School Anti-Bullying Programs Found to Produce Smarter Bullies and More Victims

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Efforts to stop bullying in schools have produced unintended results, specifically more kids being picked on by smarter bullies.


Two academics examined bullying data involving 7,001 students from across the country, expecting to find that anti-bullying programs have mitigated this problem.


But Dr. Seokjin Jeong, a researcher and criminologist from the University of Texas at Arlington, and Byung Hyun Lee from Michigan State University were surprised to learn that the programs actually made things worse.


Their study found that students at schools with anti-bullying programs were more likely to be victimized than students at schools with no such programs.


In many cases, Jeong said, the videos and materials used during anti-bullying programs gave kids new ways of tormenting others, including the use of texting and social media.


“The schools with interventions say, ‘You shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘you shouldn’t do that.’ But through the programs, the students become highly exposed to what a bully is and they know what to do or say when questioned by parents or teachers,” Jeong said in a statement released by the university.


The study also found that the use of adult monitors, including uniformed security officers, did limit on-campus bullying, but that other security methods, such as video cameras, bag and locker searches and other surveillance methods, were less effective.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Do Anti-Bullying Programs Teach Kids How to be Bullies? (by Jenn Savedge, Mother Nature Network)

A Multilevel Examination of Peer Victimization and Bullying Preventions in Schools (by Seokjin Jeong and Byung Hyun Lee, Journal of Criminology)

Federal Jury Orders School District to Pay Student for Ignoring Pattern of Bullying (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)          


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