Nowadays bullying provokes a great society concern due to the significant prevalence of this problem. New technologies and the Internet have exposed young people to violence not only in the school environment but also outside of it. The results of this problem are highly negative because children and young people prefer not to turn to the authorities, which eventually makes the situation even worse. Hence, society has become concerned about the ways to change the situation and to reduce the prevalence of bullying. The anti-bullying movement was developed as a response to the steady increase of bullying incidents not only in the US but also across the whole world. Many countries have engaged in anti-bullying activities, legislation, and training sessions, which together form the anti-bullying movement. Therefore, the paper is focused on the anti-bullying social movement that is expressed via legislation enforcement, training, and implementation of educational programs, as well as various social activities.
Over the last decades, the frequency of bullying incidents has raised serious concern among society. Therefore, bullying has not only become a more common occurrence but also developed a more violent nature. It is sad to admit that weaker children often have to face bullying behavior during their school attendance. Furthermore, in modern conditions, these children have become the targets of bullying, even when they are outside of school (Johnson 35). Hence, bullies have moved to digital platforms, such as text messages and the Internet, to harm their targets. For some children, there seems to be no escape from bullies.
According to statistical data, more than 20.8% of students reported about being bullied. The analysis of studies regarding bully cases experienced by people aged from 12 to 18 years has shown the prevalence rate of 35% regarding traditional bullying over 15% regarding cyberbullying (PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center). Moreover, the study has revealed that in the US around 64% of children that were bullied decided not to report about this, while only 36% of such children turned to the authorities (PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center). Statistical data shows that in the US school-based bullying prevention programs have managed to decrease the bullying problem by 25% (PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center). The main grounds of bullying activities were distinguished as the following: race, particularly 16%, body shape – 37%, and appearance – 55% (PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center). The bullying problem is highly serious due to the strong effect it has on people. For instance, it was revealed that people who experience bullying at school suffer from depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and poor school adjustment. Moreover, they have a high risk of experiencing violent behavior in their adulthood and have academic problems (PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center). Unfortunately, this problem has high prevalence not only in the US, but also in the whole world.
Statistics from 142 countries has shown that approximately 18% of young people suffer from violence and abuse, including bullying (Child Helpline International 3). International statistics also reports that 43% of boys and 57% of girls suffer from bullying (Child Helpline International 3). In particular, in the Middle East and Africa, 33% of girls and 67% of boys experience bullying. At the same time, in Europe, 42% of boys and 58% of girls have similar problems (Child Helpline International 3). In Asia Pacific 41% of boys and 58% of girls undergo bullying, whereas in the Americas and the Caribbean, 57% of girls and 43% of boys are bullied. In Africa, 48% of boys and 52% of girls have the same problem (Child Helpline International 3). Moreover, bullying can be divided into four categories, such as theft, exposure, physical bullying, and emotional bullying. The most widespread type of bullying is emotional with 59% of cases, while the second place is taken by physical bullying with 25% of cases (Child Helpline International 4). Theft and exposure amount to about 12.5% (Child Helpline International 4).
Nonetheless, there exists the anti-bullying movement, which continues to develop around the world. Anti-bullying efforts have become a proactive response of bullied pupils together with their teachers, parents, and the general public. The main anti-bulling goal is to stop bullying before it happens by making potential bullies aware of the fact that another person’s mistreatment is unacceptable. The anti-bullying ethos is highly significant, and its golden rule states that a person is always treated by others as he or she would like to be treated (Johnson 83). However, not all bullying can be prevented, because for some offenders the anti-bullying message means nothing or is not clear enough. Despite the fact that these children realize the idea of the movement to stop bullying, they keep teasing or doing physical harm to their victims. Another movement goal is to stop bullying after it was started. It provides children that are or have been bullied with the sense of communal support to make them feel less lonely. They are unwilling to admit that they are abused, teased, unpopular, or outcast in order to avoid feeling highly embarrassed. Nevertheless, children have to know that it is crucial to tell the authorities about being bullied. They should not feel any shame for such situations (Johnson 83). There are security guards, teachers, school administrators, and parents that want to help to prevent any further abuse.
In fact, there are bullying prevention groups that were created to train adult and young people regarding bullying prevention and responding to it in the case of occurring. Many of these groups have managed to develop comprehensive programs with specific anti-bullying guidelines that can be used in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Their main goal is to help to develop a bully-free, safe school environment through peer relation improvement and character development. These organizations focus on changing the way young people act and think (Johnson 86). In case young people are taught to live according to the abovementioned rule and make socially responsible decisions, they will gradually produce a sustainable and positive social change. Such organizations fulfill their mission by providing workshops, developing effective anti-bullying initiatives and programs, and making presentations that relate to their audience goals and needs. Nonetheless, there are other means of anti-bullying social movement.
Therefore, the anti-bullying social movement is implemented via action plans that are published to persuade ordinary people and the government to actively participate in solving the bullying problem. Such plans usually include several key propositions, ranging from interpersonal relationship perspective and restorative approaches school initiatives to supporting the SchoolsPlus expansion, developing supportive environment, and providing due training to specialists, which means learning to identify mental disorders and health problems in secondary school setting (Nova Scotia 12). In addition, the anti-bullying social movement presupposes organization of annual conferences regarding cyberbullying and bullying, creation and maintenance of anti-bullying social media and websites, provision of schools with program grants to access and implement approved curriculum resources, promotion of cultural competency, identification and development of curriculum resources, as well as provision of learning opportunities for youth, community leaders, and educators (Nova Scotia 13).
