According to the work of psychologist David Smith, 57 percent of anti-bullying policies did nothing, 14 percent helped slightly, and 29 percent even made the problem worse (Smith, Schneider, Smith, and Ananiadou 547-560). Every day we see news of “innocent teasing” escalating into death threatening violence. Yet each day, year after year schools are using the same old methods, attempting to solve this very big problem with little temporary solutions. It is no secret that the bullying problem is not being handled correctly by American schools.
The number one problem with America’s “anti-bullying programs” is that schools are helping the wrong person. The programs focus on helping bullies, mediating bullies, changing bullies. Bullies are not the ones who need help, bullies are not the ones getting hurt, victims are the ones who need help. Bullying will never stop, “it’s inevitable, a natural byproduct of human nature”(Morgan 1). Even if all bullies were eliminated new bullies would arise because it is all about the imbalance of power. Verbal bullying is not even against the law, in fact it is protected by the first amendment, freedom of speech. In this conundrum yet to be solved victims are the ones killing themselves. Victims are the ones bringing guns into schools and shooting people. Victims need to be taught to stand up for themselves. The only way bullying is going to stop is if we remove its power by teaching victims and leveling the playing field.
The idea that American schools often fail to realize is that bullying is almost never just between two kids. There are often a pack of bullies or even more common bystanders that encourage and “add fuel to the fire.” In one study results, “showed that bystanders were involved in 85 percent of bullying incidents”(Mestel and Groves 3). In that same study kids only intervened ten percent of the time. A lot of the time bystanders are more dangerous than the bullies themselves. It is found that bullies are less likely to act in isolation, however if there is a crowd watching the dispute the bully might feel more inclined to act violently in order to prove themselves to their peers. Whenever there is a dispute at school there is almost guaranteed to be a mob surrounding the fight thriving off of the energy cheering the two opposing forces on. If school taught students not to encourage bullies there is a good chance of less incidents. In other words no crowd no conflict. Also bullies are not always the stereotype big tough guy spreading fear over the playground. It is very true that this is an “eat or be eaten” world. In one year the “smart kids” are the victims. In the next year though they might be the ones holding the power, bullying other students. It all comes down to the community and the class. This is why Swearer, “advocates tailoring bullying-prevention efforts to the need of individual school communities.”(Viadero 3)
Another piece of evidence of the failing system is the violence in...