Bullying is something that can be found on just about any coming-of-age movie or television show. It is a topic that is often shared one a meme on social media, especially on Facebook. It is also seen in the hallways of schools on posters that say “zero tolerance for bullying.” Bullying is often talked about in broad conversations with some people saying that one should teach their kids to toughen up and face the bully head on. They believe that bullying is not going to stop and bullies must be dealt with. While others say that children need to be taught to not bully others and that suggesting that simply toughening up those who are bullied is putting the problem squarely on the victim. However, bullying is something that is more complicated than the two sides readily admit to. There are programs that could reduce or possibly eliminate bullying in schools. The Olweus Program is one such program that society could look to alleviate the problem of bullying.
The affect that bullying can have on a young person is profound. It can hurt their self-worth, diminish their self-esteem, give them an overall sense of hopelessness. John Halligan’s son Ryan Halligan committed suicide after years of being bullied (Frontline, 2008). His peers picked on his lack of athletic skills and tried to humiliate him repeatedly. A lot of the bullying occurred on-line. The bullying caused him to withdraw from his family which in turn lessened his chances of getting help.
John Halligan admits that there were signs that he missed that could have allowed him to step in to help his son. I believe that this is where the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program could be of great importance. The Olweus Program is designed to prevent bullying in elementary, middle, and high school. It has three stated goals; reduce existing bully/victim problems, prevent new bully/victim problems, and improve peer relations in schools (Limber, 2004). These goals cover more than the “zero tolerance for bullying” policies that some high schools employ by delving in to the problem of bullying rather than just the symptom. The Olweus Program sees committees being formed to coordinate school-wide policies and activities to ensure continuity amongst school districts. A part of the program that I think would be most helpful is involving the community and having regular meetings to keep parents and students abreast of where the program stands on with its goals. The program seeks to educate the community, parents, and students on how they can help with the problem of bullying.
Bullying is an issue that has haunted society for so long. It has been a problem that is often talked about in general terms but not always taken seriously. Although bullying prevention efforts have been underway for such a long time, the task has become more difficult with the prevalence of social media. Therefore, it is important to have programs like the Olweus Prevention Program to reduce and prevent bullying. Schools must dig to the root of bullying to prevent it. Society must continue to educate people on signs of bullying and how they intervene. It will take the whole community to extinguish bullying.
Frontline. (2008, January 22). Interviews with John Halligan. Retrieved April 06, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/interviews/halligan.html (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Limber, Susan P.. Implementation of the Olweus bullying prevention program in American schools: lessons learned from the field. Bullying in American schools: a social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Espelage, Dorothy L. and Susan M. Swearer, eds. Mahwah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2004. 0805845593. Ch. 17. pp. 351-363