How did your middle school deal with bullying?
My school used one of these things:
In case you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about here, let me give you a rundown on what my school called the Bully Bucket. A plastic bucket was placed in the mediation/conference room directly next to our guidance office and students were encouraged to report instances of bullying that they either saw happen to someone else or bullying that they experienced themselves.
Beside the bucket in this empty room was a few pencils and small slips of paper. On these slips of paper were areas designated for the students to share the name of the bully and the event in which the bullying took place anonymously (if they wished). The bucket’s location in the mediation room let students quickly pop in to share their experiences in a confidential way that would not put a target on their backs for others to take advantage of (i.e. other students would not be present to watch another student put their slip into the Bully Bucket).
Guidance counselors would then sift through the slips placed in the bucket on a daily basis and deal with the bullies appropriately.
I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful I think the Bully Bucket was and the significance of its effectiveness on my peers.
Bullying in schools is a widespread issue and is in desperate need of eradication. To prove my point, let’s look at a few stastistics on bullying published by PACER’s National Bullying Protection Center:
- More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016)
- Youth who self-blame and conclude they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, prolonged victimization, and maladjustment (Perren, Ettakal, & Ladd, 2013; Shelley & Craig, 2010).
- Among middle school students, 24% are cyberbullied and 45% are bullied on school property (Center for Disease Control, 2015).
- Students who bully others, are bullied, or witness bullying are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than students who report no involvement in bullying (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
- A meta-analysis found that students facing peer victimization are 2.2 times more likely to have suicide ideation and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing victimization (Gini & Espelage, 2014).
Now, let’s look at a few statistics and generalizations published by the same source on the effectiveness of bullying prevention programs and school bullying interventions in general:
- Bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
- Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25% (McCallion & Feder, 2013).
Another bullying prevention program my middle school implemented involved student-to-student workshopping. Through what my counselors called the STARS Program, 8th grade school leaders would lead anti-bullying workshops periodically throughout the school year in sixth grade homerooms to create the expectation that bullying will not be tolerated early on. I loved participating in the STARS Program and, as I mentioned in regards to the Bully Bucket, cannot emphasize enough how effective I felt it was in creating a positive school environment.
So, how did your middle school deal with bullying? Were there similar anti-bullying and bullying prevention programs in your school? If not, how effective do you think programs like the ones my school had would have been in fostering an anti-bullying environment for your old middle school?