Meet the Bully Prevention and Social Emotional Health Forum Leaders
Dr. Aviva Goldstein received her doctorate from the Azrieli Grdauate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University. As an educator and family counselor based in Jerusalem, she occupies the space where the worlds of positive psychology, parenting and...
Dr. Rona Novick
Rona Novick, PhD is the Dean of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration and holds the Raine and Stanley Silverstein Chair in Professional Ethics and Values. She was promoted to the rank of full, tenured Professor after...
Drs. Rona and Aviva
Dr. Rona; I had the pleasure of spending several days training for your BRAVE Bully Prevention Program, and two things stuck in my mind that I believe our readers would find of interest.
Would you be kind enough to share with your readers:
1) the level of reduction in bullying a good bully prevention program achieves, and
2) the fact that your BRAVE program addresses the “silent majority” — not the bully or the child he/she is bullying.
Bully prevention program, when done well, can impact the school environment and change the lives of children. They are not, however, as effective as we would like. Most programs in the United States, even when they are very sophisticated and involve a lot of school and other expert time and effort, result in 25-35% reduction in bullying. The means that even the best, well thought out programs leave over 60% of bullying untouched by the intervention. New programs (like KiVa from Finland, and WITS from Canada) hold promise, but no program can come close to eliminating this problem.
Yes, the key to the effectiveness of bully prevention programs seems to be a focus on bystanders. Bystanders make up the largest part of a school or group, with bullies and victims in the minority. It has been clearly demonstrated that how bystanders react to social injustice, to cruelty, to name-calling and social exclusion, is extremely impactful. When bystanders look the other way, or even worse, join in the bullying, the bullies get the message that such behavior is acceptable. And victims get the message that no one will come to their aid. When bystanders, even in subtle ways, show that they care about victims, that they will not endorse the behavior of a bully, their “messages” make a real difference.
We have to think about how to raise our children and our students to be the bystander that makes a positive difference. When we do so, we address not only the bullying of the moment, but we help raise socially responsible citizens of the future.