Does School Anti-Bullying Really Work?


Do school anti-bullying programs really work?  Typically they don’t.

United Press International is reporting on a new study showing that programs to reduce bullying in public schools simply aren’t making the grade.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles thoroughly analyzed more than 140 studies on anti-bullying programs.  They programs were conducted in six countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

According to lead author Jaana Juvonen, “Band-Aid solutions, such as holding one assembly a year that discourages bullying, do not work.”

Juvonen and her colleagues found that more comprehensive programs have had some success, but require enormous commitment and school resources.

Dr. Juvonen says, “We are trying to figure out the right balance between comprehensive programs that are costly and require a lot of staff training versus programs that require fewer school resources.”

The study debunked several common bullying myths. One myth is that girls are more likely to bully using verbal aggression and excluding other kids from their group.  But the researchers found that boys are just as likely to use those tactics when bullying.

The study did confirm that kids who are overweight are frequently bullied.

Dr. Juvonen says these kids are prime targets for bullies because they are more likely to be friendless. When they have nobody to defend them, the bullying often escalates.

Having just one friend could result in less bullying or less severe bullying.

By the way, an excellent book on this topic is Raising Bully Proof Kids by Paul Coughlin.  Also, visit Paul’s website at


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