Have you ever been a part of a bullying incident? Perhaps you were the target, singled out by a group of students. Or maybe you were the bully. You could have even been a bystander, simply watching the incident unfold, scared to take action lest you should become the victim.
Do you remember how the incident ended? Was it resolved in a peaceful way or did the bullying continue? Most reading this will have been involved in a bullying event, but the ends of each story are probably vastly different. Each story deserves a peaceful resolution to their conflicts, and each person respect and safety. The reality, however, is that many are left to deal with less wholesome endings alone and hurt.
I remember how my own bullying story ended, and it was not a happy one. I was continuously bullied for 5 years by the same group. There was no support system or protocol within the school outside of detentions, which were rarely used. Without an atmosphere of encouragement, it was difficult for anyone to stand up and speak out, including me. How awesome would it have been to be able to say that my story ended with us all working together?
The methods used in schools to address bullying can range from no action to the expulsion of bullies, but these are often enacted without any evidence of their efficacy. It is clear that many protocols are not successful - according to a new report, 32% percent of students are bullied in school. And in addition to more familiar methods, cyberbullying is also increasing, carrying bullying from the classroom to the home and everywhere in between.
It has been a while since I’ve been in school - I completed my graduate degree several years ago and yet I still encounter harassment online simply for being a woman interested in competitive gaming. The nature of the Internet makes it easier for bullies to be even more vitriolic than in person and in much more creative ways. It’s downright terrifying to find out about a hateful post about you that was distributed to dozens of connections before you ever knew it existed.
I clearly have a lot of stories. Some, such as the online harassment, don’t have an ending yet. So how can I make sure that mine, and others, don’t end like my chapters in early education? I’ve had a lot of time to learn and grow from my past in order to overcome my current obstacles, but not everyone is lucky enough to have these opportunities.
It is because of my experiences and the countless others I hear that I now find myself at No Bully. Our school program is one I never saw in any school when I was younger, but one that I hear so much gratitude for now. No Bully focuses on empathy for both bully and target in order to build stronger relationships between the students and the school as a whole. We also utilize social and emotional learning (SEL), a method to teach students how to manage emotions, understand empathy, and help build a positive community. In this way, we inform and guide all members of the school to make sure the new social vision is supported, and we provide both preventative and interventional techniques to tackle bullying at any stage. We stay with the school until they feel they are equipped enough to end bullying and promote their new social visions.
A timeline of our general school program, though it may be altered to each unique school.
One of my favorite aspects of the No Bully program is the Solution Team. Educators are trained to host meetings with the bully and other peers in order to practice empathy for the target. The bully becomes part of the solution instead of being identified as only a problem. We create empathy not only for the target but for all students involved. It is this tireless belief in the good in all parties that gives confidence to the teachers and the students.
I look back on my own experiences and wonder how it would have ended if we were encouraged to communicate and empathize in this judgment-free atmosphere. I can’t be sure, but I think we would have been able to understand each other better and been given confidence in our ability to do so. And I think that is what makes No Bully’s program so great - it reduces bullying by 90% by giving power to the students and treating them all with respect. With No Bully, we can give each student the safety and the story they deserve.
If you believe your school would benefit from our program, please contact us here.