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Change A School’s Culture To Reduce Bullying

“The more that we can get people to understand that what hurts kids hurts all of us, we can make a difference,” stated Marcie Goodman, Maryland legislative liaison for Bullying Police USA in a recent Baltimore Sun story. In the article entitled Bullying Reports Surge in City Schools, it was reported that cases of bullying have doubled in the last year in Baltimore City schools.  This rise in reported cases of bullying appears to be a trend throughout the country and is being attributed to the increase of awareness programs being implemented in our schools.

Although we are more aware of bullying, bullyingstatistics.org reports in 2010 there were an estimated 2.7 million students being bullied with approximately 2.1 million students taking on the role of the bully. The issue of bullying is obviously a problem that will not be going away anytime soon. Awareness and recognition are certainly the first step, but where do we go from there?  Dr. George S. Everly, Jr. PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Executive Director, Resiliency Science Institutes at UMBC Training Centers believes we must change the culture. He explains, “Historically, bullying has been dealt with via two approaches: 1. “punishment” of bullying behavior, or 2. “rewarding” non-bullying behavior. These were achieved largely on an individual student basis. Such an approach can be effective but is inefficient.”

So what then? Dr. Everly sees a different approach. He continues, “A third method, potentially more effective and far more efficient, for handling bullying is to change the culture. That is, we need to strive to create educational and peer cultures wherein bullying is simply not acceptable.” At the UMBC Training Centers, Dr. Everly teaches a two-day training course entitled The Resilient Child, based on his award winning book of the same name. He stresses this course is different and explains, “In our training program we strive to teach educators, administrators, and counselors how to create an overarching culture of child resilience wherein bullying and related behaviors are simply not tolerated. We do this by teaching the core elements of creating a culture of resilience.”

As much as we would like to protect our kids from the difficulties they will encounter in life, we cannot! However, we can give our children the tools to recover from difficult times when those occur. The Resilient Child training course is a wonderful way to gain the skills and acquire the tools necessary to build a culture if resilience in which children can feel safe and flourish. For more information about upcoming Resilient Child courses, contact Gina Brelesky at 443-835-7308.

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