As we have always emphasized the role of the state to ensure a bully-free environment, it’s now scientifically proven that anti-bullying laws and programs do help in curbing bullying from the society. A study conducted in 2013 reveals that schools that have special programs to combat bullying are successfully able to reduce its occurrence by almost 25 percent.
There are also other evidences claiming that anti-bullying laws can play a very positive role too. The study from JAMA pediatrics as reported by CNN has very fascinating results.
Before The Laws Existed
In America, anti-bullying laws didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Where every state now has legislation against bullying, a decade ago, it was just something that we all accepted.
It all changed after the Columbine High School incident, in which two students massacred 12 other students before killing themselves. It was believed that bullying could have been a major factor for this retaliation. After that, states quickly introduced anti-bullying laws as to stop any such future incident.
Designing Effective Programs
Though most of the programs are so new that their effects are not yet discoverable but with the help of observational data, a few things have been revealed that can work out effectively can be used as a starting point.
- First, we need to set a criterion that determines what can be considered as bullying. Bullying falls in the category of speech and if there aren’t any stringent measures that can actually define this problem, then First Amendment can very easily protect a bully. It’s very necessary to prove that bullying is a real threat, only then we can ensure that anti-bullying laws will be upheld.
- Once bullying is defined, teachers can be trained to enforce anti-bullying measures. Many teachers would simply ignore to step in unless they know their intervention will bear some results and support.
- Finally, laws should be able to express to parent and teachers that bullying shouldn’t be considered normal. For instance, if there are a dozen classes and all of them have approximately similar percentage of bullies, bullying may seem normal, but it shouldn’t. Unfortunately, when something happens around us persistently, we ignore it, because this is how our brains are designed to put things into the background. Educating teachers will help them to reconsider their approach towards bullying so that they never see it again see as normality. Their opposition can make a lot of difference but however, not many teachers would step in unless their intervention is backed by laws.
What Can We Do?
It’s pertinent that every school should have anti-bullying programs which can include special workshops for teachers and students. Precedents are needed to be put forth that will reveal how bad bullying can be. Now that bullying is very common, teachers can have many examples to teach students about the harms involved. Check with your kid’s school about their plans to curb bullying and participate to make it better.
As a general rule, students learn what they are taught. When every person in their life would emphasize that bullying is wrong, they will surely take that as a norm. Schools always have the best ideas in which parents can participate. Therefore, make sure you get involved as soon as possible.