At Urbana Middle School in Frederick, Md., the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program tries to turn anti-bullying efforts into part of the school culture, rather than just the topic of an occasional assembly, reports National Public Radio. The concepts are simple: Don’t bully, help those who are being bullied, and tell an adult what’s going on. Teacher Leslie Pearre tries to reinforce the idea that the bully doesn’t act alone. The community can take away the bully’s power by refusing to cheer him on, by telling an adult, or perhaps the ultimate step: stepping in to help the victim.
Researcher Catherine Bradshaw of Johns Hopkins University says getting through to parents isn’t as easy. “Quite often parents will tell their kids, ‘Don’t get into fights, don’t do that. But if somebody hits you, you better hit back.’ And sometimes that’s where the rub is, between messages they hear at home and what is the reality in the school setting.” The anti-bullying campaign may be having some success: On a national survey funded by the Department of Justice, students reported fewer incidents of bullying.