The US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Education have developed a set of comprehensive practices to solve the problem of bullying. Within this framework, the departments have managed to create extensive anti-bullying training programs that teach people in authority positions the most effective ways to prevent bullying and to stop it in case of occurring (Johnson 70). The Best Practices extend beyond mere people in authority. Such approach demands parents and students’ collaboration with the school’s administrators and educators (Johnson 70). The main aim is to develop a cultural change, where all people that are engaged in academic environment struggle for total elimination of bullying. Another aim of these practices is to alter learning environment to the point that bullying would not enter young peoples’ minds.
While such approach is a positive starting point that sets the spirit of the anti-bullying movement, it is not enough to solve the problem. Therefore, 49 states have implemented the anti-bullying legislation that is applicable to school environment (Sacco et al. 3). Thus, the first state that enforced the anti-bullying legislation in 1999 was Georgia (Sacco et al. 3). At the same time, Montana remains the only state that has not provided any legislation in this area. The bullying revision organization, named the Bully Police USA, is trying to persuade local lawmakers for Montana to eventually become the last state to adopt such anti-bullying laws. Furthermore, in 2011 New Jersey started to enforce the most controversial bullying law in the US. This state’s schools are obligated to report about all bullying cases to the authorities, whereas the latter have assess to every school’s busing and its anti-bullying enforcement measures, as well as every school’s total number of bullying cases. Moreover, the state requires that every school develops a detailed bullying eradication and prevention plan. School administrators and educators who will fail to deal with bullying cases that were reported to them will experience negative consequences (Sacco et al. 3). At the same time, offenders can be expelled or suspended from New Jersey schools. When it comes to dealing school bullies, the state’s schools have implemented certain standards, which have to be applied by the others.
Therefore, in the US thirty-two states demand and three states encourage development of school procedures regarding investigation of bullying incidents. Moreover, one state encourages and eleven states require implementation of school procedures that explicitly allow for anonymous reporting of bullying cases (Sacco et al. 7). Additionally, nine states in specific circumstances demand from school administrators to provide reports to law enforcement authorities regarding bullying cases (Sacco et al. 7). Laws in two states encourage and in thirty-two states insist on the districts to subject offenders to disciplinary measures. In fact, most states use general terms, such as disciplinary consequences or actions, while seven stated have more specific procedures. In particular, Alaska provides consequences for bullying via reporting of criminal activity to law enforcement authorities and expulsion of the offender (Sacco et al. 7). California uses expulsion and suspension, while Georgia exercises mandatory assignment to an alternative school after three bullying offenses within one school year. At the same time, Idaho uses temporary suspension, and Nebraska prefers mandatory reassignment, expulsion, and suspension. Rhode Island states that suspension cannot be applied unless it is a mandatory consequence, and Texas has decided to use campus or classroom transfer (Sacco et al. 8). However, the anti-bullying movement is widespread not only in the US, but in the whole world.
The anti-bullying movement is a widespread phenomenon, which has developed into the international movement that transcends borders. Therefore, every year the UK celebrates Anti-Bullying Week during the third week of November. This event is organized by England’s Anti-Bullying Alliance that involves over sixty organizations (Anti-Bullying Alliance 3). Anti-Bullying Week is directed at increasing the public’s general awareness of the bullying problem. There are many people who are still ignorant of the fact that a great number of young people undergo bullying on a regular basis. Under any circumstances, everyone has to be aware of prevalence of bullying problem. In general, Anti-Bullying Week in the UK is focused on bullying cases’ response and prevention.
At the same time, Northern Ireland also regularly holds anti-bullying weeks that are organized by Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum, which involves twenty-five statutory and voluntary groups. In the framework of its activities, in 2013 Northern Ireland’s Department of Education presented formal guidelines for local schools, aimed at effective reaction to bullying incidents and their prevention (Anti-Bullying Working Group 93). The procedures apply to all education organized centers that teach students whose age is eighteen or below. The Department has developed standard operating procedure lists for teachers and other school authorities that have to be followed in case of disclosure of bullying situations. Such approach provides clear directions for school authorities who can be confused about how to respond to bullying cases. Moreover, it provides schools with a freedom to design unique anti-bullying policies that must be provided to the schools’ personnel, rendered to Parents’ Association, and posted on the schools’ websites to make children aware of the fact that there will be serious consequences for bullying other people (Anti-Bullying Working Group 95).
To conclude, bullying is a crucial problem both on local and on international levels. A surprisingly big number of children and young people are exposed to bullying in public or in their private lives due to rapid development of cyberspace and its intrusion. As a response to such occurrence and people’s serious concern about it, the whole world has given an active response that has gradually become a social movement. The anti-bullying social movement is expressed via anti-bullying legislature enforcement, implementation of various educational and training programs, publication of actions plans, and conducting of various social activities. This movement continues gaining more popularity and power in order to stop violence among young generation.