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Opening Arguments

Bullying for dummies

Hoosier lawmakers might want to rethink that new anti-bullying statute they're so proud of:

The study concluded that students at schools with anti-bullying programs might actually be more likely to become a victim of bullying. It also found that students at schools with no bullying programs were less likely to become victims.

The results were stunning for Jeong. “Usually people expect an anti-bullying program to have some impact — some positive impact.”

The student videos used in many campaigns show examples of bullying and how to intervene. But Jeong says they may actually teach students different bullying techniques — and even educate about new ways to bully through social media and texting.

There is no shortcut in getting the behavior you want -- you define the behavior that is prohibitied, then punish it every time it shows up. You can't prevent it by pretending your shiny new program is going to circumvent the laws of human nature. Most behavior-modification "education" programs are doomed to failure because the only people who pay attention to them are the ones who don't need them. Failure after failure after failure should give us a small clue, but I guess the instinct to seek improvement of the human condition is just too strong.


Lissa Brown
Sat, 10/12/2013 - 9:35am

The study about the effects of anti-bullying programs has a serious flaw. Consider that schools with few or no bullying incidents will not bring anti-bullying programs into their institutions in the first place. That's why schools without the programs have fewer bullying problems. The programs do not cause bullying, and to suggest otherwise is dishonest.

Please be more careful in vetting the results of studies before you post them. None of us wants to see kids hurt. Raising awareness of bullying behavior among kids and showing them how to be kinder to one another is effective, despite the results of this bogus study.

When people succumb to temptation to use research about bullying to support their political bias we put kids at risk.

I've written a book about bullying and have done extensive research. Not every anti-bullying program is effective, but they certainly do not cause an increase in bullying.

Lissa Brown

Author of Another F-Word