We have an epidemic of bullying on our hands. Each year approximately thirty percent of students from kindergarten through high school are involved in school bullying, either as a target or as a bully, or both. Each day thousands of students refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers, and the isolation that comes from being the target of rumors and cyber-bullying. Many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression.
Despite the increasing pressure on schools to end student bullying, most have no effective system in place. Typically, schools engage in denial that bullying happens on their campus or resort to stock responses of punishment, suspension, and expulsion. However, punishment generally fails to promote character or skill development in the bully, and often leads to retaliation against the target. Beyond this, punitive responses to bullying, such as zero-tolerance policies, security equipment and personnel, disproportionately target students of color, create harsh school environments that often cause increases in student aggression, and contribute to a school to prison pipeline.
The bullying epidemic affects us all. Without effective school intervention, student lives are lost or forever changed. Beyond this, bullying contributes to an insecure learning environment across the whole campus, which leads to student disengagement, reduced academic performance and increased violence in our communities.
No Bully, a California based non-profit organization, has developed a highly effective system that schools can implement to prevent the bullying on their campus and respond effectively the incidents that still occur. Instead of using punishment, No Bully trains schools to make their students responsible for solutions. When severe or persistent bullying occurs, teachers trained as Solution Coaches bring together a Solution Team of students and leverage their empathy to end the bullying of one of their peers. When a student is entrenched in the role of bully or target, the Solution Coach follows up to coach the student in more socially effective behaviors.
No Bully is changing the way that schools respond to bullying. Since its start in 2009, No Bully has trained over 8,000 teachers across the United States and internationally in stopping student bullying and has positively affected the lives of over 120,000 students. The largest study to date shows that schools using the No Bully System were able to reduce the intensity and frequency of incidents of bullying in over 90% of cases.
Implementing the No Bully System puts elementary, middle and high schools in compliance with state and federal laws on student bullying and harassment. Most importantly it promotes a school culture where all students belong.
No Bully and NSHSS share a vision of bully-free schools where students are free to reach their full potential. No Bully is a regular presenter at the NSHSS annual scholarship event in Atlanta. To find out how you can bring No Bully to your school, visit www.nobully.org.