A new program has been found to decrease bullying by making the whole community involved. The CAPSLE program (Creating a Peaceful School Learning Environment, and the award for most creative acronym of any behavior program) focuses not just on the bully and his victim, but on the bystanders as well. The program was found to foster stronger bystander behaviors, and generate empathy for victams and less positivity for aggression. My favorite part:
Nevertheless, over time the study found that bullies came to be disempowered, initially complaining that the programme was boring and should be stopped until gradually the social system tended to recruit them into more helpful roles. For example, a fifth grade bully who was “humping” the school trophy case to display his sexual prowess to much younger children became a helper of kindergarteners who were upset and helped them with tasks like tying shoelaces.
The study found that, while bullying did increase in the school district where the program was applied, it increased less than in two control districts.
If I remember correctly, one of the bits of research that came out of the bystander effect, which found that people in groups were less likely to assist someone in need than individuals, is that knowledge of the bystander effect can partially alleviate the effect. I wonder if the same thing may be going on here.
Link to ScienceDaily.