The anti bullying movement was been created in response to the steady increase in bullying across not only the United States but the world. Countries all across the globe participate in anti bullying activities, training sessions and legislation. What is anti bullying? In a way, the anti bullying movement gives a voice to the otherwise voiceless. It provides bullied kids (and young adults) with a sense of dignity and self worth along with a plan of action. Let’s take a deeper look at what the anti bullying movement is all about.
Over the past couple of decades, incidents of bullying have skyrocketed in frequency. Bullying has not only become more common but it has also become much more cruel in nature. It is bad enough that unpopular kids face have to face bullies in person during school hours but nowadays they also have to endure the wrath of bullies when they are away from school. Bullies have taken to digital platforms like the Internet and text messages to harm their targets. For some kids, it seems like there is no escaping these bullies.
Thankfully, the anti bullying movement exists and it is thriving. Anti bullying efforts constitute a proactive response on behalf of the bullied along with their parents, teachers and the general public. The goal of anti bullying is to stop bullying before it happens by make potential bullies aware that mistreating another person is not acceptable. The ethos of anti bullying is essentially the golden rule. The golden rule states that one should always treat others as he would like to be treated himself.
Yet not all bullying can be stopped before it actually happens. For some bullies, the anti bullying message just doesn’t come in clearly enough. Even though these kids are aware of the movement to stop bully tactics, they continue to tease and sometimes physically harm their victims. These problem children are squarely in the cross hairs of the anti bullying movement. The secondary goal of the movement is to stop bullying behaviors after they’ve started. It gives the bullied a sense of communal backing to make him feel less alone. Nobody likes to admit that they are outcasts, unpopular, teased and abused. Admitting such weaknesses, especially for boys, can be quite embarrassing. Anti bullying efforts aim to relieve the bullied of this uneasiness and embarrassment. Kids need to know that it is important to tell an authority after they’ve been bullied. They should feel no shame in ratting out a bully. There are parents, teachers, security guards and school administrators out there who want to help prevent any future instances of abuse.
Bully Prevention Organizations
There are bully prevention groups that exist to train adults and young people how to prevent bullying and also how to respond to it when it occurs. Many of these groups have developed comprehensive programs designed with specific anti bullying guidelines that can be used in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Their goal is to help create a safe, bully free school environment through the improvement of peer relations and the development of character. The focus of these organizations is to change the way that young people think and act. When young people are taught to live by the golden rule and make socially responsible decisions, they will inevitably create a positive and sustainable social change. Such organizations execute their mission by holding workshops, giving presentations and developing effective anti bullying programs and initiatives that are uniquely tailored to the needs and goals of their audience.
What Is Anti Bullying In A Federal Context?
The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have developed a set of comprehensive “Best Practices” to prevent bullying. These departments have developed extensive anti bullying training programs that teach people in positions of authority the most effective ways to prevent bullying and how to stop it once it actually occurs. These Best Practices extend beyond merely people in authority. This approach requires the collaboration of parents and students with educators and school administrators. The goal is to create a cultural change where everyone involved in an academic environment is invested in the total elimination of bullying. The end goal is to alter the learning environments to the point that the thought of bullying won’t even enter the minds of young people.
While the “Best Practices” described above are a good starting point that sets forth the spirit of the anti bullying movement, it isn’t enough. Forty nine states have passed anti bullying legislation that is applicable to school environments. Georgia was the first state to establish anti bullying laws in 1999. The only state without such legislation is Montana. The Bully Police USA, a bullying watchdog organization, is pushing hard to convince Montana lawmakers to be the final state to adopt anti bullying legislation. This group specifically commends North Dakota’s state legislature and their Governor, Jack Dalrymple for signing an important anti bullying law in April of 2011. It defined bullying in state law and established elaborate bullying prevention policies for the state’s public schools.
Anti Bullying In Georgia
The Bully Police USA also heaps praise on the state of Georgia for its willingness to bolster its anti bullying laws in 2010 through Senate Bill 250. This bill includes language that permits school administrators to reassign bullies to a different school in order to protect the bullied from future harassment.
Anti Bullying In New Jersey
In September of 2011, New Jersey began enforcing the most stringent bullying law in the United states. New Jersey schools must report all instances of bullying to the state. The state then assesses each school according to its enforcement of anti bullying policies and standards as well as each school’s total number of bullying incidents. The state requires that each of its schools develop a detailed plan to prevent and eradicate bullying. School teachers and administrators who fail to handle bullying incidents reported to them will face negative consequences. Bullies themselves can be suspended or expelled from New Jersey school. When it comes to handling school bullies, New Jersey schools set the gold standard for the rest of the nation to follow.
The anti bullying movement has become incredibly widespread. It has grown into an international movement that transcends borders. Each year, the United Kingdom celebrates an Anti Bullying Week during the third week of November. This is organized by England’s Anti Bullying Alliance (ABA), a group of over 60 organizations. The goal of the Anti Bullying Week is to increase the public’s general awareness of bullying. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who don’t know that a good number of young people are bullied on a regular basis. Perhaps those ignorant of bullying don’t have children or were never victims of bullying themselves. Yet they must be made aware of how widespread bullying has become in case they do decide to have children or if they witness an instance of bullying and want to help. The UK’s Anti Bullying Week also focuses on how to prevent and respond to instances of bullying.
Northern Ireland’s Response To Bullying
Northern Ireland also has its own anti bullying week that is organized by the Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum (NIABF) which is composed of 25 different voluntary and statutory groups. In 2013, Ireland’s Department Of Education published formal guidelines for its schools to prevent and react to bullying. These guidelines are outlined in the country’s Anti Bullying Procedures For Primary And Post-Primary Schools. The procedures apply to all organized centers for education that teach students age 18 and under. They create a list of standard operating procedures for teachers and other school authorities to follow when bullying occurs in school. This provides much needed direction for school authorities who might otherwise be confused as to how to respond to instances of bullying. It gives each school the freedom to develop unique anti bullying policies. These policies must be provided to school personnel, posted on the school’s website and given to the Parents’ Association so that they can make their children aware that there will be stiff consequences for bullying others.
A Goal For The Future
The anti bullying movement has some ground to make up in terms of federal bullying laws. While the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act is a segment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, it does not contain language that addresses school bullying or harassment. Anti bullying groups are working fervently to convince lawmakers that federal legislation must be passed to help prevent and punish school bullying.