What's New in Prevention?
BULLYING PREVENTION EFFORTS ARE WORKING
The May 2017 issue of Pediatrics entitled Ten-Year Trends in Bullying and Related Attitudes Among 4th- to 12th-Graders (Tracy Evian Waasdorp, Elise T. Pas, Benjamin Zablotsky, Catherine P. Bradshaw) points to encouraging news about bullying. It states that efforts of schools to improve climate and implement evidence-based strategies to address bullying, combined with the bullying laws enacted in all 50 states are working. Bullying rates are down, and in some states significantly. The authors studied bullying rates in Maryland schools over a ten-year period, using multiple measures including in-person forms of bullying and cyber bullying. All were down, dropping more than half. Connecticut’s bullying rates have also decreased in recent years, dropping 3% since 2011. However, in the Maryland study there was a contradiction in perception of bullying compared to the rates of bullying reported. Over that 10-year period, the rates of students reporting that bullying is a problem in their school remained unchanged.
Perception is reality. Students believe what they see in front of them. In a follow up interview, the principal author of the study recommended that reinforcement is key to helping students see the positive things going on in their school. She points to the simple fact that decreased reports of bullying are an indicator that students are, simply put, being nicer to each other. While we work to effectively address bullying, we need to reinforce the positive changes that are occurring in our schools and community programs and remind students of the great things they are doing.
Peer approaches can be one way to bring students together to showcase positive things going on in your school or program. Hosting an All Abilities Alliance or SADD Chapter, in which students create and implement plans to address bullying issues in their school can foster a positive climate. Students can find ways to recognize acts of kindness and showcase the school’s achievements in creating a safe, welcoming environment for all.
The Partnership is ready to support your efforts to promote positive climate and reinforce positive changes in your school or organization. Please see the Resources section of this newsletter or contact Monique Price-Taylor, Program Manager, Peer-to-Peer Prevention Initiatives at Monique.Price-Taylor@PreventionWorksCT.org or 860.757.3592 for more information.