Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: school anti-bullying programs actually increase bullying

From The College Fix.

Excerpt:

Schools across the nation have implemented anti-bullying campaigns, complete with speakers, posters, slogans and more – but a recent study hailing from the University of Texas-Arlington claims such efforts may actually cause more bullying.

Essentially researchers suggest anti-bullying campaigns, despite good intentions, teach students how to bully or may even plant the seed inside students who had not exhibited aggressive behavior previously.

“One possible reason for this is the students who are victimizing their peers have learned the language from these anti-bullying campaigns and programs,” Seokjin Jeong, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at UT-Arlington and lead author of the study, said in a campus statement.

Jeong did not respond to requests for comment by The College Fix. His research, titled “A Multilevel Examination of Peer Victimization and Bullying Preventions in Schools,” was recently published in The Journal of Criminology.

In an interview with CBS, he said his findings were a surprise – that his hypothesis going into the research was that anti-bullying programs would help curb the problem. Instead, he said he found the opposite was true, calling it “very disappointing.”

Today, 75 percent of schools report a violent incident to the police on a weekly basis and 25 percent of schools experience bullying on a daily basis, according to stats cited in the Journal of Criminology.

“Our anti-bullying programs, either intervention or prevention does not work,” Jeong said. “There is a possibility of negative impact from anti-bullying programs.”

[...]The study’s results state: “Surprisingly, bullying prevention had a negative effect on peer victimization. Contrary to our hypothesis, students attending schools with bullying prevention programs were more likely to have experienced peer victimization, compared to those attending schools without bullying prevention programs. It is possible that bullies have learned a variety of antibullying techniques but chose not to practice what they have learned from the program. Sometimes, bullies maintain their dominant social status among peers in school. As a result, the preventive strategies may become ineffective.”

I think that the troubling thing with anti-bullying programs is that they can be abused to restrict free speech. I think that a better solution to the problem of violence in schools is the same as the problem of violence in society. We need to promote marriage and encourage people to stay married using pro-marriage tax breaks and other pro-family policies.

Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to explain:

Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[19] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;[20]
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;[21]
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school;[22] and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[23]

The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. [24] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[25]

Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[26]

People on the left claim that poverty causes crime, but they don’t look for the root cause of poverty. The root cause of poverty is the decline of marriage, which produces fatherless children. People on the left always want to solve every social problem with bigger government and more wasteful spending. But the research is pretty clear that natural marriage and the traditional family help children to behave better. When your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. But this problem can’t be solved from the top down, it has to be solved from the bottom up – with families.

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5 Responses

  1. austenfan1 says:

    Schools with anti-bullying programs raise awareness and create an environment that encourages reporting bullying behavior.

  2. […] New study: school anti-bullying programs actually increase bullying – Not a big surprise.  All you need is a simple and thoroughly enforced anti-bullying policy: If you physically or verbally harass other students on or off school grounds you will have swift and serious consequences. It doesn’t matter if you are bullying because they are gay/straight/fat/thin/smart/dumb/pretty/ugly/etc., or if it is just because you are a mean jerk. […]

  3. […] Leftist campaigns back-firing? Never. Related: Anti-bullying campaigns encourage bullying. Surprising. Humour: Laws having the exact opposite of their intended […]

  4. Maureen McRoberts says:

    Why continue the program when it increases bullying?

    • Diane S. says:

      Maureen, the programs may seem to increase bullying but, it seems likely to me, they are only increasing awareness. Some students think bullying is physical only. They don’t realize name-calling, isolation, and other non-physical behaviors can escalate to the point of bullying. In schools with programs, students are more likely to understand what bullying is and are also more likely to be encouraged to report bullying behaviors. Teachers in those schools are also probably more likely to classify such behavior as bullying.

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