MARC's bullying & cyberbullying prevention programs for K-12 students are unique in that most services are delivered by trained graduate and undergraduate students from Bridgewater State University, in a high-status peer model. MARC offers its anti-bullying programs to all K-12 schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Currently, the program is grant-supported and participating schools located within about 45-60 minutes of BSU do not have to pay for it, although they are asked to cooperate with the research.
MARC is a teaching Center, meaning that we instruct graduate and advanced undergraduate students at Bridgewater State University. These students are powerful tools in any bullying prevention effort, as they are high-status peers and role models to teenage children. They are trained, among other things, to facilitate with groups of teenagers on changing their school climate. They also deliver assembly programs. The purpose is dual: (a) to promote the training of students in this area; and (b) to help schools deliver this program with-out increasing the teaching burden on classroom teachers and guidance counselors.
Approaches and procedures should be ongoing, although one-time assemblies may be useful for kicking off a new anti-bullying effort. Therefore, we have developed:
* Programs to help form student-led leadership teams whose purpose is to change school culture in Middle and High Schools (peer leadership programs)
* Student assemblies for different age groups (Kindergarten through 12th grade)
* Curricula for Kindergarten through 12th grade
* Student contests, a Youth Summit, and other positive proactive events designed to encourage and support student-led anti-violence efforts in schools across the Commonwealth.
Our general principles are:
We understand that student education must take different forms for children of different ages, therefore, all of our programming is developmentally appropriate.
Because bullies at schools are often high-social-status children (i.e., "popular"), it is students who must be aware enough to realize that bullying behavior is not desirable and should not be emulated. Bystander support of targets is key.
Elementary aged students (grade 6 and below) are often emotionally connected with their primary classroom teacher, and thus best able to have their awareness raised by that teacher.
Older students (pre-teen and teenage) are often best able to learn from high-status peers who model positive social behaviors, and who model a distaste for bullying and abusive behaviors.
Cyberbullying is a central form of bullying today and it must be addressed, even among elementary school children, albeit in a developmentally appropriate manner.
Ongoing, continuous programs -- even low-key ones -- are preferable to one-time programs such as assemblies.