From “Students are just tattling” to “Boys will be boys,” myths about bullying abound.
Bullying. The very word conjures up bad memories for many adults. Whether they were the target of bullying, used bullying behaviors themselves, or witnessed bullying toward others, many adults vividly recall incidents that happened 10, 20, or even 40 years ago. Perhaps because of these powerful memories, caring educators want their schools to be safe, respectful, and bully-free. They are not alone.
In the wake of school shootings and lawsuits brought against schools by victims of bullying, 11 state legislatures—California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—have mandated that schools take active steps to reduce bullying. Although specific actions related to these mandates vary by state, many schools are finding that the most effective approach to bullying prevention is one that is inclusive of school staff, parents, students, and the community. Such approaches must also be comprehensive, with aligned policies and a research-based student learning component.