Most anti-bullying programs in public schools throughout the country seek to either:

1)      Reason with the bully.

Bullies can’t be reasoned with. They don’t operate from a reasonable standpoint to begin with. They use raw emotion to intimidate. Reasoning doesn’t change the bully’s desire to impose fear. 

2)      Investigate individual bullying incidents then attempt to discipline the bully.

Through school programs, bullies have learned what to say when confronted by school officials. Bullies have ALWAYS known how to adapt to adult investigations and continue satisfying their emotional need to intimidate without consequence. When victims tell on bullies, it makes matters worse. The bully’s need to intimidate doesn’t decrease, but their desire for revenge will increase and their tactics become sneakier. Tattling has been taboo throughout history for a reason. It doesn’t work. 
Additionally, a California State Auditor’s report demonstrated that many schools don’t comply with the mandatory 60-day period within which reported bullying incidents must be investigated. Sixty days to investigate bullying incidents? Such a prolonged period could never be effective in reducing bullying.

3)      Encourage the passive observers of the incident to intervene.

“Part of some of the more common anti-bullying policies involve asking students to stand up for each other against a bully. These kids are scared to stand up for themselves in the first place. How can they stand up for someone else? We are asking them to go against their nature and instincts.” Says Head Instructor, Michael Marchand of Chalfont. “It gives the victims of bullying a false sense that someone else will solve the problem for them.”
4)      Zero tolerance.

There are two types of zero tolerance. First is zero tolerance of bullying. According to the National Education Association, not only is this zero tolerance policy not effective, “Being suspended from school significantly increases the likelihood of subsequent suspension or expulsion.” In other words, the bully will get worse, not better.
The second type of zero tolerance involves the victim standing up to the bully and fighting back if hit. Should the victim engage in basic self defense, the victim is also punished. The bully can even lie about the victim’s role in the fight and get the victim in trouble. Self defense is a basic right, but not in our schools! This policy is a great bonus to the bully. Not only does the victim get intimidated from the bullying, the victim gets intimidated by the school policy as well!

THE STUDIES:

Unfortunately for the victims of bullying, these in-school programs actually increase bullying according to a new study, published in “The Journal of Criminology.” Lead researcher, Seokjin Jeong of The University of Texas at Arlington, concluded. “Students with anti-bullying initiatives are actually more likely to be victims of bullying than students who attend schools without such programs… One possible reason for this is, that the students who are victimizing their peers have learned the language from these anti-bullying campaigns and programs. The students become highly exposed to what a bully is and they know what to say or do when questioned by parents or teachers.”

School systems nationwide are spending millions of dollars on anti-bullying programs and for what? According to Israel Kalman, a psychologist and top bullying expert refers to other studies when he claims, “They discovered that 86% of the published studies showed that the anti-bully programs had no benefit or made the problem even worse.”

WHAT IS THE BEST SOLUTION?

Empowering the victim… Hands down.

Bullies look for an easy target. They will make initial attempts to intimidate and determine if the other kid can be bullied. If the other kid acts with fear or avoidance, the bully knows it’s safe to escalate the bullying. But if the bully’s attempts are met with confidence, the bully will move on. 

Research has shown that kids who learn how to fight get into fewer fights. That may sound strange at first, but it’s a fact, and it makes a lot of sense. Kids who know martial arts walk and talk with more confidence. When a bully approaches them, saying, “I’m going to give you a beating,” The response will be, “Oh, really? I don’t think so.” This confident attitude is not the easy target the bully is looking for. Confidence is Kryptonite to bullies. 

Reasoning with the bully, investigating bullying incidents, or encouraging passive observers to intervene do not work as anti-bullying strategies. They make matters worse. Being confident and knowing how to stand up for yourself is what works! The best way to teach confidence to an unconfident child is to teach the child martial arts.
Alon Feder
Director Of Marketing
Tiger Schulmann’s Martial Arts