Creative Solutions Are Needed to Bring Effective Bullying Prevention to More Youth
Lately, it seems that barely a week can go by without a terrible case of bullying showing up in newspaper headlines. Bullying is not a new problem, and research shows that youth bullying behavior has actually decreased over the last couple of decades. Nonetheless, public awareness of bullying seems to be at an all-time high, perhaps because we better understand how much it can negatively affect children. Increased awareness is certainly a good thing, but how do we make sure it translates into effective prevention programs and strategies delivered to the youth who need it most?
Many people are looking to schools for help, and there are great examples of comprehensive bullying prevention efforts in schools—improvements to policy, staff training and youth prevention education, increased reporting options, and student surveys to monitor the effects of those improvements. These efforts can make a difference for children, but to work, they have to be implemented fully and consistently.
Unfortunately, for many schools, the ideal combination of multi-level prevention strategies is difficult to put into place and maintain. The best prevention programs require significant resources and an ongoing commitment to persist with the program through funding and organizational upheavals. However, bullying is just one problem that affects youth safety, well-being, and academic success, and schools are overwhelmed by the many concerns they are expected to address. Drastic budget reductions have affected social programs and schools with the biggest bullying and peer violence problems are often the ones with the most significant challenges in other areas as well.
Most Popular Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | October 2012
Did you miss some of our blog posts last month? Not to worry - here's a round-up of our most popular posts from October 2012.
10. [NEW REPORT] Community Solutions for Youth in Trouble
Over the past few years, Texas has shifted youth rehabilitation from large state-run facilities to smaller community programs. And they're seeing great results.
9. October is National Youth Justice Awareness Month
Last month, over 20 states are holding events to raise awareness about youth justice issues and the juvenile justice system.
8. 7 Core Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice
A new article from the New York Law School Law Review examines problems with the juvenile justice system and offers solutions for a more productive youth justice system.
7. NC Teens, Police, Community Join Forces to Stop Bullying Epidemic
Recognizing the need to address bullying in schools, young people in North Carolina partnered with police officers and community members to create a short movie against bullying.
NC Teens, Police, Community Join Forces to Stop Bullying Epidemic
Our small community has been deeply affected by bullying. Last year, two teenage girls committed suicide after being bullied. This school year, we’ve already had five students bring weapons to school to protect themselves from bullies. And two out of three students referred to our Teen Court program for simple assault, simple affray or disorderly conduct are there because of bullying-related incidents.
Recognizing the need to address bullying in schools, our young people, police officers and community members decided to take a stand by creating a short movie. The movie was written and acted by students, many of whom have been involved in bullying.
What Do Bullying and Youth Substance Use Have in Common? More Than You Might Think
October is Bullying Prevention Month and National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, a busy and important time for prevention efforts. On the surface, bullying and youth substance use may seem like separate problems. However, from research, we know that youth who use substances are at risk for other problem behaviors during their teen years. In fact, new findings suggest that middle and high school students who bully their peers are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.
Bullying and substance use among children and teenagers have shared risk and protective factors. Effective prevention efforts minimize these risk factors and maximize protective factors in a child’s life. If a problem has already surfaced, learn to recognize the warning signs of bullying and being bullied, underage alcohol use, and drug use to intervene before the problem becomes worse.
But let’s rewind: how do you know which risk and protective factors to focus on? Read on!
United Against Bullying
At Reclaiming Futures, we are proud to join our colleagues across the country in supporting bullied students and uniting against bullying.
Research shows a link between bullying and substance abuse -- both with the aggressor and the vicitm. According to an Ohio State study, “Youth involved in bullying were more likely than students not involved in bullying to use substances, with bully-victims reporting the greatest levels of substance use.” And 4 out of 5 youth arrests either involve substance abuse, are committed while under the influence, or the kid later admits to having a substance abuse problem.
Bullied kids are also more likely to skip school in order to avoid bullies, which interrupts their education and affects their future.
So today we are wearing orange to call attention to the bullying epidemic and to show our support to students who have experienced bullying. Join us! We would love to hear about your anti-bullying efforts and see photos of you in your orange clothes. Share in the comments below, or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.
(United against bullying in photo above: National Executive Director Susan Richardson with National Program Office staff Cheryl Reed, Jim Carlton, Cora Crary and LJ Hernandez.)
Stop Bullying by Promoting Pro-Social Skills on the Playground
For too many children, violence in the news, on television, on the Internet and even just beyond the schoolyard fences, is a part of their daily lives. The last thing we need is for our children to be exposed to violence in school. Unfortunately, violence does occur in schools every day, in the form of bullying. Bullying is defined as the “intentional aggressive behavior that tips the balance of power and is often repeated over time.”And according to the National School Climate Center, every seven minutes a child is bullied on a school playground.
When bullying, teasing and name-calling are present on a school campus, it contributes to an environment in which students’ physical and social-emotional safety is at risk. It is the responsibility of the school, and in the best interest of the grown-ups working there, to create safe communities that ultimately help contribute to learning.
The good news is that there is a way to prevent bullying, one that focuses on recess and extends into the classroom. At Playworks, we have been promoting safe, healthy play on schoolyards for the past 16 years. A recent study by Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University showed that Playworks schools not only prevent bullying, but increase students’ feeling of safety and inclusion.
Stop Bullying Video Challenge
The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention are hosting a PSA contest for teens aged 13 - 18 years old. Interested youth should submit an original 30-60 second video showcasing the ways they are taking action against bullying and promoting a culture of kindness and respect in their schools and communities. PSAs should focus on the importance of being "more than a bystander" to bullying.
North Carolina Teens Join Together Against Bullying
In North Carolina, teens are joining together to stand up against bullying. As part of the Salisbury Police Cadet Program, teens are joining youth court participants in making an anti-bullying video.
The Salisbury Police Cadet Program is for young people ages 13 to 21 who are interested in a career in law enforcement. As cadets, they learn about the criminal justice system while gaining life skills and mentoring. This year, they are partnering with local teen court participants and Reclaiming Futures Rowan County.
Teen Court is a program that allows first-time teen offenders to be "tried" by their peers for misdemeanors. Teens serve as attorneys and jurors, while local attorneys serve as judges. Sentences given out through teen court often consist of restitution and community service, with a focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment.
From the Salisbury Post:
Addressing Youth Crime by Teaching Social Skills through Sports
Enrolling disadvantaged teens in pro-social activities may greatly decrease violent crime arrests and increase graduation rates, according to a new study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
In the Crime Lab study, 800 disadvantaged boys in grades 7 - 10 were placed in Becoming a Man - Sports Edition (BAM-Sports Edition) programs during the 2009-2010 school year. The participating boys experienced a 44 percent drop in arrests for violent crime and a 23 percent increase in graduation rates.
The BAM-Sports Edition program focuses on devleoping skills related to emotional regulation, control of stress response, interpersonal problem solving, goal setting and personal integrity. These are social-cognitive skills that research shows predict success inIt includes small group sessions, out-of-class homework assignments and after-school sports activities. The sports activities are designed to reinforce conflict resolution skills and program attendance.
According to the research brief:
It’s Just a Bad Egg, Throw it Away
A carton comes with 12 eggs, so what’s the big deal to just toss the bad one? There are 11 left.
If only everything was that easy.
Yesterday, Advancement Project, along with partners the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and the Alliance for Educational Justice released a policy paper titled, Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: Why Zero Tolerance is Not the Solution to Bullying. The Advancement Project works to eliminate the overuse of harsh discipline policies in schools. In compliment of this release, Advancement Project and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network hosted a Twitter town hall.
So, what happened?