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What Makes Effective and Ineffective Anti-bullying Programs? With the research looking into anti-bullying programs showing unclear results, parents and schools together must keep working to solve growing problems on 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? School systems designating harassment and persistent teasing as “usual” childhood behavior create an environment where negative peer relationships prosper. Ineffective programs leave space for personal interpretation on matters of “girls being themselves” and “boys being themselves.”
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Among the riskiest loopholes in present anti-bullying practice puts the responsibility on victims to push for their needs and defend themselves against bullies. By encouraging victims to stand up to bullies, educators, and even parents, are indirectly saying that the victims’ problems are a result of their own social deficiencies. Moreover, this kind of focus may actually endanger the victims.
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Ineffective bullying prevention programs focus solely on individual bullying incidents. To address the root of bullying, schools should initiate a school culture centered on tolerance and acceptance. Add to that, majority of bullying incidents will go unnoticed by 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 should be firm and consistent with their anti-bullying policies. 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 are geared for the entire school environment and not merely specific 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-based bully prevention programs use a systemic approach, focusing on all level components, from community to individual to classroom to school. 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 vital, and typically underrepresented, pieces of the anti-bullying puzzle revolves around school and home partnerships. To eradicate bullying, parents and educators should both be consistent against negative peer interactions, and there should be increased communication with parents in the school’s actions against bullying incidents.