Saw this on FB the other day:
Thinks that we forget that bullying isn’t just teasing. Yet, that’s what we focus on. I believe its as important to focus on how to be assertive without being a bully. Without that, kids turn into adults who bully-customers in stores and restaurants, colleagues, friends, and significant others. The very same people kids watch us interact with. Stop the cycle. Don’t be a bully and tell people who are – even adults.
When I started at the boarding school (several years ago in a previous life), I was caught off guard by how much bullying occurred & how much it was a concept we talked about during our staff meetings almost every week. As a school, we had no idea what to do with this. We were clueless.
In my previous position as a Graduate Hall Director, we found bullying occurs at many different levels — but we see the most of it in the form of students sending nasty messages about or to one another via facebook and twitter. As an institution (the greater institution of Higher Education), I feel like we can react to this behavior – but, we don’t seem to have a tool in-place to prevent it.
In my previous-previous life (so, before the boarding school), I worked for Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a alcohol educator. My job was to travel around the country and both educate k-12 students about the dangers of drinking and driving — and also to work with grass-roots organizing groups of teens trying to curb such behavior in their community. With these students we talked about a concept called ‘environmental prevention.’
For my Environmental Prevention sessions — I went through this explanation called the “dogs and fleas” analogy. The basic idea is that it is really hard to get rid of fleas. So, you have to really think about the whole bigger picture & not just give your dog a flea bath every once and a while. But, even if you flea-bomb your house & wash the dog, your dog might still get fleas from hanging around the neighbor’s animal.
Translating this to alcohol prevention, you need to work with your students on campus to educate them, to provide awesome alternatives across campus, collaborate with the local police to step-up enforcement efforts, partnership with local establishments to enhance carding and reduce selling to underage individuals, and work with the legislators to change laws. You really attack the problem from all angles.
I’m sure there is a way to combat bullying – specifically cyber-bullying by using environmental prevention. I have about 1/2 the plan mapped out in my head. The other 1/2 is still a work in progress.
What do you think? Can environmental prevention be a way to get ahead & help to prevent bullying – rather than merely react to bullying?