Study finds anti-bullying campaigns may have opposite effect - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Study finds anti-bullying campaigns may have opposite effect

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(Toledo News Now) -

Many schools spend countless hours trying to stop bullying, but some question if they are sending the right message but having just the opposite effect.

Case in point: A new study out of the University of Texas concludes that students at schools with anti-bullying programs might actually be more likely to become a victim of bullying, compared to students at schools with no bullying programs.

The Texas study reports that student videos used in many campaigns to show examples of bullying and how to intervene may actually teach students different bullying techniques.

"I'm not surprised by the findings," said Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, who teaches educational psychology at the University of Toledo and has extensively studied bullying.

She says schools shouldn't stop showing videos, though.

"If we are using those clips, we should make sure we clearly explain to students the alternative to that behavior," she said.

Pescara-Kovach says schools and parents should take what she calls a holistic approach to bullying: Everyone has to be involved, including parents, teachers, staff, administrators and students.

"I know far too many deaths associated with this," Pescara-Kovach said. "This is really connected to suicide and targeted violence."

Until the message delivered by anti-bullying programs improves, the Texas study says some programs may be doing more harm than good.

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