Anti-bullying programs and initiatives are springing up in public schools and private boarding schools around the country and around the world. Anti-bullying advocates are tackling an age-old problem, and they are finding that some efforts are more effective than others. So, what are the attributes of a successful anti-bullying campaign?
In the past, adults have viewed bullying as something “kids just do”, saying that “girls will be girls” and “boys will be boys”. The only way to effectively tackle the bully culture is with a zero tolerance approach. One benefit of private boarding schools is the ability to more easily regulate and implement zero tolerance bullying policies. An effective anti-bullying strategy isolates bullies and clearly identifies the consequences for bullying another person.
The best anti-bullying programs work to change the entire climate of a school instead of hyper-focusing on single interactions between peers. Many private boarding schools accomplish this by establishing a community dedicated to acceptance. Not only students, but also teachers, administrators and parents are involved in the effort. Students are given resources to aid in interactions with each other. Teachers are given strategies to educate in the classroom, and parents are given materials to help them teach and model anti-bullying behaviors in the home. Combating bullying takes a village, a community dedicated to educating each other and creating a safe and healthy environment.
Successful anti-bullying campaigns help students understand their responsibility to put an end to bullying. About 57 percent of bullying stops within 10 seconds when another student intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. When students realize they have the ability to make real changes in their school, they feel empowered to do good and gain confidence in themselves.
Teach Alternate Behaviors
Stopping bullying takes more than just punishing bullies. It necessitates changing the behavior and teaching a better way to handle conflict. Programs that teach students how to communicate with each other in appropriate ways encourage positive leadership, promote beneficial social exchanges and help establish a new normal for student interactions.