Study shows anti-bullying laws effective
For the longest time, school authorities and the government didn’t give much thought to bullying, chalking it up as to how children play.
However, as Democratic Senator Al Franken pointed out: “You can’t learn if you’re afraid.”
Anti-bullying laws that work
In a recent study published by JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), it reported that bullying has gone down in states that carry anti-bullying legislation.
The study– called Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System– had 63,635 participants from grades 9 to 12 in both public and private schools. In the study, students in states with an anti-bullying law had a 24 percent reduced odds of reporting bullying and 20 percent reduced odds of reporting cyber-bullying.
The anti-bullying laws were put into effect when the Department of Education made recommendations in 2010. By 2011, 16 components from the report of the department were incorporated into the laws.
One of the co-authors of the study, Mark L. Hatzenbuehler of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, explained that the research is just the first step in understanding whether the legislation is effective.
“About 15 years ago, we didn’t have anti-bullying laws, but now we have some form of anti-bullying legislation in all 50 states. But even though there’s been a lot of legislative activity, there’s been surprisingly little if any research on whether the laws are actually effective,” Hatzenbuehler said.
Components of anti-bullying laws
There are three vital components in laws that have proven successful in curbing bullying (which also includes cyber-bullying).
1. Description of prohibited behaviors
2. Definition of scope – if it’s only applicable on school grounds or if it also include off-campus
3. Development and implementation of local policies
“(The laws) appear to be effective if they require local school districts to develop and implement their own local policies, because it enables school districts to create their own rules for their own local context,” Hatzenbuehler said.
LGBT and bullying
In another study done by Human Rights Campaign, it showed how LGBT kids have twice the chances of being bullied.
Likewise, the average rate for reported bullying across the 25 states included in the JAMA study was 20 percent. The average rate for cyber-bullying was 16 percent.
Unfortunately, three boys were recently pushed into suicide when their classmates who believed they were gay began to pick on them.
In light of the incidents in bullying, Senator Franken came up with the Student Nondiscrimination Act (SENDA) that focuses on helping LGBT children, but the lawmaker failed to have it passed.
He then tried to attach his legislation to a revision of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. Unfortunately it was rejected last July.