What Doesn't work

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Group treatment for children who bully does not work because:

  • The group becomes an audience for students who bully to brag about their exploits.
  • Other group members can serve as negative role models for one another, in some cases even learning from one another who to bully.

Simple, short-term solutions have been proved ineffective because:

  • Bullying is a long-term, often-repeated problem.
  • A workshop or assembly can help identify what bullying looks like and ways to respond, but teachers and students also need support and time to practice and master these skills.
  • Bullying is primarily a relationship problem, and longer term strategies are needed to help students and teachers experience supportive and affirming relationships within a caring school climate.

Conflict resolution/peer mediation strategies send the wrong message because:

  • Bullying is a form of peer abuse—not conflict between peers of equal power and control.
  • The strategies may further victimize the student who has been bullied.
  • Such strategies incorrectly expect the student who has been bullied or abused to solve his or her own abuse.
  • Sessions and meetings become other opportunities for the bullying behavior to be repeated.

Zero tolerance policies do not help solve bullying because:

  • Although bullying behavior is never tolerated, this strategy fails to recognize that bullying behavior is not a permanent characteristic of the student who did the bullying.
  • Bullying is a behavior that can be changed and replaced with more positive pro-social behavior.
  • Nearly 20 percent of students are involved in bullying other students, so it is not realistic to suspend or expel 20 percent of any student body.
  • Students who are involved in bullying behavior are suspended or expelled when they may benefit most from continued exposure to positive pro-social role models and a caring school climate.