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What Makes Effective and Ineffective Anti-bullying Programs? 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’ characteristics, anti-bullying advocates can make the first move in subduing a very old problem booming 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 leave space for personal interpretation on matters of “girls being themselves” and “boys being themselves.”
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One of the most perilous flaws in current anti-bullying practice places the responsibility on the victims to advance their needs and face up to bullies. By encouraging victims to deal with bullies, educators, and even parents, are indirectly blaming the victims, as though problems with their own social abilities are the cause of bullying. Moreover, this kind of focus may actually endanger the victims.
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Ineffective anti-bullying programs are only focused on individual incidents of bullying. To address the root of bullying, schools should initiate a school culture centered on tolerance and acceptance. Add to that, most bullying incidents will happen right under the nose of school staff. Quite scary, but because it is impossible to “be everywhere” and “see everything,” options for intervening in all bullying situations are limited. 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. 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 do not just teach proper communication and positive social leadership styles, but even go to the extent of remodeling school hallways and classrooms in ways that encourage a sense of community and acceptance among students. Several programs are designed specifically to work on school environments that are ripe for bullying and generally negative behavior. An effective program uses supports and strategies at every level inside the building — from students and classrooms to bullying-prevention teams made up of educators and students. Some of the best school bullying prevention programs concentrate on all levels, from school to classroom to individual to community. In supportive anti-bully programs, perpetrators are isolated. They have zero tolerance for harassment and bullying and pinpoint clear consequences for students 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. Eradicating bullying needs parents and educators to be steadfast against negative peer interactions, and there must be more communication with parents when schools embark on anti-bullying initiatives.