A Holistic Approach to Keeping Bullies at Bay

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As any student, teacher or parent knows, bullying can have a huge impact in the way students view the school environment. The news that next month the American Academy of Pediatrics will revise their policies on the pediatrician's role in youth violence to include a section on bullying, gives weight to the idea that bullying is an issue that needs to be dealt with on all levels, including medically.

Children's Aid uses a holistic approach to combat bullying in schools. Each of The Children's Aid Society's 21 New York City Community Schools offer social work and/or mental health services, as do our 6 community centers. According to the New York Times, The American Academy of Pediatrics' new policy statement emphasizes the importance of the watchful eye of a physician. When both the medical and mental health are integrated into schools, as they are in The Children's Aid Society Community School model, school officials can provide immediate attention for suffering kids, the bullied or the bully.

Activating the bystanders and empowering students to speak up about bullying is the model of Norwegian professor Dan Olweus that is recommended in the revised American Academy of Pediatrics policy and exactly what The Children's Aid Society gives support to. Events such as the recent Bronx Youth Council conference on violence allow the students themselves to discuss these issues and foster an environment of community responsibility.

In February at the 5th annual Youth Speak Out on Education, described the effects of bullying and ways to combat it. Encouraging and open dialogue about bullying, allows students to guide each other on how to deal with bullies, either on the more obvious personal level or when they see it around them, making a more accountable community.