The programs created by Interactions for Peace are award winning and validated by research.
The global epidemic of bullying has detrimental effects on people from childhood through adulthood. From the home to the school to the workplace, bullying impacts our communities in widespread and, often, insidious ways. Some results of bullying may not be seen immediately. These behaviors may fall below the threshold of criminal behavior or other actions that are legally protected, such as child abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and employment discrimination. Likewise, many of these behaviors at home and at school have been inappropriately normalized by parents, teachers, and community leaders. A common chorus when asked why nothing was done in response to on-going, but non-violent bullying has been that it is "just kids being kids." Moreover, traditional approaches have focused on the detrimental effects of bullying on the victims, but there are consequences for the bullies as well (e.g. Roland, 2002). Also, only recently has there been growing attention paid to individuals who are victims of bullying who themselves bully others, i.e. bully/victims (e.g. Klomek, et al., 2007).
The damage caused by acts of bullying has far reaching and long-lasting consequences. Carlisle and Rofes (2007) found that the psychological damage caused by bullying is similar in some cases to that caused by child abuse. It is not uncommon for the victims of bullying—children, adolescents, and adults—to experience long-term and severe reactions to the torment, including depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation and behavior (Arseneault, Bowes, & Shakoor, 2010; Hawker & Boulton, 2000; Klomek, et al., 2007; Klomek, et al., 2009, McDougall & Vaillancourt, 2015; Takizawa, Maughan, & Arseneault, 2014). For example, recent research identified a relationship between bullying and PTSD in which middle-school aged bully/victims had even more symptoms than children who were victims (Idsoe, Dyregrov, & Idsoe, 2012).
As an organization, Interactions for Peace believes in the importance of understanding bullying from an ecological perspective. We examine the dynamic relationships among bullies and the bullied. Let's take the hypothetical example of Mr. Pettigrew who is bullied by a coworker at his place of employment. When he goes home, he tends to bully his wife and children. One of his children is a bully at school, while his other child is routinely bullied by classmates. Our units of analysis are the various systems that foster and perpetuate bullying behavior at home, at school, at work, and in the community. Although bullying in these settings will be discussed separately, this is done only for purposes of clarity and should not be viewed as an attempt to make any causal interpretations about where bullying behavior begins. The influences that lead to bullying, from this perspective, are transactional, fluidly impacting each other.
In the end, an ecological understanding of bullying leads to the conclusion that traditional and singular anti-bullying efforts are inadequate to sufficiently combat the full extent of this problem. Instead, the argument will be made to adopt a broader view of bullying and to implement effective curricula within the home, school, work, and community environments, which educate and create life-long peaceful problem solvers. We at Interactions for Peace (I4Peace) believe that bullying will become obsolete when people learn and consistently demonstrate skills that are antithetical to bullying. These skills are the cornerstones of what we teach and provide in our various programs: Self-Awareness and Self-Confidence; Cooperation; and, Communication.
- Written by Dan Blumberg, PhD., Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology, Alliant International University, San Diego
"Since we began working with Eden and Interactions for Peace this year, our suspensions have decreased by 75% AND student attendance increased to 97.6% (from average of 95%). This means students are becoming peaceful problem solvers and they are happy to come to school, which in turn impacts academic achievement."
Lidia Scinski, Principal/CEO Harriet Tubman Village Charter School, San Diego Unified School District 2014
"I have never felt so inspired to work to make a difference in the world."
Zach, Santana High School Student 2013
"It impacted my life, it opened my eyes."
Sarah, Santana High School Student 2012
"We have had the Tunnel of Bullying program at Harborside Elementary the past two years and it has had an astounding effect on our students and overall school climate. The Beyond Bullying Experience taught our students to stand up for themselves and others and we have significantly decreased the number of bullying incidents at our school site. I highly recommend the Beyond Bullying experience to schools looking for a program to reduce bullying and create a more peaceful school climate."
Marcus A. Jackson Jr., Principal, Harborside Elementary, Chula Vista Elementary School District
"Beyond Bullying helped turn our school around. Bringing Beyond Bullying to Harborside provided an invaluable opportunity to address the issue of power agression in our school community. Beyond Bullying gets to the heart of the issue. It created a space for students to talk about their experiences and feelings. Participants realize that everyone plays a role--whether they are an aggressor, a target, or a bystander. The Tunnel of Bullying touches everyone--adults and children alike--no one comes out of the Tunnel unchanged. We scheduled a Tunnel of Bullying session for parents, which proved to be an important first step in starting a dialogue. For me, the most powerful aspect of Beyond Bullying are the post-tunnel discussions. Kids really open up and share with the discussion leaders."
Beverly Prange, Associate Principal, Chula Vista Elementary School District
"Research validates that the Peace Patrol© Program makes a direct contribution to continuing, sustaining, and compelling growth towards district-wide student academic achievement and improved API and AYP scores."
Chris Cate, Counselor, Snowline Joint USD, CA 2008
"All eleven San Marcos Unified Schoolo District Elementary Schools have extensive Peace Patrol© programs. The suspension rate for violent offenses committed has decreased by over 50% since the I4Peace program began. The data confirms that the Peace Patrol© program has contributed to campus safety, improved attendance and to students having a greater feeling of connectedness to their school."
Bob Harmon, Director of Student Services, SMUSD, CA 2009