Bullying has always been a major problem in our society. I am sure many of us were bullied at least once in our lives. Whatever the reason, it should not be tolerated.
Because of its frequency, schools have had anti-bullying programs in order to create a safe and friendly environment. However, a new study done by the Journal of Criminology found that students in schools with anti-bullying programs were even more likely to experience bullying rather than schools without the programs.
According to TIME Magazine, a review was done of the anti-bullying programs. It seemed as if the programs were more focused on the fears and misconceptions of adults rather than on the perspective of children, although some programs are more effective than others.
The same article suggested that schools with anti-bullying programs that seem to have more of a bullying issue use fear to sell their product and exaggerate successful results. But, schools that try to understand the motivation behind bullying as well as reinforce positive behavior among students and training staff to address the aggression seem to have a better chance of being successful.
Dr. Stuart Twemlow, co-author of “Preventing Bullying and School Violence” explains that these programs can actually give the bullies ideas on how to bully even more effectively than before.
“If you have a list that says do this, this and this in case of a bully, the thing you’ve got to remember is that bullies read them too,” Twemlow wrote. “Bullies are just as intelligent as other people.”
He also adds bullies are not the cause of the problem – they are the result of the problem – and that the actual problem is the climate of the school. NEA senior policy analyst Joann Sebastian Morris explained that “an entire school’s climate must change — which means changing the norms, values and expectations in a school so that students and staff feel socially, emotionally and physically safe.” It was also noted that awareness leads to an increase in bullying and having a title such as “Bullying Prevention Awareness Month” might not be the best idea.
Anti-bullying programs may work; however, they must not focus on only stopping bullying, but instead focus on maintaining a positive environment.
I remember once when I was around seven or eight years old, one girl made fun of me for some reason or another. My teacher told her to stop, which led her to just make fun of me again. Here, trying to stop the bullying didn’t help. In order to stop bullying, it is essential to create positive environments in the classroom which could lead to better friendships and behaviors so not one group of kids feels as if they are being targeted.
Christina Danno is a senior philosophy and English major, as well as a copy editor and columnist for The Vidette.