According to new research from the University of Texas, Arlington and co-authored by a Michigan State University doctoral student, anti-bullying programs that are now commonplace in schools may be having the opposite of their intended effect.
The findings, published in a study published today in the Journal of Criminology, found surprisingly that students at schools with anti-bullying initiatives are actually more likely to be victims of bullying than students who attend schools without such programs.
The reason for the increase may actually be a good thing. At schools with such programs children are becoming more aware of what bullying is and how to bring it to adults’ attention. Also educators and other school employees are more attune to these behaviors and how to intervene. Thus, bullying behavior may not be increasing but rather the reporting of it has improved.
The authors suggested that schools should develop “more sophisticated” strategies that go beyond implementing preventive programs and move towards “systemic change within the schools,” such as employing guards, using metal detectors or conducting bag and locker searches.
Lori Edelson, Clinical Director of Birmingham Maple Clinic appeared on Fox 2 News Detroit at 10:00 am on October 10, 2013 to discuss the issue of bullying during Bullying Awareness Month. Lori provided information to help teach parents how to identify if their child is the target of bullying or the perpetrator. She also gave guidance on how to seek treatment for both the victim and the bully. Like the authors of the study Ms. Edelson advocated for larger systemic change among communities. She advised that parents and educators should be teaching and encouraging empathy and kindness as much as they emphasize learning, getting good grades, and athletic performance.
According to the American Psychological Association research shows that as many as 70% of middle school and high school students are affected by bullying and victims of bullying have a much higher risk of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and suicide. If you are concerned that your child may suffering the affects of being a target of bullying or may be at risk of legal or school consequences due to perpetrating bullying behavior you may value from speaking to a therapist. To schedule an appointment your child or family call (248) 646-6659 or visit www.birminghammaple.com.