I've been asked, “Which Anti-bullying program should we use?” You might not like my answer because there is no quick fix to dealing with bullying.
Summarizing my previous articles:
- Bullying continues because school atmosphere encourages it.
- Each school takes on the personality of adult leaders.
- If even mild bullying goes unchallenged among staff members, it is unlikely that any program will stop student bullying.
- To stop bullying, we need to realize that shaping student attitudes is part of a teacher's job.
That being said, there are many good anti-bullying programs available. I encourage you to adapt one that fits with your philosophy and beliefs.
When looking at philosophy and beliefs, I'd encourage you to consider the following:
Do what you do best, teach. We teach as much by the content of our character as we do by the content of our curriculum. Make sure that there are a district and building philosophies that support respect for each person—staff-to-staff first. Be a person of character. Challenge each staff person to be a person of character.
- We don't have “anti-illiteracy programs” in our schools. What we do is teach kids to read. Likewise, instead of an anti-bullying program, let's teach kids peaceful and respectful attitudes and behaviors. It has a whole different feel than anti-bullying.
- Following the Reading analogy, we don't find the best “vowel program” for all kids. Learning vowels is part of the reading curriculum. Those that have difficulty with vowels get special help as needed. Likewise, some kids won't “get it” by the respectful atmosphere and positive behavior approach alone. Anti-bullying specifics can be implemented for those students.
- Schools have too many stand-alone programs. Adding anti-bullying to the long list of programs makes us look good, but runs the risk of being ineffective. Anti-bullying should be “nested” within a total initiative of respectful interactions. First start with respectful workplace policies for staff, followed by school culture and positive intervention strategies, then character education initiatives, and finally anti-bullying specific interventions.
- Programs don't teach kids, people do.
That sounds like a lot more work than just picking one of the top anti-bullying programs. I agree that the process of coordinating all the components above will be a lot of work. I think it boils down to whether you want to be efficient or effective.