Prevent, Don’t Punish School Bullying

Research clearly indicates that zero tolerance policies are ineffective in combating bullying, according to a report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  The report recommends ending zero-tolerance policies that automatically suspend students for bullying. “Suspending can actually do more harm than good and in fact doesn’t provide the skills train or replacement behaviors for youth that are suspended or expelled.”

Bullying is now seen as early as preschool and generally peaks in middle school.  The problem has intensified with the latest forms of cyberbullying and social media sites.

A report from the National Center for Educational Statistics painted a positive picture of bullying saying bullying is sharply down. The National Academies is more cautious saying that bullying affects between 18 percent and 31 percent of young people. (See June 25th “Franklin’s Thoughts” on this website)

Bullying cannot and should not be ignored.  Schools need to take a pro-active approach teaching children how to get along with one another and what to do if the see others being bullied.  Parents also need to be involved, by opening lines of communication and having their children tell them if they are bullied and making sure their child’s school have effective anti-bullying programs in place.