Committee for Children Blog

Look How Far We Have Come!

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In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought it would be nice to highlight all the progress that has been made in bullying prevention over the past 15 years.

When I first began my bullying prevention work in 2000, little information was available about the topic. There was some research starting in 1970 by Dan Olweus, the pioneer in bullying prevention who conducted some of the world’s first large-scale studies of bullying. However, there were few resources beyond this. Distinctions were not generally made between bullying and other forms of aggressive behavior. In fact, the term ”bullying” was rarely used. Bullying-like behavior was often addressed in the same ways conflicts were, such as through peer mediation sessions or by using group sessions to work collectively with students who bullied. Now today, much more is known about what bullying is, what it looks like and how to prevent and address it effectively.

Over the past 15 years, the amount of studies on bullying and the number of researchers and organizations that have dedicated their work toward the topic has increased considerably. Numerous anti-bullying campaigns have been launched, and celebrities have drawn national attention to the subject. The media has also been involved, through efforts like the Bully Project (based on the movie ”Bully”) and the Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up. There are more evidence-based resources available for schools, such as the Steps to Respect program and the Second Step program’s Bullying Prevention Unit. An increasing number of schools and districts have established anti-bullying policies and procedures to address bullying effectively.

States have also instituted recommendations and policies about bullying prevention, and in more recent years, national and international efforts toward bullying prevention have grown. In the United States, National Bullying Prevention Month was founded (2006) by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to unite communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. The federal government launched both a website www.stopbullying.gov at the annual Federal Bullying Prevention Summit, and a national definition of bullying has recently been published.

Despite all the progress, we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, people are still being bullied, and horrible tragedies continue to occur as a result of bullying incidents. There is still a lack of knowledge and understanding.

In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month and of everyone who has been or continues to be affected by bullying, let’s continue to pledge our commitment to this important issue by telling others what we know about bullying, helping others who are being bullied, learning about what works, and remembering we can make a difference!