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Bullying has become an increasingly big problem in schools across the country. And many administrations have taken steps to get to the root of the problem, but a new study finds that those programs and efforts could all be for nothing.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and schools all over the U.S. are organizing events to raise awareness. But in September, a study by the University of Texas in Arlington showed that schools with anti-bullying programs were producing the opposite result they expected: more bullying. The prevention programs "generally increase incidences of physical and emotional attacks among students." They effectively teach the children the inner workings of bullying. With the programs, kids are repeatedly exposed to what a bully is, therefore paving a path for increased bad behavior.
But the researchers don't aim to recommend that schools with programs stop their efforts, simply that they take a different approach. "Move beyond individual risk factors and focus on systemic change within the schools," lead author on the study said. Parents should also play a part in bullying efforts at home by talking to their kids and making sure kids know they can turn to the parents if they need help.