Sean Slade

Bullying Prevention Summit: Peers Matter

What was the key takeaway from this year's Bullying Prevention Summit, hosted by the Department of Education?

Peers matter.

It's not a revelation that we need to focus on the big picture, not just the incident. We need to be deliberate about influencing the environment and culture that allows bullying behavior to take place.

As Phil Rodkin wrote in Educational Leadership after the 2011 Bullying Prevention Summit, "Peer relationships are like oxygen that allows bullying to breathe and spread; peers can use these relationships as a cudgel, a weapon of shame against victims."

Citing "Peer Processes in Bullying: Informing Prevention and Intervention Strategies" (p. 470), Rodkin went on to say:

'Bullying is a social event in the classroom and on the playground,' with an audience of peers in almost 90 percent of observed cases. This silent, mocking audience grows exponentially, in frightening anonymity, with cyberbullying. Thus, the problem of bullying is also a problem of the unresponsive bystander, whether that bystander is a classmate who finds harassment funny, a peer who sits on the sidelines afraid to get involved, or an educator who sees bullying as just another part of growing up.

How do we solve the problem of the unresponsive bystanders? Encourage kids to speak up during the incident, and provide avenues for kids to safely object, let someone know, or respond. We should also encourage kids to speak up before and after an incident, or even if an incident doesn't occur. We must make it culturally unacceptable to bully others.

Already we're moving toward ending the culture of bullying, based on the many articles and blog posts the summit inspired:

As the first day of the summit highlighted, we've raised the national consciousness of bullying behavior and its many consequences, and no school, educator, administrator, or even parent can declare that they are not aware of the pervasive effects that bullying can have on youth learning, growth, self-concept, and development. Now it's time to work on action—to actively make our schools the safest, most inclusive, and most educationally appropriate places for children to be.

Read Slade's reflections on the 2011 White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and 2010 Department of Education Bullying Prevention Summit.

Comments (5)

Rey Carr

August 30, 2012

One of the unintended consequences of raising the national consciousness about bullying, it that researchers and pundits are misinforming the public, parents and educators about the role of peers in bullying prevention. Because they only focus on the negative peer behaviour or make it seem like kids just watch, observe or stand around when it occurs, youth continue to be characterized as perpetrating, aiding or enabling such bullying.

But the real story is that youth can play a significant role in preventing such behaviour, and not just by reporting it or speaking up. They can learn to use positive peer pressure, learn how to help their friends deal with bullying, and increase the likelihood of referring friends and peers to appropriate sources of help.

Too little emphasis has been placed on the positive role that youth play in helping each other and their desire to learn how to be better at helping their friends. Positive peer pressure continues to be an under-reported area and is often overlooked in the more sensationalized attention to negative peer activities. Positive peer pressure and support is much more prevalent and pervasive in child and teen culture, and is responsible for helping young people to be a powerful source of learning to each other.

Bill Belsey

August 31, 2012

Thank you for your post.

As a parent, educator, anti-bullying activist and the person who first coined the term “cyberbullying”, I would like to share four Websites I have created that seek to prevent bullying through education and awareness. I hope that they may be of help, information and support to others.
The world’s most visited and referenced Website about bullying
The world’s first Website about cyberbullying
Offering Professional research-based, online courses and Webinars about bullying and cyberbullying for educators and parents
The official Website of the annual Bullying Awareness Week

I hope that these educational resources may prove helpful to you and your learning community.


Bill Belsey

“Where you are NOT alone!”

e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Follow us on Twitter: @Bullying_org

Caltha Crowe

September 4, 2012

One of the key ways that we educators can teach children to behave in ways that prevent bullying is to provide positive models of kindness and inclusion ourselves. Children watch us, the adults in their lives, and behave as we do. For more information on this, check out my book, How to Bullyproof Your Classroom or my blog on the Responsive Classroom website,

Magic Show Brisbane

September 14, 2012

Thank you for the post. Want you more info please visit us:

Stop Bullying

February 28, 2013

Stop Bullying Now! Take Action!
Transform Fear into Empowerment and Anger into Enlightenment. To stop teenage bullying in schools, Edie gives parents, teachers, children and teens guidance and tools to meet the social challenges of today’s youth. Her keynotes, seminars, workshops and coaching programs provide intervention and prevention for schools, colleges, churches, community organizations and corporations. Edie provides problem solving skills for cyberbullying and LGBT issues as well as workplace violence, sexual harassment and other acts of aggression. Edie builds empathy, compassion, respect and dignity to make caring a conscious choice.
Visit here::>>

Share |

Blog Archive

Blog Tags