Anti-Bullying Programs Don't Work, Teach Bullies to Bully Better

Anti-bullying programs may actually teach students different bullying techniques


Last year, the moral panic of the moment was bullying. Bullying was destroying America. Every school was expected to introduce anti-bullying programs... which worked about as well as expected.

For the bullies.

University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong analyzed data collected from 7,000 students from all 50 states.

He thought the results would be predictable and would show that anti-bullying programs curb bullying. Instead — he found the opposite.

Jeong said it was, “A very disappointing and a very surprising thing. Our anti-bullying programs, either intervention or prevention does not work.”

Of course they don't work. Why would they work? Bullying is part of a social dynamic between children and teenagers. The only way to push back against it would be to promote character and values.

Anti-bullying programs just pile on the usual politically correct nonsense and throw in some zero tolerance for good measure. Let's look at New York State's model for anti-bullying.

Educators need to work diligently to create school environments that value and teach respect for all. The most positive school climates are culturally sensitive and model positive behavioral interactions that clearly show that no tolerance exists for certain types of behaviors, including, but not limited to, bullying.

How can culturally sensitive intolerance not work? The obvious thing is that this is just Sensitivity Training for the most insensitive group around.

The study concluded that students at schools with anti-bullying programs might actually be more likely to become a victim of bullying. It also found that students at schools with no bullying programs were less likely to become victims.

The results were stunning for Jeong. “Usually people expect an anti-bullying program to have some impact — some positive impact.”

The student videos used in many campaigns show examples of bullying and how to intervene. But Jeong says they may actually teach students different bullying techniques — and even educate about new ways to bully through social media and texting.

Jeong said students with ill intentions “…are able to learn, there are new techniques [and gain] new skills.”

This is entirely surprising to someone who was born yesterday. A lot of the programming meant to scare students away from driving dangerously, smoking and any other range of 'wrong' behaviors had the same effect of telling students what they might enjoy doing.

This is behavior control. It doesn't come with a value system. It doesn't teach character. And that means it will work about as well as any political code does.


Anti-bullying programs though were not about fighting bullying. They were about...

1. Promoting gay rights

2. Promoting political correctness

And they accomplished that mission. Fighting actual bullying was never part of the equation.