such offenses.
One of the most crucial, and often ignored, pieces of the anti-bullying puzzle centers on school and domestic partnerships. To eliminate bullying, parents and educators should be firm on negative peer interactions, and there should be more communication that includes parents in school’s initiatives against bullying events.