Zero-tolerance policies against bullies ineffective, study finds

USA Today (5/10, Painter) reports, “Zero-tolerance policies that kick bullies out of school are not the answer to the persistent bullying problem plaguing the nation’s classrooms, playgrounds and social media sites,” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine experts pointed out in a new report called “Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice.” Instead, experts “said prevention efforts should…target entire schools and give extra attention to students at risk or already involved in bullying, including both victims and the perpetrators themselves.”

The AP (Unknown Date, Kerr) reports that “zero-tolerance policies may lead to an underreporting of bullying because suspensions are perceived as too punitive,” the report found. Instead, “programs that teach children how to get along with one another and what to do if they see kids who are being bullied, are more effective…said” Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH, chairman of the committee who wrote the report and a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Washington. Rivara also “cautioned that bullying has lasting negative consequences and cannot be ignored.”