Bullying in schools has become a huge problem in our schools according to the national education board 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to kids being bullied at school. 1 out of every 10 students who drop out of school does so because of being repeatedly bullied at school.
The CEEP (the center of evaluation of educational procedures) has found that when schools focus on the role of bystanders you reduce bullying and violence up to 50%.
I’ve been speaking on bullying for over 10 years and have seen many programs in schools that just make no sense.
These are the programs I’m going to talk about
1. Zero Tolerance Policies
2. Group Therapy for Bullies
I see Zero Tolerance Policies in many elementary schools. Yes there should be zero tolerance when it comes to bullying but zero tolerance means that if they find a student bullying another student they’re suspended from school. The problem with this is statistics show that over a four year period 20% of students will bully another student. What are we going to suspend 20% of the entire student body? There has to be another way of disciplining students by helping the bullies gets back on track and becoming productive citizens in our communities.
Group Therapy for Bullies is another program I have seen I schools. How this program works is, if they catch you bullying another student you have to go to group counseling meeting to talk about it. Once again the problem I see with this is we don’t want a group of bullies in one room discussing bad behaviors.
What bullies need is a mentor to help guide them in the right direction and talking about good behaviors that can guide them in the right direction to becoming good citizen in their communities.
We seem to always focus on bullies and victims when it comes to bullying. Until we start focusing on bystanders and their behaviors when they witness bullying, schools will continually keep mopping up the same behavioral problems.
Bullies and victims are about 5 to 10 percent of the school’s enrolment but bystanders are 100% of the schools enrolment. Focus on changing the 100% of the behavior and significant changes can be made but focus on 5 or 10 percent of the behavior and you will continually be dealing with bullying problems day after day
In my next blog I’m going to talk about some strategies that bystanders can do to create a safe and motivating school environment.