Laws in 25 States Put the Brakes on High School Bullying

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[Source:  Medical X Press]

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In the most comprehensive study of the effectiveness of anti-bullying policies to date, researchers found that compliance with the U.S. Department of Education guidelines in antibullying laws reduced rates of bullying and cyberbullying—the most common forms of peer aggression. The study, which uncovered varying rates of bullying reported across the states, has important implications for educators, policy makers, and researchers. Findings will appear online in JAMA Pediatrics.

“Though bullying is the result of a complicated set of social, psychological, and peer impulses, we now see that laws aimed to reduce bullying are successful,” said Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, who led the study with Marizen Ramirez, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “While policies alone cannot completely eradicate bullying, these data suggest that legislation represents an important part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent bullying.”

These findings are significant for many reasons, including giving a “green light” to conduct more granular studies that focus on different combinations of legislation, how implementation of these policies affects their effectiveness, and whether antibullying legislation is effective in protecting students who are most vulnerable to bullying.

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