Every school has tried something to address peer aggression and bullying. Some efforts are successful, but only for a little while. Other efforts flat out fail. We know it is hard, but you can succeed. Here are some common reasons why change fails, and some recipes for success!
Top Three Reasons why Antibullying Programs Fail:
- Lack of training and comprehensiveness: You hand teachers a book and tell them to do the lessons. They follow the book to the letter. Still, no change occurs. Anti-bullying has become a class, an activity, or a mini-unit. It has not become a way of life. It has not become something that the school community is excited about or dedicated to. There is no connection between the class lessons and real life. There is no reason to extend the lessons beyond the classroom and the teacher has not received the training, skills, and capacity to bridge this gap.
- Lack of buy in: Again, you hand teachers a book and tell them to do the lessons. They grumble about another program, another initiative, another load to bear. There are already too many things on the teachers plate and the antibullying program may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Regardless of how strongly the teachers may feel there is a need to address bullying, they are not ready or willing to implement the latest fad on the bandwagon. Buy in must take place before the teachers are given the training, manual, or mandate. You can learn how to excite teachers and get their buy in using the CASS Program Manager Guide.
- The short term approach: A speaker comes in and for one hour, the students are excited about bullying prevention. They are energized and ready to stand up for each other and say no to bullies. A week later, the excitement is gone. A month later, the notion is forogtten.