HRC Blog

Developing Effective Anti-Bullying Strategies

The following post comes from Rohmteen Mokhtari, HRC’s Family Project Assistant:

On the Wall Street Journal’s Ideas Market blog, NYU Professor Danah Boyd recently outlined five common misconceptions about bullying. Boyd argues that these misconceptions about bullying can undermine the most well-intentioned of responses.

Punitive approaches (including “zero tolerance” school policies) appear reasonable but are consistently ineffective at addressing the core issue.  Likewise, “tell a trusted adult” seems like a good idea, but when adults have no training in dealing with these issues, they often make things worse. There are effective programs for addressing the underlying issues; they require social-emotional learning and empathy development. Yet, putting these in place requires serious commitment in terms of money, time and community involvement.  If we want to change the ecosystem, we need to invest in these long-term solutions.

Dr. Boyd’s observations underscore the need to develop and implement comprehensive interventions that are rooted in research. HRC’s Welcoming Schools is committed to advancing evidence-based strategies to combat name-calling and bullying. Welcoming Schools pilots have included a strong evaluation component and the Welcoming Schools Evaluation Toolbox equips schools utilizing the Welcoming Schools approach with the tools they need to conduct their own evaluations.

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